At the opening ceremony in the presence of the Bulgarian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Totyu Mladenov, Commissioner Andor declared that the Fair represented a very clear message, not only for Bulgaria, but also for the European Union.

“Those who have been abandoned by society must be supported, and they must be given extra support now, more so than in the past. In the last 5 years, Europe has been in a crisis that resulted in a rise of unemployment, which created financial difficulties and did not make things easier for disadvantaged people.

Our support for vulnerable people has to be about social protection and the fight against discrimination. It must take advantage of the energy and the opportunities within enterprises, including social enterprises”.

The Commissioner also highlighted the importance of social economy for the European Commission at a time when the Social Business Initiative had been published.

At the end of his visit, Laszlo Andor stopped at the CECOP-CICOPA Europe display stand, where he talked to members of staff and received a copy of the book “Cooperatives and Social Enterprises: Governance and Normative Frameworks”.

In the afternoon, Laszlo Andor also took part in the conference “Social Entrepreneurship and Europe 2020”.