Friday, April 25, 2014

THE DOWNFALL OF THE WCL 30 (The International Trade Federations)

This picture has been taken during the 100 year CMV anniversary in Duisburg, Germany in October 1999. It shows part of the European network in which the CGM was and is operating. We see WFIW President Jaap Wienen (now dep. secretary general ITUC) and  his successor WFIW President Bart Bruggeman, both from the CNV  Bedrijvenbond. Rolf Weber from KRIFA was also present. We see also former CGM President Siegfried Ehret.

The International Trade Action of the WCL has a complicated history because of the diversity of its actors. The 8 International Trade Federations (ITF's) - WFCW ( banking, insurance and other private sector services) , WFEW ( education) , INFEDOP / EUROFEDOP (officials in public service) , WFIW (industrial workers ) , WFCW (construction & wood) , IFTC ( textile workers ) , FEMTAA ( agriculture and food ) and FIOST (transport and communication workers) had a life of their own with their own statutes, world congress, world board etc. The finances came for the most part of their European members. In some ITF's, mostly Belgian , Dutch and French trade unions paid high dues, in others also members from Austria , Germany , Canada and Denmark .

On the other hand, the ITF's paid also dues to the the WCL in proportion to the number of members. This structural bond with WCL led to a certain degree of centralized policy or should I say more euphemistically a policy of coordination. The ITF's maintained a lot of autonomy and did not always accept the common strategy of the WCL. You could say that there was a certain kind of anarchy which was more or less supervised by the WCL.

For example, the ITF's ignored the new member policy of the WCL. While the WCL refused to allow the German Christian Trade union Confederation CGB and the Danish Trade Union Confederation KRIFA to the WCL, members of these confederations were welcome at the WFIW, the WFCW, the IFTC and EUROFEDOP. This meant that in this way, the WCL International Trade Federations still guaranteed a certain trade union pluralism in Europe. In the meantime both confederations mentioned here were fiercely attacked by the social-democratic oriented trade unions in their country.

This picture of the European Council of the WFCW gives an idea of the European WFCW Network with members of many European countries. 1.Krifa President Stig Mogens (Denmark),2. Ernst Gfrerrer FCG-GPA(Austria) 3. WFCW Treasurer Charles Steck (Swiss), 4.  FCG-GPA President Walter Zwiehauer (Austria), 5.  Secretary General FCG-GPA Richard Paiha (Austria), 6. EO/WFCW President Ivo Psenner (Austria), 7. DHV President Jorge Hebsacker (Germany)

In Germany, the mighty German trade union confederation DGB fed the rumor that CGB members are not only conservative but would even have a Nazi past. The attacks were also structural. IG Metall ( affiliated to the DGB) tried to get the Christian Metal Trade Union CGM (affiliated to CGB) to its knees by challenging in court again and again that they had no right to sign collective agreements in companies like Volkswagen, Audi etc. At last the CGM got justice, but at a high price because of the high costs of litigation in terms of money and energy.

The Danish social democratic LO not only portrayed the Danish Christian Trade Union Confederation KRIFA as a conservative trade union but also as an anti – trade union because they would not recognize the right to strike. Indeed, KRIFA does not consider the strike as a weapon in the fight for better working conditions but that does not mean that they deny other trade unions the right to strike . That 's a nuance that was lost in the struggle for trade union monopoly by the LO .

The Danish Social Democratic LO also put pressure on the leadership of the Belgian ACV by pointing out that admission of the Danish KRIFA into the WCL would affect the position of the Belgium Christian Trade Union Confederation ACV in the European Trade Union ETUC. At a meeting of the WCL European Section (October 1996) ACV chairman Willy Peirens, also WCL president, vetoed the affiliation of KRIFA to the WCL because of its anti-strike position. Meanwhile in its own country KRIFA had to compete against the "pre-entry closed shop system" (“A pre-entry closed shop is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed.”) that was used by LO Denmark and through which members of KRIFA were excluded from jobs.
Picture of a board meeting of the European Organization of the World Organzation of Workers (the former WFCW in the WOW office in Brussels (2012). From left to right: FCG GPA President Wolfgang Pischinger (Austria) , BOFOS President Mara Erdelj (Serbia), CGM President Adalbert Ewen (Germany), WFCW treasurer Rolf Weber (Denmark), WOW Executive Secretary Bjorn van Heusden (Netherlands), WOW President Roel Rotshuizen (Netherlands), Former CGM President Reinhardt Schiller, EO/WOW President Guenther Trausznitz (Austria).

