The vision of the European Union is primarily a promise that all of its members will enjoy the benefits of political stability and economic prosperity. Unfortunately, these promises have not been fulfilled entirely. In this crisis-stricken period, the gap between core and peripheral countries has become ever more visible and resulted in undesired consequences. Masses of people have decided to look for opportunities outside of their home country and migrate to the more developed regions within the Union. In the meantime, the cheap-labour model pursued by the peripheral governments kept the wages low in these member states in order to attract foreign investment. If we do not reverse these tendencies together, our common European dream will fall apart.
While various forums conduct daily debates on immigration into the core European countries, such issues as the emigration from the periphery and the labour drain from these regions are hardly addressed at all even though these phenomena affect a large number of people and cause very severe problems. For our nations, these problems mean a demographic deficit, a huge social security risk, an increasing labour shortage, an unmanageable loss of income, the loss of taxpayers’ money invested in human resources as well as a social disaster where families are torn apart, parents are separated from their children and grandchildren grow up without their grandparents.
It is a tragic situation. It is just as tragic as the silence about this issue.
There is no strategy; no constructive debates or public discussion of the problem. EU leaders have finally begun to realize the depth of this problem and taken the first steps to resolve it. However, there is still a long way to go before there would be no second-class citizens in the European Union. There is a lot of talk about the various inequalities within the European Union but geographical inequalities remain to be addressed according to their importance. Today’s cheap imported labour for the advanced member states is a national disaster for the periphery, which will eventually damage both sides as the periphery with its disintegrating social structure may destroy the European dream as a whole. That is why we must find a solution!
We, the signers of this declaration, fully understanding our historical responsibility, feeling the pressure of time and seeing the difficult situation our nations are in, decided to join forces and put an end to the silence about this issue. We want a fair and secure Europe for all its citizens! Of course, we know it is a complex issue and the solution cannot come overnight. However, we have no choice but to set this goal here and now because we are in the last hour.
Although the initiative for the European Wage Union primarily defines the position of our region from the aspect of workers, we must clearly state that this goal can only be accomplished if the periphery of the continent can produce a much better economic output with the help of competitive enterprises that are able to sustain and provide such wages. So, the initiative reaches far beyond the issue of wages; it essentially calls for the creation of a new, fair and secure European Union. Our regions and our nations are not asking for charity. What we are asking for is a framework where we can prosper, where positive processes can take root, where strong national business enterprises can grow and where the European Wage Union can eventually come true. In order to achieve this goal, the principle of “equal pay for equal work” must become a fundamental value of the EU, not only in theory but in practice as well. That is the purpose of our initiative.
We, the signers of this document, know that history bound our fate together. Today we commit ourselves to a joint future as well. The 20th century brought a sea of torment for our nations. In the 21st century, we are fully determined to join our forces and lay the foundations of peace, justice, security and prosperity for all of us!