Bulgarian and Romanian accession: an important step but improvements are still needed

Brussels, 26 September 2006

So far as social dialogue is concerned, the ETUC notes that, in relation to Bulgaria, “bipartite dialogue has not been sufficiently strengthened and the need for more capacity building is still an outstanding issue”, while “participation in the tripartite dialogue must be restricted to social partner organisations with a social mandate. Bulgaria needs to step up its preparations in this field.” In relation to Romania, “efforts are needed to continue in view of improving social dialogue in general, particularly in order to promote the weak bipartite dialogue, clarify representativity criteria and solve the outstanding issues of fragmentation and insufficient capacity of social partner organisation.”

ETUC calls on the national and European authorities to act to resolve these matters and will continue to support its affiliates in both countries towards that end.

ETUC also notes that progress is required on the question of protecting and integrating minorities, particularly the Roma population, in both countries and reiterates its call for swift action in this regard.

The ETUC has a clear policy on transitional arrangements in respect of free movement of labour in the EU, in favour of open labour markets allied with better social protection for all, and maintains that position. The European trade union movement demands the implementation of equal pay and working conditions for work of equal value on the same territory; respect for national collective bargaining and industrial relations systems; equal access for all workers to social benefits; and proper mechanisms - involving the social partners - for monitoring and enforcement.

ETUC General Secretary John Monks said: “Today marks another important step in European construction. Further work is needed to build the social Europe that we all aspire to, and the time is now to redouble our efforts to achieve it.”