Dear friends and colleagues,
I greet you all on behalf of the European Trade Union Confederation and apologize that I was not able to attend this celebration.
The foundation of the BSPK in June 1990 was a signal to the Kosovar society to mobilize in a peaceful way for self-determination and independence The ETUC closely followed your way and contacts here and outside the country started already in 1990. Allow me at that occasion to extend my special greetings and our great respect to Professor Hajrullah Gorani, the father of your organization and an outstanding and respected personality. He has his chapter in the recent history of Kosova.
Before, during and after the end of the war – still present in your and our memories – ETUC supported you and helped you to continue to exist. At that period you had been united and you accepted to take part in several meetings where we tried to reestablish relations with trade unions from the former country you had been a part of.
I am aware that this was not always easy going for you nor for us and we appreciated that -and here again I refer to Professor Gorani – you did not refuse dialogue.
It is from time to time useful to take stock of the past, in your case of the recent one. This can help to understand better, to take lessons from it and use experiences to take position in the presence and the future.
Your country is on the path for independence. You are in a very complex transition. The economy is suffering, the unemployment is extremely high, workers in large parts of the still small private sector are in need of protection and support, ten thousands of young citizens are leaving the country. And the society is confronted on a large scale with a large spread corruption. And you have the largest part of young people allover Europe.
Among us trade unionists we ow each other openness. So, dear colleagues, allow me to be very clear. The trade union movement in Kosova is totally divided. It is a movement that should move forward but it does not. The price is paid by the workers. The division of unions along the line between public and private sector is all but a sign of solidarity. It is difficult to expect solidarity from the outside if the is no or too little solidarity inside.
The solution is with you. It is about self-determination. It is your responsibility to come back to unity. This needs compromises from all sides. This has to be negotiated. That cannot be done by decree. In the interest of the workers and of the whole society you should speed up. Time for that is all but endless.
We had been stand by over the last 18 months to help together with the German Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation to organize a structured round table all inclusive. This exercise did not deliver until now but there is still hope.
This commemoration should also be a wake-up call to yourself. Move he movement. We will continue to assist you as good as we can. For the time being our partner in Kosova is the trade union round table.
In that respect you can count on us and I hope that the day will come when we can greet a united and operational trade union confederation as a member of the European Trade Union Confederation.
General Secretary, ETUC