Albania & North Macedonia accession must prioritise workers' & social rights

European trade unions support the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

 Liina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary, said “Albania and North Macedonia need to join the EU to secure workers’ rights, a brighter economic future and safeguard democracy. At the same time the EU needs to reassure the people of the western Balkans that there really is a place for them under the democratic and social umbrella of the social market economy of the EU.

 “Accession talks have been delayed for a frustratingly long time because of a series of nationalistic vetoes from EU member states. Now the serious work has to begin, and trade unions urge the EU to insist on, and urge the Governments of Albania and North Macedonia to prioritise, real progress on workers’ and social rights, and to fully commit to social dialogue that has been lacking in recent years.

 “Past accession talks have concentrated too heavily on economic and market details and not enough on the well-being of working people and families. The EU needs to demonstrate that it takes its own commitments to social-market economy and social dialogue seriously.

 “The involvement of trade unions as well as employers in the accession process, particularly by the Albanian and North Macedonian governments, is vital, as without the ownership of the access process of the people, it will not be successful and deliver on the promise of strong democracy and prosperity for all.”