LO President: The Lisbon Treaty is a step forward but not enough


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- I am glad that the Riksdag has decided to approve the Lisbon Treaty. This means that the trade union rights will be binding under the EU Treaty. But political action will be needed, both nationally and on the European level. The LO’s justified demand that the governmental inquiry into the consequences of the ECJ decisions for the Swedish legislation should present its proposal before the Riksdag makes a decision on the Lisbon Treaty was ignored by the Government, which was both unnecessary and provocative, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.

The LO Congress in June 2008 decided to support the new Treaty, making however a statement that the findings of the Government’s inquiry into the consequences of the Laval case should be presented before the Riksdag makes a decision on the Lisbon Treaty. This has however been prevented by the Prime Minister. The non-socialist Government has used the adoption of the Treaty for own national policy purposes, but the attempt to split up the labour movement has failed.

When initiating the work on the new Treaty, the objective was to gain stronger support for the EU among its citizens. But the gap between the EU and its citizens has not decreased. On the contrary, the Swedish and other non-socialist governments’ way of acting in the EU has been one factor making the distance between EU and its citizens bigger, while the EU is also facing a lack of confidence after the decisions in the Laval, Viking, Rüffert and Luxemburg cases.

- The non-socialist Government now has a grave responsibility. It must make efforts to ensure, by means of a social protocol, that the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike and collective agreements get a stronger position in relation to the economic freedoms of the internal market. The Government must support a revision of the Directive on the Posting of Workers as well as propose amendments to the Swedish legislation, based on the results of the governmental inquiry, which will secure the Swedish model. Unfortunately there is reason to doubt whether the Government will do all this.

Now the LO is focused on the future. In June 2009, there will be elections to the European Parliament. In the LO’s view it is crucial that we get a Parliament, which has a clear political mandate to push for a Commission that supports a revision of the Posting Directive as well as the adoption of a social protocol. In these direct and democratic elections, it would thereby be possible to reinforce democracy in the EU and carry through reforms.