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The European Trade Union Confederation and European employers’ organisations met national employers and trade unions confederations of three Balkan countries to promote dialogue between employers and employees, and with Governments.
ETUC Deputy Secretary Patrick Itschert said “Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are at different stages of accession to the European Union. Functioning social dialogue is one of the important requirements that will be negotiated”.
The meeting, held in Belgrade on 22 and 23 January 2015, showed the commitment of ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME to the principles of social dialogue as a corner stone of the European Union, and of a modern, democratic society.
Itschert added “The existence of strong, representative and independent employers and workers’ organisations is a prerequisite for an effective social dialogue at all levels. The recognition of national social partners by the Governments of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, and Government consultation with the social partners is an essential component for good economic and employment policy”.
In the three countries, the tripartite system of social dialogue is actually the main instrument for bringing governments, employers and trade unions around the table of consultation and even negotiation. But on a long run – and that is the standard in the European Union – direct relations between employers’ associations and trade unions are the essence of a functioning and autonomous social dialogue.
The capacity building seminar was aimed at allowing the social partners of the Balkan countries to better understand the role and functioning of the European social dialogue. But equally, if not more important were the exchanges on the current situation of the dialogue in those countries.
“European social partners have a shared responsibility in better supporting the development of a positive social dialogue, between national organisations and/or their respective members,
in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Creating the right framework conditions for long-term economic growth and job creation is in our common interest” concluded Patrick Itschert, Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).