ETUC Steering Committee declaration in solidarity with the people of France

We, the European trade union movement, stand in solidarity with the people of France, and the French trade unions following the murderous attacks on innocent people in Paris.

We, trade unions throughout Europe, condemn without reservation these barbaric murders. There can be no justification for the deliberate, cold-blooded taking of people’s lives, for causing injury and trauma, for bringing grief to the family and friends of the victims.

We commend the bravery of the police, security and emergency services, and ordinary citizens, during and after the attacks. 

We all stand firm against those who want to create fear, and turn the citizens of Europe against each other. We reject any attempt to divide us by religion, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour or any other irrelevant difference.

We highlight the fact that many victims and members of the various services dealing with the attacks were of different religions and ethnic backgrounds.  We are proud of our work towards a more tolerant Europe, we will continue to foster tolerance, and to respect and celebrate diversity.

War is not a solution to the situation, and should not lead to constitutional change that limits democratic rights.  

We reaffirm our commitment to giving shelter to refugees. Human decency requires us to aid those risking their lives to enter Europe to escape war, poverty and fear. We underline that some of today’s refugees are fleeing from the very organisation that committed the massacre in Paris, and that is responsible for even worse atrocities in countries beyond Europe.  

We affirm that Europe and the international community must increase its efforts towards the spread of peace, democracy, economic development, equality and decent jobs in the countries and regions that people are fleeing.

We reaffirm our commitment to the integration and inclusion of all people, including young people and migrants, into society, especially through the workplace. Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental principle for integration and inclusion and to avoid social tensions. Tackling unemployment, exclusion, poverty and inequality, and improving integration and inclusion, requires a policy other than austerity including investment in public services and flexibility in national budgets.  

There is ample evidence that terrorists exploit unemployment, poverty and hopelessness to recruit people in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East to hatred and violence. Greater efforts are also needed to tackle unemployment and inequality in Europe.

We stand together for all these values expressed above: values of solidarity, democracy and peace. We will work with all others to defend and promote these values.

We call on EU member states, employers and civil society organisations to work together more closely for a fairer and more social Europe, to tackle unemployment and integrate those seeking employment into the workplace, to deal in a humanitarian way with the refugee emergency, to prevent terrorists from mounting further attacks and to recognise the need to uphold, more than ever before in the face of severe provocation, our fundamental values of democracy, social justice, and tolerance.

We invite the French trade unions to propose a public expression of our support for these values and our solidarity for the people of France and all victims of terrorism.  We commit to do all we can to support, mobilise for, such an activity in France, and if necessary organise, similar actions in other countries.   

We encourage all ETUC affiliates to contact government, employers, and civil society organisations to come together to promote the principles outlined above and to boost equality, inclusion and integration. The ETUC will do the same at European level with EU institutions, employers’ organisations and civil society, and will work with the ITUC and its affiliates for the same objectives at global level.

We will mobilise for actions linked to the International Day of Migrants on 18 December including the conference in Zagreb and the photo action at the Executive Committee on 16 December.