PERC Executive Secretary introduced the perception of the Eastern Partnership by the PERC. The concern of the PERC members lies in the fact that while the EU association envisage transfer of the EU practices and frameworks in economic and trade areas, particularly through development of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the transfer of social and industrial is not part of the story so far. The social partners and other civil society organizations do not have access to policy decision making and often are consulted for the sake of the consultation process itself. The Civil Society Forum is basically functioning as a closed club of think tanks and non-representative NGOs and social partners do not find a proper place in its structures. The same is replicated on the level of the national platforms: the agenda is being dominated by the NGOs, which are in many cases have project driven interests towards the European Union.
Then participants shared experiences of national platforms work.
The EESC proposal to structurally change the Civil Society Forum was presented and debated. It was agreed to ensure trade union support to it as well as to introduce it to the national platform (where coordination meeting is still to take place).
The consultation mechanism opened by the EC External Service was introduced to the participants.
In conclusion the participants brainstormed several ideas about follow-up activities in the countries, including on-going initiatives.
General remarks in conclusions:
There is a need to consolidate union positions on national level. There is a client-donor approach in national platforms, but unions are not in search for money, so should not be competing with the NGOs;
The social partners platform and other proposals of the EESC will need to be supported in Poznan and through the national platforms, but unions also have to act in other platforms of the CSF and beyond it;
There are different platforms the unions could make an input to the EP: Euronest (Parliament), European Commission (EEAS) and its consultative process on ENP, national platforms and the civil society forum.
Unions could modernize its image through national platforms and using the chaotic situation of different civil society groups and organisations now and to take a firm and professional niche in it;
The PERC could run seminar (s) on social and civil dialog for the national platforms;
The idea of EP trade union forum or discussion club for leaders could be considered.