The FES Regional Project on Labour Relations and Social Dialogue for Central Eastern and Southeast Europe is based in Bratislava, with field offices in Belgrade and Warsaw. It started to operate in January 2015 when the two former sub regional projects for CEE and SEE respectively were merged into one project, allowing for an even more integrated approach within the whole region.
Europe’s social dimension is enshrined in the founding treaties of the European Union (EU). However, since the 2000s and even more so after the global financial and economic crisis of 2008, we have witnessed a fundamental weakening of Europe’s social dimension. In most countries of the region we can observe similar trends: a reduction of the welfare state, a decline of collective bargaining coverage rate, an increase in precarious working conditions, attacks on trade union rights and a hollowing out of tripartite social dialogue procedures at the national and European level. As a result, the convergence of social standards, wages and eventually the living conditions between richer and poorer countries in the European Union and its neighborhood, one of the principal goals of the European integration process, is stagnating or even relapsing.
In response to these challenges, our project supports the enhancement of trade union capacities and knowledge about the European social dimension, the fostering of networks between trade unions in the region and Germany, the development of trade union organizing strategies in different sectors, and the promotion of the participation of young trade union members.
We organize regional round tables, workshops, seminars and conferences. We publish regularly on the development of labour relations and social dialogue in the region.
In order to achieve our goals, we closely collaborate with the trade union projects in our headquarters in Berlin, our offices in Brussels and Geneva and the FES country offices in the region. Some of our European trade union partners are listed here.