|The civil servants of national, regional and local administrations
in Austria have obtained a salary adjustment of 2.7 % for 2006.
This is what the Government committed itself to on Monday 05/12, following talks with trade un-ion negotiator Fritz Neugebauer.
With the conclusion of this agreement, Secretary of State Finz (Christian Democrat) faces strong opposition from the Liberals. He nevertheless described the adjustment as a logical consequence of the efforts asked from workers in the public service in the past period.
In the meantime, the National Parliament has approved the agreement with supportive votes of the coalition partners as well as the Socialist Group.
As far as the implementation of the agreement in the regions is concerned, strong pressure will have to be exercised by trade unions of the local administrations. Just as in other countries, the regions try to withdraw from agreements that have been concluded at national level, by giving financial ar-guments.
We have the pleasure to present you the brochure with the projects we have organised during the year 2005. With the help of our members, Eurofedop was able to organise 10 projects.
A lot of subjects were treated during these projects. It is important that we continue the dialogue and that we can reach our goal by these projects.
On the next few pages, you will fi nd a description of all the seminars, as well as some practical information like place and date.
For further information about the seminars, please have
a look at our website www.eurofedop.org.
|Critics have attacked the directive for leading to 'social
dumping', and they have argued that services of general interest like healthcare
should be excluded from the scope of the directive. These fears in respect
to the Directive were partly blamed for the defeat of the European Constitution
in particular in the French referendum on 29 May 2005.
The draft Services Directive is currently being discussed in the Parliament's Internal Market Committee.
The most disputed issue was whether services of general interest - meaning those considered as essential, such as healthcare, childcare, garbage disposal, traffic systems etc. - should be included in the scope of the directive. MEPs voted not to remove services of general interest from the directive's scope as such, but introduced limitations to exclude certain services like health care, social security, public services such as transport and water, broadcasting, banking and gambling from the law.
The EP's vote in first reading is scheduled for the January 2006 plenary session.
After this first reading the Commission will be able to introduce changes to its initial proposal in line with the amendments proposed by MEPs.
The upcoming Austrian Presidency hopes to come to a political agreement during the first half of 2006.
The adoption of the directive requires a qualified majority in Council and co-decision in the European Parliament.
- Eurofedop asks the European Commission to establish clear rules in the directive by which high quality services of general interest can be guaranteed in all affiliated countries.
- Eurofedop asks the European Commission to establish frameworks in the directive by which an effective control on the realisation of high quality services of general interest can be organised.
- No directive without the actual realisation of administrative cooperation between the 25 countries. This is one of the necessary conditions for effective control.
- Eurofedop insists that the directive would clearly establish the conditions under which compensation in the form of state aid to public services is possible.
- Eurofedop suggests to regularly evaluate the functioning of the directive and discuss the results of this with the social partners.
- According to Eurofedop, “taking account of” the results of the large consultation means that account will be taken of these results with the publication of further European legislation.
This ministerial conference, that had been announced on the Web, was
attended by Bert Van Caelenberg, Secretary General of Eurofedop, who replaced
Fritz Neugebauer, President of Eurofedop.
|Elements of which Eurofedop thinks that they should play
an important role in social dialogue, with respect to the consequences of
the implementation of e-Government, are :
1. e-Government is an instrument and offers many opportunities but can never be just the aim to be achieved.
2. Trade unions must not adopt a defensive or conservative attitude in the discussion about the implementation of e-Government. They must be aware of the chances that there are in this field and see what can be realistically achieved.
3. Nevertheless, we must ask ourselves who will profit from the e-Government that is introduced. Much too often the interest of industry comes first whereas the human and social aspect should be essential.
4. Also the ethical and democratic values that go with the development of e.g. the Internet and the information available there, that can be both undemocratic and not wanted, need to be given attention. In spite of the openness of the new media, there are certain limits in connection with e.g. privacy.
5. Lifelong learning is a requirement for further implementation and it goes without saying that workers must have a say in their training. Moreover, training says something about the worker and a flexible attitude towards e-Government can be expected from him or her.
