SOCIAL DIALOGUE : REHN: 'TRADE UNIONS HAVE AN ESSENTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO MAKE'.

Position:Olli Rehn
 
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On 28 January in Madrid, Spain, three hundred people attended the 40th anniversary conference of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), showing that they continue to believe that trade unions play "a central role". In the current context, where the social and budget crisis is in full blow and mass redundancies are being carried out, all the participants - including representatives of the EU institutions - stressed how valuable strong social dialogue can be. In his keynote speech, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said: "Now it is vital that Europe gets back on track towards a job-rich recovery, with a view to bring the down the alarmingly high unemployment rates and ensure social cohesion. In that context, national unions have again a significant role to play and a special responsibility".

The conference focused on three issues: the social dimension of the EU and how to crystallise it; economic governance that can deliver sustainable growth and employment; and the role of citizens, workers and their unions within a genuine Economic and Monetary Union.

The main point, however, was to celebrate the ETUC's 40th anniversary, as 7 February 1973 saw the official birth of the only organisation representing workers' interests at EU level. The ETUC seized the...

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