EU to do more to support health and social care sector and refugees in Central Europe and Western Balkans

EPSU Central Europe and Western Balkans constituency meeting 30 March 2022

(6 April 2022) Union representatives condemned the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops 24 February. The unions presented the work they are doing to welcome and assist the refugees from Ukraine. Food, clothes, and shelter are the first things they need.  Slovakia and Hungary receive hundred thousands many of which travel to other countries like the Czech republic, Croatia and Slovenia. After the first welcome, the unions help to find places in childcare and schools and provide health and social care. TBC vaccination programs are set up again. Across the region the pressure on the health and social care system, on childcare and education is large. We agreed to support the letter of 11 governments to seek more funding to assist the health, care and education systems under pressure. The EU must extend assistance to other countries such as Moldova, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

The other issues that dominated the discussions were the rising energy prices and the impact on workers and people. Several unions are campaigning for higher pay with demonstrations and actions taking place in North Macedonia for example and public sector strike threats in Croatia and Slovenia. Public service workers kept our societies going during the pandemic. They are now on the frontline of the refugee crisis. Again, this comes with high work pressures due to the continued lack of funding and staff, especially in health, social care and childcare. And it is not the private sector that organizes and pays to address the situation.

The members received reports from the General Secretary about the work of EPSU and the priorities for the last years until Congress in 2024. We discussed the Action Day for public service workers on 23 June 2022.  Mirlinda Krasniqi, the youth representative for the region in the EPSU Youth network and from one of the Albanian unions, introduced the Youth activities and forthcoming EPSU youth conference in Tirana. Paola Panzeri of EPSU pointed out the work EPSU is doing with regard to the gender equality and gender mainstreaming. She updated members on the state of affairs regarding the position of the European Parliament on the Gender Pay Transparency Directive. The unions are lobbying so the Parliament strengthens the proposal of the European Commission.

The unions agreed to do a written procedure for nominations for the chair of the constituency.

The meeting was chaired by Ivana Břeňková, from the Czech health and social services union. It took place 15 March 2022, online.


Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia Czech Republic Hungary Kosovo Montenegro North Macedonia Serbia Slovak Republic Slovenia