USF: Union Syndicale Fédérale holds its 15th Congress
Union Syndicale Fédérale held its 15th Congress from the 30th May – 2nd June. USF members from about 20 European and international organisations and agencies gathered in Bratislava to discus how to „Strengthen Europe and its Public Service“. The European Movement International was represented by Vice President Bernd Hüttemann.
In his address Mr Hüttemann elaborated on the outcomes of the elections, arguing that turnout should be viewed as only one indicator. In Slovakia turnout stood at 22%, which was relatively low, however, there was a rise in comparison to the previous EP elections where only 13% of Slovakian voters showed up to the polls. He stressed that European topics have a way bigger impact: from migration to climate change – all of these issues have a European dimension and should not be cannibalized by nationalist motives.
Mr Hüttemann also mentioned the importance of the spitzenkandidat process, as now, after the elections, European top jobs need to be staffed, with the European Commission president being the first among them. He argued that the concept behind spitzenkandidat is not understood properly and it is essential that Europe acts together when filling important offices.
Mr Hüttemann also stressed the necessity of civil and social dialogued. As a promoter of societal pluralism, EMI’s policy always stresses social dialogue and promotes democracy. The importance of the European Movement on an institutional level is also clear when considering the Council of Europe.
According to Mr Hüttemann, the CoE is under attack, and therefore not able anymore to fulfil its mission in the field of democracy, education and social affairs. He proposed that the European Movement International and its member organisations shall work much more closely together to address the challenges the Council of Europe currently face.