The European Union being the main trading partner and source of capital investment in the SEE region, developments in the EU deeply impact on the effects of the crisis in SEE, as well as on the pattern and speed of recovery in the region. The SEE Trade Union Forum meeting, therefore, provided a good opportunity for discussing the challenges of the crisis for the SEE region from western as well as eastern European perspectives. Participating at the meeting were the President of the Pan European Regional Council (PERC) – Michail Shmakov, who is also President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Russia – and the General Secretary of PERC – John Monks, who is also General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). Most trade unions that are members of the SEE Trade Union Forum are members of PERC.
Mr. Monks underlined the deep concerns of the trade union confederation in relation to the crisis-hit EU economies and the crisis’ impact on the EU, particularly in terms of unemployment, job precariousness, raising inequalities and social unrest across the countries affected.
In that respect, the recent G20 summit in London has given encouraging signs for progress on jobs, financial regulation and new content to globalisation. Mr Shmakov outlined the particular steps taken by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) to promote the interests of working people and trade unions in the final outcome of the meeting.
On the European future of the SEE countries, PERC General Secretary John Monks reaffirmed the confederation’s position in supporting EU enlargement towards central and eastern European countries.
Meeting the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, Mr Monks stressed the importance of compliance with the social acquis of the EU and the involvement of the trade unions in the process for the final success of Croatian accession to the EU. He also met with the leaders of Croatian trade unions.