The trade union monopoly of the LO Denmark is mainly based on this principle of pre-entry closed shop, that dates back to the early industrial era and is based on the idea that the employer is by nature the enemy of his employees. The KRIFA premise and that of other Christian unions does not agree with this idea. Employers and employees in a company can indeed have opposing interests but ultimately both have a common interest in the survival of the company. After much social struggle this idea has become the heart for what we call now "the Social Dialogue" After a lot of court precedents in Denmark, KRIFA was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in Strassbourg, which ruled that the pre-entry closed shop is contrary to Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights:

Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.
( See: EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS , 11.1.2006 ,Press release issued by the Registrar , GRAND CHAMBERJUDGMENT SØRENSEN & RASMUSSEN v. DENMARK ).

However, the ruling of the European Court did not end the conflict with the LO Denmark. Trade union members of LO Denmark continue to try to force members of KRIFA to leave their job by bullying.

In practice this meant that the WCL was blocked to affiliate potential new Western European members what de facto meant a weakening of the WCL. So the European trade union unity started slowly but surely to ask its price from the Christian trade unions. Meanwhile some ITF's were also weakened by the departure of strong European members in order to become a member of the social-democratic oriented International Trade Union Federations.

Friday, April 18, 2014


From left to ring: Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia), Octavio Paz (Mexico) and Mario Vargas Losa (Peru)

As far as I know, there are two Latin American books in which the word solitude appears in the title : 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by the recently deceased Colombian writer and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927 -2014) and 'The Labyrinth of Solitude ' by the Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz ( 1914-1998 ) . 'The Labyrinth of Solitude' was published in 1950 . 'Hundred Years of Solitude' in 1967. The two writers belong nearly to two different generations. Both authors have received the Nobel Prize in literature : Gabriel Marquez in 1982 , Octavio Paz in 1990.

Marquez is with his fantastic stories and bright , journalistic style for many more readers accessible than Paz with his poems and essays on art and Mexico . Both had more than average interest in politics . Paz was even once an ambassador of his country, but resigned in 1968, an international year of student uprisings, after the massacre of protesting students on Tlatelolco Plaza in Mexico City . That was a year after 'Hundred Years of Solitude' was published . Ten days after the massacre the Olympic Games were held in Mexico. Already then, the price for peaceful Olympics was charged with oppression and even blood . That should be food for thought of the athletes and the Olympic Comitee.

In the search for their political, social and economic model Latin America has had many famous revolutionaries; Here we see two famous Mexican revolutionaries . Left Emiliano Zapata from the south of Mexico and Pancho Villa from the north, both with their wives. Photograph taken by the Mexican photographer Casasolas. The Mexican Revolution was between 1910-1919.

Marquez later used his friendship with Fidel Castro, dating from the time he lived in Cuba to report about the Revolution (1959 ), to get free Cuban political prisoners . Despite Cuba became a communist dictatorship under Fidel Castro , Marquez did not distance himself from Castro. You see that more often with intellectuals in Latin America. They choose not unconditionally for democracy and human rights but remain floating between the romance of the Revolution and their anti - Americanism .

Paz is cleare at this point. He chose unreservedly for democracy the same as did later the Peruvian writer Vargas Llosa, also winner of the Nobel Prize for literature (2010 ) . Vargas Llosa was overloaded for this attitude with scorn by leftist Latin Americans, which was reinforced when he became a candidate for the presidency of his country. That's sad because Vargas Llosa is as good a teller of fantastic tales as Marquez . Paz, Marquez and Vargas Llosa with their books have given a face and an identity to Latin American. Through them, Latin America is no longer a derivative of the former European colonists and/or the U.S.

Old coloured studio photo of a Mexican indigena.
The indigenas were the original inhabitants of Latin America.

