SOLIDAR Weekly Round Up 29-05-2015
The lobby tour has begun. With a comfortable election win behind him the British Prime Minister has started his tour of Europe to consult Heads of State about possible concessions to the UK in view of its forthcoming referendum on continued EU membership. It brings back memories from a previous generation, Mrs. Thatcher’s “I want my (?) money back”. In the last 30 years the sword of Damocles has always been hanging over the UK’s membership of the EU. In reality it is has been used as an instrument of pressure to prevent, in particular, real European progress. Once the dates for the referendum are set, an interesting campaign will start with all the traditionally anti-European forces repeating their arguments that date from the last century. As continental Europeans it may be advisable for us not to intervene unless our members and partners ask for support. But the UK might undergo more changes before the referendum even takes place, if the Scottish elections result in its independence.
One real change has already taken place: as a global financial hub London is certainly interested in keeping its influence on and in the Eurozone despite not being part of it. British businesses probably won’t opt for isolation either. So we might be tempted to bet on a result that may be more positive for Europe than its Prime Minister expects.
In the end, a campaign of stories and positive experiences about us Europeans, or those using the Eurotunnel, may show that the UK is more Europeanised than we imagine, and that this goes beyond football, food, leisure and culture.
Progressives should use such a campaign to put forward the arguments for progressive change in Europe, for other policies, for investment in public and social services, in education, in a financial market at the service of the real economy and its clients. If it is only to give money back to those who have championed highly costly liberalisation, with no conditions attached, privatising at any price and destroying social safety nets, this would be a bad deal. In this sense European leaders at EU and national level should be advised to campaign rather for “we want our (social) Europe back.”
Referenda are about policies and realities, not about identity traps. This is what we will stand for, together with our members, allies and partners on the other side of the channel.
Together 4 social Europe!
SOLIDAR Silver Rose Awards
The countdown has started! Join us on Wednesday 3 June in the European Parliament
We have announced the organisations and individuals who have been selected as winners of the Silver Rose Awards 2015 in the four categories; Together for Social Europe, Building Learning Societies, Organising International Solidarity and the Lifetime Achievement Award’. Below you can find a brief explanation of why they have been selected and in what way their efforts have contributed to advancing social justice in Europe and worldwide. You can register for the Silver Rose Awards ceremony here.
The winners are:
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Günter Wallraff
- Together for Social European Award, Aide et Défense des Jeunes Isolés Etrangers (ADJIE)
- Building Learning Societies Award, Sosyal Yasama ve Egitme Katki Dernegi (Association for Contribution to Education and Social Life – SOYAD)
- Organising International Solidarity Award, The International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF)
You can find the programme of the Silver Rose Ceremony here
The Silver Rose Awards is organised with the support of the S&D Group and the Party for European Socialists and with the media support of EurActiv
Together for Social Europe
Assessing social progress in the Western Balkans – our contribution to the Enlargement Package 2015
26 May 2015
Last week, SOLIDAR together with partners in the IRIS Network took part in the European Commissions’ consultation on the preparation of the 2015 Enlargement package by reviewing progress made in the fields of social inclusion, human rights, social service provision, civil dialogue, democracy and the rule of law.
Together with local partners SOLIDAR works to contribute to the promotion of social progress and prosperity in the Western Balkans and advocates for increased assistance in all policy areas and components that specifically address the needs of the most vulnerable citizens and those most at risk of poverty/social exclusion. We also aim to continue strengthening the innovative capacities of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that provide social services and to directly engage local and regional beneficiaries in decisions around the ‘EU Social Acquis’ in order to enhance economic, social and territorial cohesion.
Implementation of the EU Agenda on Migration: SOLIDAR calls for a comprehensive and long-term approach
28 May 2015
Two weeks after the presentation of the European Agenda on Migration, the Commission adopted yesterday a first set of proposals for the implementation of the actions foreseen in the agenda. These measures include: a proposal to activate the emergency mechanism envisaged under art.78.3 (TFEU) to assist Italy and Greece by relocating people in need of international protection in other Member States; a recommendation asking Member States for the resettlement of 20 000 people from outside the EU; a public consultation on the future of the Blue Card Directive ; a new operation plan to improve the number of assets and extend the geographical area of the Triton operation; guidelines for Member States setting out a best practices approach for fingerprinting newly arrived applicants for international protection.
