European social protection as a fundamental right

From 23 to 26 October 2014 there was a seminar in Cyprus on "European social protection as a fundamental right", organised by the CFTC (French Confederation of Christian Workers), with the support of EZA and the European Union.

The most important aspect of the seminar was undoubtedly the comparison of all the evidence of European players on social protection in their respective countries.

Almost all, if not all of Europe being affected by the economic crisis and rising unemployment, social actors must anticipate solutions to sustain social protection systems, or reform them while respecting the needs of employees.

51 representatives of workers' organizations in Cyprus, France, Belgium, Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia, Bulgaria, Poland, Austria and Italy participated in the seminar.

The following topics were discussed:

-       The developments of social protection in Europe (by Magdalena Machalska, Poland)

-       SPF and insurance (death and disability cover), a necessity for the European Union of the future (by Véronique Cochard, France).

-       Exchange of experiences on the development of social protection in the countries of the European Union (including Katrin Stancheva, Bulgaria, Diomidès Diomidous, Cyprus, Antonio Matos Cristovao, Portugal.)

-       Mr Andreas Gjecaj intervention on the model of the Austrian social protection).

-       Statement by Mr Claude Rolin, European MP, on the degradation of social protection systems in Europe (Belgium).

-       Speech by Giuseppe Barbaro: "Social protection of families in Europe, a necessity."

Results of the seminar: findings on the erosion of social protection in EU countries, whereas the deteriorating economic situation (unemployment, wages, working conditions, job insecurity ...) should be accompanied by the maintenance of effective social protection.

Decisions: work together to preserve the European area of ​​common civilisation. Act to stop fiscal and social competition between European countries. The European Union cannot be reduced to a free trade area and enjoy ultra-liberal policies. The economy and morality can not be separated and the Union must give itself strong social content.

Claims: respect the autonomy of social partners, in particular refuse withdrawals made by States from the reserves and resources of social welfare agencies and the savings on social benefits, to reduce public deficits for members of the Union. Oppose the privatisation of social protection agencies. Pay special attention to the poorest.

Think in terms of globalization to combat the lowest social bidder in international exchanges.

Consequences on work: work together, both in Europe and in each country, to maintain social protection and strengthen the role of employee representatives as active partners in the development of European policies.