Strengthening the Social Dialogue. The definition of European integration in the Western Balkans for the benefit of growth and development of a civil and democratic society

In Athens, the International Seminar on European Studies on the topic “Strengthening the Social Dialogue. The definition of European integration in the Western Balkans for the benefit of growth and development of a civil and democratic society” took place on November 9-10, 2921, organised by EFAL (Organisation for the Education and Training of Workers), in cooperation with DAKE (Democratic and Independent Labour Movement) and with the support of EZA and the European Union. The seminar was part of the EZA special project for workers' organisations in the Western Balkans

The European integration of the Western Balkans is a very ambitious project that is difficult to implement for the Europe of sovereign states, but not for the Europe of the peoples, which these days marked the fall of the Berlin Wall 32 years ago.

Piergiorgio Sciacqua (EZA Co-President) in his speech at the opening of the works and in this context recalled the attention that Pope Francis is continuously devoting to the Balkan region.

Kostis Hatzidakis, Labour Minister, and former Member of the European Parliament, spoke about the concept of social cohesion and cooperation and the perspective of healthy civil coexistence. He also conveyed the greetings of the Greek State and stressed the cordiality of the institutional relations with our movement.

Antonio Di Matteo (President General of the MCL) thanked Minister Hatzidakis and praised the history of this country considered "the cradle of civilisations" and the importance of the European-Mediterranean dialogue. He recalled the value of the Dublin Convention in combating a hostile and aggressive mentality that must not prevail when dealing with the migration phenomenon.

Panagiotis Kordatos (representative of DAKE) presented the social commitment of his organisation and called for the development of a new social policy that does not exclude workers, especially in times of severe crisis where multi-ethnic relations need to be promoted.

Theodoros Fouskas then spoke about strengthening social dialogue in the face of the economic and social crisis triggered by Covid 19 and the impact on migration. He explained the history of migratory flows in Greece, the impact of the pandemic on the current lack of services, the role of NGO’s on the Balkan route and the difficult cooperation with Turkey.

Marco Boleo, in his speech on the European anchor to promote stability in the Balkans and social dialogue and cooperation to overcome the pandemic, referred to the inequality between the forms of reception in the different European countries, as well as potential inclusion policies and dynamics, the medium-term training, the comparison of costs within the framework of the joint perspective and the reconstruction fund.

Maria Rosaria Pilla (President of the MCL Foreign Workers Association) chaired the afternoon session in which the following speakers took the floor:

Guglielmo Borri (President General of the Patronato SIAS) on the theme of growth through personal services and the economic development of society through the presentation of the Italian model ; Branislav Canak (NEZAVISNOST Serbia) on the never-ending challenge of Serbia towards European integration; Panagiotis Gkolfis (Director DAKE European Affairs) on organising workers in the post-Covid 19 era.

The round table chaired on Wednesday 10th November by Salvatore Dama (journalist and adviser to the European Commission) closed with a debate on European integration and social dialogue and on the possibilities of potentiating growth and development in the Balkan region. In this round, significant experience was shared through: Vanja Gravan (International Pan-European Union - Croatia); Sali Metani (SAUATT Albania); Srda Kekovic (Unija Slobodnih Sindikata - Montenegro); Veselin Mitov (Vice-President EZA - Bulgaria)..