6. Workers must have at their disposal all means, software and hardware, by which they can do their work in a modern way.
7. Moreover, there is a danger of a new/further dualism in our society. The gap between to know and not to know, between to have and not to have, increases in the information society and the knowledge economy. Not only at national level, but also between the countries, there are still too large differences and, in this context, especially the future member states of the European Union need to be given more attention. Indeed, the ‘e-chain’ can only be as strong as the weakest link.
8. The application of e-Government often leads to the dismissal of personnel. New forms of work often require other, usually more highly skilled workers. Social dialogue is thereby the most suitable platform for an open discussion.
9. e-Government can often create also new health risks. Thus, in recent years, there are more and more complaints of RSI and burn-out. And as far as Telework is concerned, this can lead to invisible exploitation. Therefore, more attention needs to be given to these new health risks.
10. With the increasing contacts, connections and internationalisation, multinational works’ councils would better correspond to the changing organisation.
11. In view of the place of women that is often different in the labour market, their place will also change as a result of the implementation of e-Government. And also in their case, there are both chances and risks.
Ms Reding, whom we have welcomed several times, in her function as Member of the European Parliament, at our Trade Council Ministries in Luxemburg, has not forgotten her social experience in the European Parliament.
During her speech at the Conference, it was therefore of the greatest importance for us that she mentioned the role of the “workers”. In order for the eGovernment project to be a success, the contribution of the stakeholders is essential and her explicit reference to the “TRADE UNIONS” is therefore of the greatest importance.
As Commissioner, she also announced that a special communication on the “Knowledge Society” (project 2006-2010) would be published in 2006. In preparation for this, she declared that she would be prepared to have a conversation with Eurofedop in December. The somewhat harsh tone of our position was understood by the Commissioner as a normal trade union position that has every interest in going straight to the point.
Please look at http://www.egov2005conference.gov.uk
|On behalf of the European Commission and the UK Presidency,
Bert Van Caelenberg, Secretary General of Eurofedop, is invited to the ‘Transforming
Public Services’ conference, which will take place on Thursday 24
and Friday 25 November 2005 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Of course, Eurofedop
will participate at this conference.
This is the third EU Ministerial eGovernment Conference and one of the key events marking the UK Presidency of the European Council. The event will bring together Ministers and senior officials responsible for eGovernment practitioners, academics and a wide range of partners and suppliers from the private sector.
The aims of the conference are to review progress in eGovernment across Europe and to share learning. The conference will also provide a forum for debating the future direction of public sector eGovernment policy.
A report will be put on the web. Please look at www.eurofedop.org
3. Health services
In the first session three presentations by experts presented an overview
of social healthcare serv-ices in the context of the draft legislation,
and care quality, patient safety and access to health serv-ices. Questions
were: Can Europe ensure a safe health care system in the EU and what is
the extent to which a greater choice of healthcare providers can improve
healthcare across Europe.
|Social conflict in Belgium shows that trade union identity
and independence are more than ever necessary.
The Belgian Government planned far-reaching social austerity measures, but the ACV/CSC was able to prevent this. The ACV/CSC remains of the opinion that the Goverment sets the wrong priorities.
A lot of disinformation exists in Belgium about this attitude of the ACV/CSC, coming from two sides. On the one hand, there are those who claim that early retirement will henceforward only be possible from the age of 60 and, on the other hand, even worse, there is the other trade union ABVV/FGTB (Socialists) which tries to make people believe as if the proposals will lead to a bloodbath whereas, in reality, this will be a foam bath. The ABVV/FGTB and the Government are partners here and stab the ACV/CSC in the back. Even more cross is the ACV/CSC with the ABVV/FGTB, considering the practices of the latter in companies. The
|ACV/CSC President, Luc Cortebeeck, says that, apparently,
the time of “Red or no Bread” is not yet over. Josly Piette,
secretary general of the ACV/CSC, mentioned the distribution of flyers with
false information to the workers.
