Principles of Social Europe "integral to" stability of South East European Energy Community

Press communication: immediate release

Principles of Social Europe "integral to" stability of
South East European Energy Community

Declaration on the occasion of Ministerial Conference 17 November 2006

(16 November 2006, Brussels) Macedonia will host a crucial summit on social aspects of the South East European Energy Community tomorrow, 17 November 2006. Set to attend are; all Ministers of Energy of the South East European countries; the European Commission; and the Finnish Presidency. First on the agenda is the Memorandum of Understanding on the Social Aspects of the Energy Community (in South East Europe). For the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), full agreement of the memorandum is integral to energy community stability.

"We expect, from the Ministers, an unambiguous commitment to a Social Europe. Failing to sign the Memorandum will be a strategic error. Anything short of a clear commitment to shared rights, will put at risk the strong social progress which has added to the dependability of the energy delivery in the region", said Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU Deputy General Secretary.

EPSU and the energy unions in the region have adopted a comprehensive platform of issues that need to be covered including:
- Adopting the social legislation of the European Union
- Respect for fundamental trade union rights
- Promotion of social dialogue
- The development of social action plans to address the negative consequences of restructuring and of the internal market
- Ensuring that public service obligations are met and that citizens can afford to pay their bills.

European Commissioners Piebalgs and Spidla, responsible for the energy and social affairs portfolios, respectively, have expressed support for a substantive Memorandum of Understanding. Their calls have been reinforced by the European Parliament.

The energy unions note with concern, that some governments in the region are adopting a hostile position towards worker organisations, and that the governments are not respecting genuine social dialogue. The unions also reiterate the demand for a Moratorium on the privatisation of electric utilities in the region.

EPSU's Deputy General Secretary adds that; "the European Union internal energy market is not a product fit for export. If a company tried to export light-bulbs that did not work, the European Commission would shut them down, and yet they are happy that this malfunctioning market is exported across the continent. It is time to face facts and recall this failed policy to the factory!"

For more information please contact Jan Willem Goudriaan, + 32 2 2501080 or epsu@epsu.org.

"EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC and comprises 8 million public service workers from over 200 Public Service Unions in 37 countries. We organise workers in health and social services, local and national administration, energy, water and waste. We are the recognised European social partner organisation in each of these sectors. EPSU is committed to building a European Union that promotes democratically accountable public services of the highest quality, within and beyond its borders. For more information on EPSU and our work please go to: www.epsu.org"