The European single market must respect the rights of workers and unions: that was the message delivered by John Monks, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), to Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jan a, in Ljubljana on 10 January. Monks transmitted the ETUC memorandum outlining the trade union movement's main positions to the new EU Presidency.

The recent EU Court of Justice decisions, in particular in the Laval case, are cause for concern because they have the effect of "subordinating workers' fundamental rights to bargain and to strike to the unimpeded free movement of labour," observed Monks. He also told the prime minister that "migrant workers are welcome but they should be treated equally to residents and not as second class, exploitable workers, used as agents of social dumping (ie forcing down real wages of residents)".

Janez Jan a thanked the ETUC representatives for their memorandum and stressed the importance Slovenia attaches to social dialogue at both national and European level. "During its EU Presidency, Slovenia will make every effort to successfully launch the second cycle of the revised Lisbon Strategy, whose social and environmental dimension has recently been considerably strengthened," he explained. The prime minister also intends to "promote the social dimension of the single market" as well as "efficient implementation of the principle of flexicurity" and intensive "exchange of good practices among member states".

Janez Jan a and John Monks also exchanged views on certain legislative proposals in the field of social affairs, on energy and climate change issues and on the challenges of immigration. They agreed that the enlargement of the European Union had to go hand in hand with the enlargement of social Europe.

Ernest Antoine Seilliere and Philippe de Buck, president and...

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