Unions support EU accession negotiations with Albania & North Macedonia

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Pan European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (PERC) strongly urge the European Council, meeting tomorrow, to approve the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia - righting the wrong decision that was made in October 2019.

“It is in the interests of the EU, Albania and North Macedonia to start the accession negotiations" said ETUC and PERC General Secretary, Luca Visentini. "The European Commission says that both countries fulfill the conditions to start the process. Opening negotiations can prompt both countries to better address the challenges they face, in particular regarding decent work, respect of the law, corruption, low wages and high levels of informal work.

“We appeal to the leaders of the European Union to do the right thing and start membership negotiations. We also urge them to make sure that the focus is not only on the single market but also on human, social and workers’ rights, and that trade unions are an integral part of that process.

"We repeat our call to the European Commission to improve the recently reformed EU enlargement policy, by paying more attention to assisting these countries in moving towards full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the UN Agenda 2030 SDGs, and by ensuring the full involvement of trade unions through social dialogue.

"We call on the leaders of North Macedonia and Albania to respect fundamental human and workers’ rights in line with their international obligations, to ensure the rule of law and to promote the European Social Model, and in particular to respect the undeniable role of trade unions and employers in building sustainable, inclusive, and democratic societies."