The General Council of the ACV/CSC will take a decision on the Government proposals on 18/10.
Those who continue to plead for one unity trade union, had better stay alert, now that it is still possible.
See also the websites www.csc-en-ligne.be and www.acv-online.be
“Fit for the European labour market - Prospects for young workers” was the theme of an EZAS seminar on 7-9/10/2005
Participants from the Europe of the twenty-five had come to the conference centre of EZAS in Erlbach-Sachsen to discuss this subject in Polish, Czech, German and French.
The EUCDW Vice-President Richard Hesse was responsible for the execution of the project. The secretary general of Eurofedop, Bert Van Caelenberg, held a speech on “Lifelong learning, a condition for quality”. The debate focussed on present and future initiatives taken in Europe with regard to training. The project took place within the framework of an EZA project on training in Europe.
||Should health insurers give more attention to first-line
care (general practitioners) or to prevention?
The health care sector remains a labour-intensive sector, the personnel have to be involved in the policy of the sector. The mobility in Europe will not be possible without a minimum insurance. The American model has clearly not been adopted. In this model, there is a direct link with the insurance of the employer. This forces people to stay working in certain companies.
Further consideration was given to the rules as they exist for example in the United Kingdom and Germany. Especially the new system in the Netherlands, based on private insurance, was mentioned. Although this system sounded very good in the beginning, for instance it would allow to get rid of waiting lists in six months, there were some doubts about the free choice of care system and the small prints in the contracts.
It was an active congress where questions were asked and answers were looked for, that also concern us health care workers in the public sector. How can you measure quality and how will you define that ? To what extent should account be taken of the requests of the citizen ? What is the most performing system of solidarity in the light of medical developments ?
I will bear in mind that the additional cost due to the demographic evolution may well be acceptable. This on the condition that we will be able to manage new technologies. If there are no politicians who give attention to solidarity, instead of speaking only for the interests of certain groups, the European health insurers will have to still undertake harsh actions.
The Association Internationale de la Mutualité is a grouping of autonomous health insurance and social protection bodies operating according to the principles of solidarity and non-profit-making orientation.
Currently, AIM’s membership consists of 45 national federations representing 32 countries. They provide social coverage against sickness and other risks to more than 155 million people, either by participating directly in the management of compulsory health insurance or by offering supplementary, alternative or substitute coverage.
AIM’s objectives and values
Their goal is to defend and promote, at international level, the social values and basic principles shared by its members. Four essential elements represent the keystone of the mutualist concept:
- Human health and well-being;
- Autonomous management;
- Non-profit-making orientation.
The objective of the Commission was to listen to suggestions and ideas for European eGovernment Policy towards 2010. The day consisted of four sequential sessions based on the themes “Efficient and Effective eGovernment”, “Inclusive eGovernment”, “High impact services for businesses and citizens” and “Key enablers”.
For Eurofedop, secretary general Bert Van Caelenberg attended. He asked to give special attention to the human and social aspects and moreover underlined that there is a danger of new/further dualism in our society. The gap between to know and not to know, between to have and not to have. Not only at national level but also between the countries, there are still too large differences and, in this context, especially the new member states of the European Union need to be given more attention. Indeed, the e-chain can only be so strong as the weakest link.
For businesses such as CISCO, it will matter now to do
more with less. Some want to abandon the name of e-government and speak
of connected government and the e-civil servant.
| The 9th congress of the EUCDW was held on 03 September in
Vienna. The congress was about the confrontation by a twin challenge that
we face nowadays. On the one hand, do we need the right impulses to return
to the path of economic growth and job creation, but on the other hand we
also need a clear sense of where we are going, to prevent our societies
from losing their unity and inner cohesion.
The representative of Infedop was H. Feiner.
The 58th Annual Conference of the UN Department of Public Information assembled under the motto: “Our Challenge: Voices for Peace, Partnership and Renewal”. The priority themes went from the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, which the UN member states had adopted in 2000 and which should halve poverty worldwide by 2015, over global security to the reform of the UN.