I believe that the word solitude in their two most famous books exactly means this : we Mexicans, we Colombians, we Latin Americans will have to do it all on our own. There is no one else who can help us to become ourselves, to live and to survive. We ourselves will have to reinvent the wheel : political, social and economic. In the book 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' , we read that the progenitor of the Buendia 's discovered that the world is round . It 's like the invention of the ice a metaphor for the discovery of their own nation, their own culture and identity . The family epic about a hundred years of solitude is the story of the discovery of one's own world: the laws of the world, the suffering of revolutions , the meaning of politics, the reality of treason and the uncertainty of the future.

About this Paz is more clearly at the beginning of his 'The Labyrinth of Solitude' despite his poetic language or perhaps precisely because of . His metaphor is poetic, that of the young person who discovers himself and the world: " the discovery of ourselves manifests itself in the realization that we are alone, between the world and ourselves appears an elusive, transparent wall; our consciousness . Certainly, if we are just born we feel as alone ; but children and adults can overcome their loneliness and forget themselves by play or work . But the young people, suspended between childhood and youth , remains for a moment amazed about the infinite riches of the world. The younger is amazed about his existence. After the surprise follows the reflection: bent over the river of his consciousness, he wonders whether this face that appears slowly on the bottom, deformed by the water, is his face. The uniqueness of being - pure sensation for children - turns into a problem and a question, in asking to our consciousness. With nations that are captivated by developing happens about the same. Their existence is manifested as a question: who are we and how we become who we are "? ( Octavio Paz, El laberinto de la soledad ' , 1959 Fondo de Cultura Economica , p.9 )  

Sunday, April 13, 2014


On April 1 the United Trade Unions of Venezuela gave the following statement on the situation in their country:

The country is in crisis
Our country is at a crossroad. The crisis that overwhelms us in very noticeable expressions, not only in the field of the exercise of freedoms, of civil and political rights – in recent times one sees a deplorable growth of intolerance, militarism, state repression and restrictions, but also in the field of the economic and social rights enshrined in the Constitution and the laws; areas in which the setbacks are felt most by the entire population, and more by those who rely on a wage, a salary or a pension.

The government, more interested to stay in power than to look for a solution to the demands and the national problems, shatter the hopes on a better life, as has been expressed by the popular support for the process of change that was offered to the Venezuelans 15 years ago. The institutions under the Constitution (Supreme Court, Elections, Ombudsman's Office and Comptroller General of the Republic) have been kidnapped by the government, leaving the society – and above all those who work for a living – in absolute helplessness. The daily actions of these institutions in favour of the government clearly show that there is no division of powers, no rule of law and less social justice, as stated in our Constitution.

The working class is suffering
The working class suffers most from the deteriorating conditions of living and working, which can no longer be hidden behind speeches and slogans. The decline in the purchasing power of wages continues; nominal value has nothing to do with the real costs to live, because the "increases"- whether by decree or collective agreement - get lost in a crazy economy, in which money has no support in the domestic production of goods and services.

The economic model stimulates inflation, speculation and corruption, and therefore it impoverishes the majority and it enriches the few, the old and new oligarchies. The only difference with the "paquetazos" of previous governments, is the deceptive and manipulative discourse. Ultimately all measures such as economic adjustments, the rise in prices and the constant devaluations are a greater burden for the people, the workers, all those who live of a salary.

Our national production is destroyed
The government discourages industrialization and agricultural production, leads nationalized companies in a crisis by a low production or by paralyzing, where the rights of working men and women are violated, collective agreements are not discussed and trade union autonomy is not respected ; making imports as the only way to supply the country with basic food products for the population, that makes the economy more dependent and goes against the food sovereignty.

Employment and the right to work increasingly depend of oil revenues which the government manages on an authoritarian and despotic manner. Every day areas of productive investment are weakened or closed: basic industries, automotive industry and auto parts; cement, agro-industry, textile manufacturing, graphic and print production; chemistry laboratories and industry, among others. The use of patronage and blackmail of jobs in the public administration, which was not an invention of the last 15 years, but has been led by this government to unprecedented exponential degrees – and goes to the extreme of ignoring basic labor rights and of affecting of human dignity in wanting to control the personal lives of those who work in state institutions. Today more than ever, the state as employer promotes all kind of illegal contracts that puts workers in a situation of extreme vulnerability in the moment they stand for their rights.

