17.11.2011 | Bucharest, Romania
2nd Edition of the Joint Social Conference in Romania
More than 120 representatives of Trade Unions, NGOs and Social Movements and Networks from Romania and 8 European countries took part in the event.
The 2nd Edition of the Joint Social Conference in Romania was organized by the AD FSR together with CSDR TU Confederation, SIPA ‘Muntenia’ TU of Arges County and FSLI TU Federation on the 22nd of October 2011 in Bucharest as part of the enlargement of the European Joint Social Conference process. More than 120 representatives of Trade Unions, NGOs and Social Movements and Networks from Romania and 8 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Serbia) took part in the event.
The JSC Ro 2 aimed at gathering all the 5 (five) major TU Confederations in Romania, important Romanian TU Federations in different sectors of activity, as well as Romanian actors of the Civil Society (Social Movements, NGOs, etc) around 2 (two) Themes of paramount and common interests for all, namely ‘Democratic Governance. Concept and Alternatives’ and ‘Corruption. Approach and Combat’. The aforementioned Themes have been taken from the List of Priorities set by the JSC in Brussels on 10th of March 2011. The JSC Ro 2 aimed at acting as a multi-level engine-bridge connecting not only the Romanian initiative to European initiatives such as the JSC, but also other Central-Eastern European countries to Europe, as well as amongst themselves and with Romania. The conference has been supported by the Initiative Committee of the European Joint Social Conference (JSC IC) and by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung SEE.
The logic of organizing a Social Conference in Romania follows after Romanian activists were involved in the process of organizing and participating at the European Joint Social Conference in Brussels – see www.jointsocialconference.eu.
The JSC Ro 2 aimed at a number of strategic targets, namely: 1.) setting a role-model example of a common Trade Union and Social Movements approach concerning social, economic, political, and cultural problems in contrast to the approach of the government, of the political class and self-entitled ‘elites’; 2.) opening a new European perspective to the problems faced by Trade Unions in Romania as well as to their struggle; 3.) acting like a catalyst for Romania and Central-Eastern Europe along the aforementioned; 4.) becoming a source and resource of organized/structured solidarity and unity in terms of democratic joint social response against non-democratic neo-liberal Governmental and EU policies.
The political necessity of having organized the JSC Ro 2 lies in the fact that Romania has arguably been the European country where the most aggressive anti-social and counter productive Austerity measures have been taken so far. Just as an example, one year ago salaries in the Public Sector in Romania were cut by 25%, pensions by 15%, scholarships for pupils and students as well as allocations for under full age children by 10%, whilst the VAT was raised from 19% to 24%. We are talking about a country of huge discrepancies where the salaries and pensions of the vast majority of the people are probably the lowest in the whole European Union (the real average salary is less than 180 Euro per month whilst the real average pension is less than 150 Euro per month) but the salaries of high officials in State/Public Companies and National Agencies and the Government may amount up to 50,000 Euro per month.
Some of the positive results from the conference are that the European JSC experience was transferred in Romania. Important aspect was linking the European level of initiatives with the National level of realities, needs and initiatives, particularly with those in Central-Eastern European countries. Establishing the JSC Ro experience as a Role-Model to be followed in other countries, particularly in Central-Eastern Europe and probably the most important achievement of the JSC Ro 2 consists in adopting the Final Declaration of JSC Ro 2. This important document has been the political quintessence of more than one and a half year of work. It spells, for the first time in Romania, about a joint endeavor of Trade Unions and representatives of the Civil Society not only to criticize, but also to submit concrete demands and proposals to both the Legislative and the Executive.
More about the JSC Ro 2, you can find at: www.conferintasocialareunita.ro
Phots and text by Peter Damo and Vladan Jeremić
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