As parallel with the DPI/NGO Conference also the presidents of the national parliaments and the preparatory group for the UN World Summit assembled on September 14-16, 2005, the mutual information flows made it possible to directly witness the failure of a sustainable UN reform due to the US veto.
|Speakers besides other personalities were: Jean Ping, Chairman
of the 59th UN General Assembly session; Jean Eliasson, elected Chairman
of the 60th UN General Assembly session; Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General;
Juan Somavia, Director General of the International Labour Organisation;
Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian winner of the Peace Nobel Prize 2004; and the
respective presidents of the national parliaments of France and China, Jean-Louis
Debre and Liu Mingzu.
Besides the priority themes the Conference is also an ideal opportunity to lobby for the importance of public services and to develop networks for Infedop
| The EU actions that have been given special attention by
public service trade unions, are the
directives on services in the internal market COM(2004)2 and on services of general interest
COM(2003)270 - COM(2004)374. Today, they are more of relevance than ever before
and, therefore, require an updated position.
Read the resolution of the Trade Councils Finance and Ministries.
Read the results of the conference.
Europe is faltering after the “no” from France and the Netherlands
to the “text of the Convention”.
Considering that the WEU Assembly is the only interparliamentary assembly dealing with the problems of Security and Defence in Europe, this European institution once again showed that it uses every occasion to claim for itself a place on the European platform.
The Trade Council Defence of Eurofedop, which has been following the activities of this European institution as observer already for more than 10 years, has for the first time witnessed that, finally, the “personnel of Defence” are mentioned in an official report of the WEU.
Namely, in the report on “the implementation of the European Security Strategy”, the German Parliament Member Gerd Höfer makes the following statement :
|“Considering that the more member states’ troops
are involved in multinational units in the context of the battlegroups or
multinational HQs the more the different national laws governing their rights
and obligations raise problems, possibly leading to conflicts of laws and
tensions within the units in question”.
This statement, that the Trade Council Defence has already been advancing for years, has now been recognised through this report.
EUROFEDOP made necessary contacts with the rapporteur of this document as well as other parliamentarians from different countries in Paris, with the request that this file may be pursued.
Moreover, EUROFEDOP attended the celebration of 50 years WEU in Strassburg.
A lot of prominent people were present at this celebration, among whom the Secretary General of NATO, Mr De Hoop Scheffer.
The person who would be expected most to be present at this celebration, but who was absent, was the Secretary General of WEU, Mr Solana !!!
|All workers, including the executive personnel, will go on
strike to fight the policy pursued by the Socialist Government in power.
Indeed, in order not to let the budgetary deficit exceed the limit of 3 %, set forward by the European Union, the Prime Minister wants to cut back on working conditions.
Moreover, he wants to do so without engaging in preliminary negotiations and this is what the workers cannot accept.
Besides, the fact that all aspects of work will be affected - pay, pensions, sickness insurance, career - is also a subject of great concern for the workers.
Finally, the Government is criticised for wanting to use clearly and almost exclusively the Civil Servants as victims for its policy to cut back on public expenses and not wanting to consider other alternatives to reduce the country’s deficit and adapt to the rules of the European Commission.
from the traditional subjects, the Congress mainly focussed on making an
evaluation of the “Warsaw Summit” and giving (quite some) attention
to the 20th anniversary of the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
Maybe the reactions in evaluation of the Summit were at moments a bit too euphoric, but, anyway, everybody agreed that the results were very positive.
Of course, a lot of initiatives have been taken there, but now the great work will have to be done and challenges will have to be met.
|The next few months will show if the Congress will be able
to properly guide this process.
As concerns the 20th anniversary of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, we are pleased to notice that, today, already 41 of the 46 member states of the Congress have ratified the Charter.
Equally pleasant to notice is that there is a follow-up system which works and investigates, in cooperation with the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly, if the commitments taken through the Charter are respected.
