May 9 1950 marks the day of Robert Schuman’s historic declaration where he set out his ideas for a new form of political cooperation in Europe. What thereafter became the European Union has advanced much since then and can today celebrate peace and relative liberty, stability and prosperity. However, things are far from perfect and the protection of European citizens, workers and institutions is a continuous task which has become more acute during recent years.
Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “Peace in Europe since World War Two is an enormous achievement and the EU has played an important role in this. However, liberal democracy has recently been put at risk especially in several Eastern European Member States. Moreover, Europe has not yet recovered from the recent crisis and social divergences have been increasing sharply for several years. And decent working conditions and equitable labour rights are no reality for many European citizens. As the world is moving towards more globalised and digitilised forms of work, the employment landscape changes. EU and national-level regulations and laws are lagging behind as workers are being dealt with in arbitrary manners and are forced to engage in precarious work relationships in the absence of robust legal and social protection.”
Mr Heeger added: “Solidarity, the EU’s bedrock of success, is at risk on multiple levels. There is a real possibility that the majority of British citizens will in June say ‘We are better off without the EU’. True financial solidarity for Greece and its citizens has not come a long way since the crisis started. Plus, the current refugee crisis is creating a rift between Member States. Today it is more significant than ever to remember that in times of hardship Member States are stronger united. Border checks are being erected between nations that once pledged solidarity to each other. The raise of radical elements and terrorist threats in society is another major threat to the stability of Europe. However we can still learn from Robert Schuman’s words: ‘World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.'”
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