President Victor Yushchenko on Monday attended a ceremony to present state awards to Ukraine’s social workers and said in a speech the government’s social policy must be “more efficient” in 2008, according to the President`s press-office.

“We are finding compromises... on the most sensitive social issues and I am convinced the year 2008 will perhaps be one of the most efficient years in Ukraine’s social policy,” he said and added that the government was going to introduce salary and pension reforms.

Yushchenko said social workers played an important role in every society, which can be “judged by how it treats the old and the young.” “…and one can then say  how democratic it is, how open [it is] and whether moral and spiritual canons have taken root in this society.”

“On behalf of the state, I thank you for the great work you demonstrate. I appreciate your work. Wonderful changes in social policy are awaiting us ahead,” he said.