Assembly expects a great deal from the report that Mr Juncker, Prime Minister
of Luxemburg, is asked to write in person and the aim of which is to show
how the European Union and the Council of Europe are complementary.
In the first place, Eurofedop attended the meetings of the Liaison Committee to the Conference of INGOs.
Here the “Warsaw Summit” was also very positively evaluated.
The fact that the President of the Conference was allowed to take the floor at the Summit, just as the Heads of States and Governments, confirms the importance attached by the Council of Europe to its cooperation with the NGOs.
|The logical consequence of this should be that the NGOs now
take their responsibility and deliver adequate reports.
In order that this may be possible professionally, in particular the working method of the Liaison Committee will have to profoundly change.
Moreover, one of the priority challenges will be the report that the Conference will transmit to Mr Juncker as its contribution to his report.
Eurofedop wishes to cooperate in this.
At the invitation of the European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities DG Social Dialogue, Bert Van Caelenberg was present at this forum.
The items on the agenda were:
1. European year of workers’ mobility 2006
Presentation of the Commission initiative by Mr J. Jamar, DG EMPL
2. Commission Green Paper “Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations”
Presentation of the Green Paper COM/2005/94 by DG EMPL representatives
In advance, information was given about the progress made in the field of social dialogue in the sectors.
Information on current files on health and security, employment and demographic developments, was also given by J. Morin.
Bert Van Caelenberg reported on the informal meeting of the public service trade unions EPSU-CESI and Eurofedop with the 25 Directors General of the Civil Service.
When a real social dialogue committee for the Public Service will be established, remains a question, also to the European Commission.
Denmark is violating the human rights enumerated in the European Convention on Human Rights, because it is legal to force Danish employees into particular trade unions. So believes the Christian Trade Union Movement, which has accordingly petitioned the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to abolish compulsory trade union membership in Denmark
On Wednesday, June 22nd, the case comes before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court has determined that the case is so serious that it will be heard directly by the Grand Chamber. That means that there are 17 judges hearing the case instead of the usual 7. It has only happened on a few occasions in the past that the Danish state has been in the dock before the Grand Chamber.
Compulsory trade union membership exists in Denmark because it is legal
for a trade union to demand that all of an employer’s employees
be members of a particular trade union. The socialist trade unions avail
themselves of this provision, so that approximately 220 000 Danish employees
are compelled to be members of a particular trade union due to such exclusive
Moreover, these exclusive agreements have a contagious effect, so that many employees are also pushed into joining a given trade union even when there is no exclusive agreement at their workplace. The Christian Trade Union Movement has just had an analysis made by the institute Epinion. It reveals that every fifth Danish wage-earner experiences pressure to become a member of a particular trade union, answering to about 500 000 employees out of the overall Danish workforce of 2.5 million.
The judicial basis for the case is Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects both the positive freedom of association (everyone has the right to seek membership in those associations he or she wishes to) and the negative freedom of association (everyone has the right to remain outside those associations he or she does not wish to join). The exclusive trade union agreements violate the negative freedom of association, and they are either outlawed explicitly or simply not found in leading European countries such as Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Spain.
“The Christian Trade Union Movement believes that it’s an
embarrassing case for the Danish state,” says Søren Fibiger
Olesen, the organisation’s national chairman. “Denmark often
criticises other countries that don’t uphold human rights, but it
might now be found guilty itself of violating a fundamental human right.
We would have liked to see the Danish Parliament forbid exclusive agreements.
The present government requested it, though without obtaining the necessary
majority. There has thus been no other way to proceed without applying
to the European Court of Human Rights.”
