ETUC presses the incoming EU Presidency to set a positive agenda for progress on Social Europe
Today in Helsinki, John Monks, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) heads a delegation of trade union leaders who will be presenting their key demands for the forthcoming EU Presidency to Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.
A ’central theme’ of the next six months should be encouraging investment in innovation and technology across Europe - following Finland’s example - to boost the supply of high quality jobs, say the unions. “Europe needs to concentrate on a positive agenda, to answer the most pressing concerns of citizens and workers, to restore their confidence and their support for the EU,” declared John Monks. “Finland’s experience is very important to get a positive message across Europe and to contribute to the definition of Europe’s model of economic and social development in an enlarged EU and a globalised world.”
The Trade Union Memorandum highlights three priority areas: Social Europe, the social dimension of the internal market, and trade and external relations.
The ETUC lists a number of areas where it wants to see progress in building a better Europe, and looks for a debate over the next six months on issues like ’flexicurity’ and the link with productivity, work organisation and work-life balance. The social partners must be involved in this process.
The Memorandum emphasises that development of the EU internal market with a view to boosting competitiveness, for example through the Services Directive, must be coupled with measures to protect workers and citizens.
It also urges the Presidency to involve trade unions in the EU’s external relations activities and to promote social progress in its dealings with other countries.
The ETUC calls on the incoming EU leadership to start exploring options for resolving the current Constitutional impasse. “Simply extending the period of reflection is not enough,” said John Monks.
The trade union delegation includes John Monks, ETUC President Candido Mendez, and the leaders of the ETUC’s three Finnish affiliates: Lauri Ihalainen (SAK), Risto Piekka (AKAVA) and Mikko Mäenpää (STTK).
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