Energy unions comment on Memorandum of Understanding

The unions from South East Europe met to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a social pillar of the Energy Community. This Memorandum is the result of the pressure of the unions, EPSU and the European Parliament. It is to remedy the lack of a social dimension in the European Energy Community of South East Europe. Many of the demands of the trade unions are met but concerns remain:

- On the process of consultation - not all trade unions have been consulted by the governments on the Memorandum. We request the Commission to investigate this process;

- We want a clear time table to make the MoU legally binding as supported by the European parliament and the European Commissioner for Energy

- The MoU does not recognise the role of the International Financial Institutions and how they shape energy reform. Consultation on their policies is needed as well.

- Democratic control over decisions of the Ministerial Council is still absent, We support the European Parliament's demand to change this.

- The proposed Social Forum (with representatives of employers, unions and governments) needs to meet before summer 2007. The proposed social action plans need also to be ready by then.

- We repeat our call for a Moratorium on Privatisation. Privatisation of essential services should be an issue of broad public debate. All institutions allowing for democratic control and accountability will need to be established and social package to protect workers and users is to be in place.

A final statement will be forwarded to the relevant European institutions and national governments.

The unions also adopted a short statement on the annulment of the collective agreement by the Serbian government earlier in October and on the recent murder of three Columbian trade unionists. The EPSU Deputy General Secretary represented EPSU. The meeting received support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. It took place 19-20 October 2006, Vranjaka Banka. Our comprehensive platform of demands can be found at:

- Vrnjacka Banja Statement - Trade Unions comments on Memorandum of Understanding for the development of a social pillar of the Energy Community

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