The programme: an introduction
12th ETUC Congress – ‘Mobilising for social Europe’
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) will be holding its 12th Congress in Athens from 16 to 19 May this year. With over 1,000 delegates, coming from the 83 ETUC member organisations representing 36 countries, this is the major event for the European trade union movement.
The decisions taken here will have a major impact on the future of relations between the trade union movement and European policies.
The point is that this congress is happening at a difficult time in the construction of Europe, with the imposition of ‘European economic governance’ which calls into question the social ‘acquis’ and the autonomy of the social partners in Europe.
The congress will be discussing the trade union strategy to be pursued in a political, economic and social context that has changed massively over recent years. The delegates will also be electing a new team to lead the ETUC for the coming four years. The Athens Manifesto to be adopted at the Congress will be the roadmap for the European trade union movement.
The programme in detail
The programme for the Athens Congress is very dense. Ten themes will be discussed and adopted by the delegates. These form the pillars upon which the ETUC will build its union action until the next congress in 2015. The subjects dominating the work of the congress will be: economic governance, employment and financial regulation, the European social model for greater equality and social cohesion, fair and sustainable development, fair mobility, health and safety at work, the social dialogue at all levels, and solidarity of action for fair globalization. Round tables covering current European political affairs and trade union issues have been scheduled. The six round tables will explore the following topics: the alternatives to limit the impact of the financial crisis on workers, inequality in Europe at a time of crisis, the relationship between the dictates of the single market and workers’ rights, the neighbourhood policy with the Mediterranean countries, Europe’s industrial future, and the trade union movement in an age of social networks and the web 2.0. A video summing up the activities of the ETUC during the past four years, plus a report on the future of the labour market in Europe, will be screened. The programme also includes the award of two prizes by the European trade union movement. The ‘ETUC Prize for Services of Excellence in favour of Social Europe’ will be awarded to Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission, and the Brian Bercusson Prize will go to Rebecca Zahn of the European University Institute in Florence. The third day of work, 18 May, will see the election of the new secretariat which will run the ETUC for the next four years. The posts to be filled are the President and the General Secretary, the two Deputy General Secretary posts and the four Confederal Secretary posts.
Version 2.0 media support The Athens Congress will have very full media support. An internet site devoted 100% to this event has been developed at the following address: http://www.etuc.org/congres2011 .
The site, which is available in English and French, will provide all the information relating to the debates underway, the programme for the congress and a press room. All the work will be accessible direct, via web TV, which will operate over the four days of the congress and rebroadcast in several European languages. Delayed programming will likewise be available.
The social networks will also be used. On the ETUC’s Twitter account, users will be brought up to date with the debates and the events underway. Similarly, they will be able to consult and download images from the ETUC’s Flickr account, and watch the highlights of the congress on the ETUC’s YouTube channel.
Useful information and tips
Athens Congress website: http://www.etuc.org/congres2011
ETUC website: http://www.etuc.org/
ETUC Twitter account: http://twitter.com/etuces
ETUC YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/etucces
ETUC Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/etuc-ces