Friday, April 22, 2016


On the map you see the names of the European countries from which participants
came at the seminar in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia (19-21 of April)

The Austrian trade union federation FCG/GPA-djp and the Dutch trade union confederation CNV organized together with the European Organization of Workers EO/WOW, the Serbian Federation SS Bofos and the European Centre for Workers' Questions EZA a European seminar especially for trade unions in Central and Eastern Europe. The seminar had about 70 participants coming from 20 different European countries. It was held in the city of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, from Tuesday evening 19 until noon of Thursday 21 of April. Excellent speakers from different countries held introductions on the different aspects of the Eco-Social Market Economy.

Preparing the opening of the seminar. On the left Günther Trausznitz,
General Secretary of the FCG/GPA-djp (Austria) and President of the EO/WOW.
In front of him Bartho Pronk, President of the EZA.
Between them Mara Erdelj, President of SS Bofos (Serbia)
and member of the board of the EO/WOW.
They together spoke on the official opening of the seminar.

The definition of social market economy is: a form of market capitalism combined with a social policy which favours social insurance and solidarity. The social market economy forms the heart of our free and open national and, increasingly more, European society, which is also characterised by solidarity. It has proven itself as an economic system that allows for prosperity and full employment whilst also providing welfare and promoting a strong social fabric.

Günther welcomes the participants of the seminar on the morning of the 20th of April.

The concept of an Eco-social market economy was first developed in the 1980s by the Austrian politician Josef Riegler, who, out of concern for the environment, demanded that the social market economy should be further complemented by the component "environmental responsibility". It aims at balancing free market economics, the strive for social fairness and the sustainable use and protection of the natural resources. The eco-social market economy requires that the protection of the environment and social fairness are vital criteria for all economic activity.

Mr. Magister Johannes Mindrer-Steiner , Executive Director of the Institut for
Umwelt, Friede und Entwicklung IUFE (Austria), spoke on
"The Eco-Social market Economy: Hype or the future?"

In that sense the Eco-social market economy can be considered a very Social-Christian principle. Having a balance between the various actors of the economy does also imply that this is sustainable. The Biblical term for this is ‘custodianship’. Being responsible, in manner of acting, for current and future generations. Natural resources are not endless and should not easily be discarded. But one can easily translate this to sustainable welfare and solidarity.

Ms. Marija Parun Kolin, Senior Research Associate in the
Centre for Sociological Research, Institute of Social Sciences Belgrade (Serbia),
spoke about "Challenges for the Eco-Social Market Economy
in the new EU Member States."

So the Eco-social market economy aims at an enduring society in the respective cultural context, which is sustainable on three levels: environmental, social, and economical. This is in accordance to what is mentioned in the Treaty of Lisbon under article 3.

Mr. DI Josef Riegler, Vice-chancellor AD and Honorary President
Ökosozialen Forum (Austria), treated the "Eco-Social Market Economy:
a project for justice and peace."

But how to put the above into practice? The main issue is the compatibility of ecological and social aims with the principles of a market economy. The crucial question is: which framework conditions have to be created so that the dynamics of a market economy move within borders that are imposed by ecological and social aspects. Politics for the economy and for the society needs a clear regulatory framework. This is now more important than ever.

On the left Mara Erdelj, the chairperson on Thursday, and behind her
Mr. Dr. Petar Dukic, Professor Faculty of Technology and 
speaking about "Are the principles  of a market economy compatible
with ecological and social aims?