Health First Europe (HFE), the European alliance of patients, healthcare workers, academics and industry, yesterday launched a three-day medical technology exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels. The first ever event of its kind, “Medical Innovation for Life” highlights the importance of encouraging medical innovation in the European Union. This is vital for patients, but also for the economy, employment and, indeed, the overall well-being of society. “Medical Innovation for Life” also serves as a reminder that not all Europeans benefit from equitable access to modern, innovative diagnostic technology and medical treatments. Deeply divergent healthcare systems in the EU means that both patients and clinicians can have very different opportunities to assess and access medical innovation, depending upon the Member State in which they reside. Speaking at the launch reception of “Medical Innovation for Life”, MEP Karl von Wogau called for greater co-operation at European level in matters of health and healthcare provision. Mel Read, Chairperson of Health First Europe and former MEP, stressed that the patient should always be at the centre of national and EU health and R&D policies.
|Delegation Trade Council Health Services
Speaking to an audience of HFE members, health policy experts and members of the European Parliament at the launch reception, HFE Chairperson and former MEP Mel Read emphasized that “Healthcare in Europe is currently a major societal challenge, because of the continuing enlargement of the EU and major demographic shifts. Innovation in medical technology is key to enable patients to live longer, more satisfying and more productive lives without disability. Innovation for health should be encouraged and should be the priority of the new EU programme for research”.
“At the same time, equitable access to medical innovation should be the cornerstone of any ambitious European health policy. We welcome the Commission’s health strategy as a step in the right direction. But EU governments need to do more to bridge the gaps”, she added.
Hosting the exhibition, Karl von Wogau, MEP and Chairman of the Kangaroo Group, agreed by saying that “healthcare systems in the EU need to extend their co-operation and pool their expertise at the European level.” He also noted: “Health First Europe is right when it refers to healthcare as an important economic factor. The European Union should invest more in applied research and development to boost innovation and healthcare delivery. A healthy European population is the foundation of a healthy European economy.”
HFE’s initiative is also supported by Health Commissioner Kyprianou who said in a written statement that he “welcome[d] the contribution of Health First Europe to the discussion on issues such as an effective addressing of current and future health challenges, access to modern medical technology or development of new and flexible modes of healthcare delivery.”
Note to editors:
Health First Europe (HFE) was established in March 2004 as a platform by and for patient groups, healthcare workers, academics, experts and the medical technology industry to encourage reflection and dialogue on the future of healthcare in Europe at a time of demographic and technological revolution. HFE calls for truly patient-centred healthcare systems where every European citizen is able to benefit from the best and most appropriate medical treatments available. Healthcare is regarded as vital investment in the future of Europe.
The Health First Europe Secretariat, based in Brussels, is happy to provide further information, membership details or issue-specific responses from among its wide membership, which now counts a total of 30 medical associations, industry and individual members.
For more information please refer to www.healthfirsteurope.org
On 30-31/05/2005, EUROFEDOP organised together with CIVITAS (training and consulting organisation) and EZA a conference for workers and employers from the public administration and local authorities, in Tallinn, Estonia.
A position was taken about optimizing human resources, quality of work, priorities of social dialogue and the new member states. The meeting was attended by many participants, among whom several members of the press who were spoken to by Anna Taklaya and Bert Van Caelenberg.
CIVITAS group picture
first detailed results of a European survey of health, ageing and retirement
in Europe (SHARE) have been presented in Brussels. Eurofedop was represented
by its secretary general Bert Van Caelenberg.
Data include health variables (e.g. self-reported health,
physical functioning, cognitive functioning, health behaviour, use of
health care facilities).
The full report of 372 pages and the complete SHARE data as well as a
list of partners who carried out the survey is available on the project’s
The results will be subject of discussion at the Trade Council Health Services of Eurofedop on 13.06.2005 in Luxembourg.
EUPAN is an informal network of Directors-General responsible for Public Administrations in the EU Member States.
The network consists of 4 working groups:
Here you will find current projects, events, introductions, articles, dossiers and informative links on public administration subjects. You will also find introductory information about the projects. Our carefully-selected list of links provides access to many other sources of information. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and we will keep you informed about EUPAN activities, events and projects.
CAF (Common Assessment Framework) was subject at an Eurofedop
Seminar on 03-05.04.2003 in Athens (Greece).