SEE Trade union Forum meeting in Zagreb

Confronting the impact of the crisis on the South East Europe (SEE) region was at the heart of the debates at the meeting of the SEE Trade Union Forum in Zagreb on 7–8 April 2009, which was financially supported by the Friedrich Ebert Shtiftung (FES) and the LO and TCO from Sweden. The European future of the region was also a major focus of interest to the organizations present. Other topics on the agenda of the SEE Forum meeting involved the preparations for a future transport community treaty for SEE, and the relations of the Forum with the Regional Cooperation Council in Sarajevo

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.

Pr. Gligorov presentation on crisis
Regional Cooperation Council
SEE Trade Union Forum presenation
SEE Forum Conclusions