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South-East Europe’s Energy Unions meet in Serbia in september

The Third General Assembly of the South-East European Regional Energy Trade Unions Network took
place in Belgrade, Serbia, on 19 September 19, under the chairmanship of Milan Kovacevic of EPS Trade Union, the host union.

The gathering brought together delegations from both electric power and oil and gas trade unions from throughout the former Yugoslavia. Also present were the unions from Greece, Albania, Turkey, Cyprus, and Romania.

Jim Catterson represented ICEM and EMCEF, with Public Services International (PSI) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) being represented by Josef Krejbych, PSI’s Secretary for Central Europe.

The meeting gained considerable press attention with the opening covered by Serbian TV.

Held under a banner proclaiming that “Energy is a Public Good in All Countries of the World,” the conference focused on building a countervailing force to the neo-liberal politics that had created an “economy of chaos” in the region. Delegates all gave a report on their situation and developments in the energy sectors of their respective countries.

Many interventions called for closer cooperation between their international and European organisations, with the unions being a mixture of affiliates to ICEM and PSI, together with a number of unions unaffiliated internationally. The network is formally independent of the international union structures although ICEM traditionally has always participated, when invited, to the South-East European Energy Trade Union Network.

Delegates agreed to a number of statutory changes and increased the size of the Executive Committee to include the Presidents of each member union. A discussion also focused on expanding membership, with hopes expressed that the grouping would be able to bring in presently uninvolved unions from all the Vizegrad countries, as well as more unions from Bosnia, Cyprus, and Greece

The conference closed with the unanimous endorsement of a series of resolutions, including a political declaration from the network, a strategy document towards the Social Forum and Energy Community’s Ministerial Council for South East Europe, and a warning to the Serbian Government against privatization.

An appeal was made to all South-East European trade unions to join the network and a further appeal was made to the international and European organisations to increase joint work and create unity. The network finally decided to hold its next General Assembly in Romania.(5 October 2009)
 

 

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