Appeal for the Euro-Demonstration Nice 6 December

Europe is too much about markets and capital. Europe is too little about employment, about people, dignity and solidarity. A change is absolutely necessary.

Unemployment still is the lot of millions of Europeans, touching above all young people and women. 9% of European workers are unemployed. 18% of European citizens live in poverty. Unemployment is accompanied by precariousness of jobs, inequality of pay and working conditions between men and women, weakening of social protection and growing exclusion.

The ETUC firmly believes that all the preconditions exist in Europe to forge ahead towards a policy of full employment. Full employment, based upon lasting and sustainable growth, supported by a co-ordinated European policy in matters of public investment, taxes, innovation, life-long learning, equal opportunities, should become the first priority in Europe.

It is vital to bring the European Union closer to its workers and citizens. The European Union must become a social and citizens' Europe. This requires political and social rights. Rights of workers and particularly the rights of their trade unions must be fully recognised. Political rights, civil rights, social and trade union rights are one and indivisible.

The right of trade unions to act beyond national borders is as natural as the rights of goods to cross national borders and of capital to float around freely. We have a single market, economic integration and a single currency. It is therefore logical and it is important to guarantee the right to collective bargaining, the right to trade union action, the right to strike at European level. This must be reflected in the Treaty of the EU.

The EU summit in Nice is going to decide on a Charter of Fundamental Rights. The text of the Charter is a step ahead in the right direction. But it is not more than a step and the step is not big enough. The workers of Europe expect a Charter of rights that is legally binding and written into the Treaty and not just a solemn political proclamation. The ETUC calls upon the Summit of Nice to make reference to the Charter directly in the Treaty, to adopt a clear timetable and procedure indicating how and when an improved charter will be incorporated into the treaty.

In order to bring the European Union closer to its workers and citizens, decisions have to be effective and transparent. It is indispensable for the Union to reform its decision-making procedures. The veto right has become a blocking factor preventing the Union in moving ahead towards social progress. Majority decisions should become the general rule of European social policy.

In order to ensure Heads of State and Government understand the message, in order to ensure they pass from words to action, the European Trade Union Confederation calls for the Euro-Demonstration in Nice on 6 December.

The ETUC calls upon the summit to adopt a far-reaching social agenda, to promote the development of social policy in the European Union in the next five years, to give life to the principles and rights included in the charter, to create more and better jobs, to fight against discrimination, inequalities and social exclusion.

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