Building Learning Societies
Incheon Declaration recognises the importance of non-formal and informal learning
28 May 2015
On 19-22 May the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea, gathered together global leaders in education, ministers, policy-makers and representatives of civil society and the private sector to discuss the global education agenda for the next 15 years. The meeting concluded with the Incheon declaration, encouraging countries to provide inclusive, equitable, quality education opportunities for all.
The declaration, which will underpin the education targets in the UN post-2015 development agenda, emphasised the crucial role of education in building sustainable and inclusive societies around the globe. “It reflects our determination to ensure that all children and young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to live in dignity, to reach their potential and contribute to their societies as responsible global citizens. It encourages governments to provide learning opportunities through life, so that people can continue to grow and develop”, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
Organising International Solidarity
Are CSOs represented in Hahn’s new Neighbourhood?
28 May 2015
The Green Paper “Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy” published on 4 March 2015 insists on some key policy principles to strengthen the revised European Neighbourhood Policy: Flexibility, Focus, Ownership and Visibility.
The 2011 ENP approach also insisted on these same principles, in addition to recognising the need to step up efforts to enhance the participatory role and representativeness of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from the Neighbourhood.
In the light of the Civil Society- Southern Neighbourhood Forum that took place in Brussels yesterday, to achieve a genuine EU-Arab Partnership, SOLIDAR, the Euromed non-governmental platform and the Arab NGO network for Development (ANND) insisted that the revised ENP should make sure that independent Civil Society Organisations, trade unions, social actors and human rights defenders be given a leading role in Hahn’s new neighbourhood.
Fostering inclusive and structured dialogue with independent CSOs, trade unions and social actors should be at the core of the revised policy.
Freedom of Association, Decent Work and Social Protection for All: SOLIDAR Network at the 104th Sessions of the ILO Conference
26 – 29 May 2015
On 14 June 2012, the members of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) unanimously voted for the adoption of Recommendation 202 on National Floors of Social Protection (R202). The Recommendation commits governments to ensuring that all people residing on their territories have access to (at least) four basic social protection guarantees: access to essential health care, and income security for children, for persons of active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, and for older people.
Trade unions and representative NGOs have a key role in ensuring that R 202 is
- submitted to the competent State’s authorities
- properly implemented in consultation and with the participation of “all relevant and representative organisations of persons concerned” (ILO R202, art. 3 (r))
- the first step towards the development of universal and comprehensive social protection systems.
In the framework of its advocacy and campaign work to promote Decent Work and Social Protection for All and to highlight the European Year for Development’s month dedicated to Decent Jobs, from 1 to 4 June, SOLIDAR together with its Members – SOLIDAR Suisse, FOS-Solidaristische Solidariteit and Solidarité Socialiste – will attend the 104th Session of the International Labour Organisation’s Conference in Geneva to support the demands of its partners – Asmade (Burkina Faso), the Egyptian Center for Economic Social and Cultural Rights (Egypt), and the Coordinadora Sindical de trabajadores azucareros (El Salvador)- for Freedom of Association, Decent Work and Universal Access to Health. A Roundtable debate – with the presence of ILO ACTRAV- will take place on Tuesday 2 June to present their demands and their work (you can find the programme here).
Focus on Asmade’s Campaign for Universal Health Insurance in Burkina Faso
In a country where social protection covers only 10% of the population and 40% of households’ revenues used to pay for health care, Civil Society Organisations such as ASMADE are campaigning for the government to put in place a Universal Health Insurance system (AMU). Together with the development of mutual health organisations, this system should, gradually, allow all segments of the population, both in the formal and informal sector, to benefit from quality health care.
Focus on Sugar Cane Workers Fighting for Freedom of Association
Historically, sugarcane cutters (over 30,000 people during harvest time) have not enjoyed fundamental trade union and labour rights such as freedom of association, social security, fair wages, protection equipment and working tools.
To overcome this situation and give a voice to these workers, on 22 September 2013, the trade union SITRACAÑA was established.
“Independent trade union organisations are key to ensuring that workers, informal or formal, have decent work, with access to social protection” says Noé Nerio (Coordinadora Sindical de Trabajadores Azucareros, El Salvador).