No decent work is created
Although the official unemployment figures are below 10%, the reality shows us that underemployment and informal work has achieved a rate higher than 40%, which means a great loss of productive capacity because it reduces the development of sustainable, permanent jobs covered by social security. This economic and social environment does not offer room to develop the talent and skills of the highly skilled segment of the working class, who have made efforts to advance their professional knowledge. This not only results in measured unemployment, underemployment or migration of professionals to other nations, but transcends to an insurmountable obstacle for Venezuela to break the chains of dependence and promote a sovereign and independent economic development.

Criminalization of labor rights
In this chaotic picture, labor rights have suffered a great defeat, made worse by the anti-trade union policy of the government. To ignore legitimate trade union representation at the moment when issues of labor relations come to a point – whether with respect to a collective agreement, changes in labor law or public policy – means a denial of a true social dialogue and curtails the autonomy of workers to choose the trade union they believe to fit most to their class interests.

To be added to this undemocratic attitude is the criminalization of social protest and labor. Through shameless political party politicization of the system of justice, many colleagues and trade union leaders are arrested, tried and imprisoned only because they promoted actions in defense of labor rights. The right to strike has been turned into an offense, which brings immediate trial and imprisonment, based on standards that are absolutely contrary to the Constitution as provided for in the Organic Law on National Security and Defense or the reform of the Penal Code of 2005 and the Law for the Defense of People Access to Goods and Services of 2010, and other laws that relate trade union action with crime and even terrorism.

In these difficult times of our nation, we do not accept that the government or the top of the political parties, whatever their political beliefs, implement a balanced and fair solution to the political, economic and social crisis, without the presence and active participation of workers, their trade unions and labor organizations, and the popular movement as a whole. We declare ourselves opposed to any proposal that rolls back or violates the democratic rights and freedoms, and we condemn also the growing intolerance and militarism in resolving conflicts.
In response to an attack on students until they were naked, the students responded with the action "better naked"

Growing social diseases and social protests
We assume that the wave of protests that shock the country demonstrates the frustration and annoyance of the majority of Venezuelans about the rapid growth of social diseases: insecurity, shortages of basic goods, high cost of living, low wages, lack of stable and well-paid jobs, deterioration in health services, education, roads, among those most felt. The student movement is, on its own way, the expression to disagree with a model that blocks the future.

Facing the protests, the government responded with repression and violence, as they are doing for years against workers and workers: using paramilitary and vigilante groups along with state security forces, arrests, torture, physical and psychological abuse; courts are used to destroy any citizen and to create a climate of fear and intimidation in the style of dictatorships.

For a new development model
In our struggle to uphold the rights of workers, against this or any other government and against the public and private employer, we insist on promoting an economy that directs to the development of our large production capacities, and at the same time to respect the rights associated with decent work.

The United Trade Unions reiterate their rock solid commitment to promote change for the benefit of the working people. This not only requires us to continue to defend the autonomy and freedom of trade unions, the right to collective bargaining and to strike, to decent wages and social security, but also calls us to participate as fighters at the ringside for a more just society, more democratic, more solidarity, in a country where sovereignty and independence are not just slogans but are settled down into an economic and social fortress to promote the material and spiritual progress of all Venezuelans and brotherhood with all people in the world.

Action plan of the united trade unions
Starting today, we present the following objectives of our Action Plan, which should be widely announced, discussed and improved by workers in meetings on their workplace :
1. Overall increase in wages and salaries and establishment of a minimum wage , taken as reference the cost of the basic food basket, as established in the Constitution.
2 . Review of the economic clauses of the collective agreements .
3. Amnesty for all social activists who are imprisoned, those detained because of the protests and to stop the trials against trade union and popular leaders for exercising their rights as mentioned.
4. Respect for the human and labor rights.
5.Withdraw the anti trade union rules of DLOTTT and the laws that make protests into a crime .
6. We require the National Government to install inmediately the Tripartite Dialogue in compliance with what has been approved by the Governing Body of the ILO on March 27.

Rights and constitutional guarantees are not negotiable but defended.
No criminalization of protest
Stop state terrorism - No to torture

Only with a Social Dialogue a more just society is build

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

THE DOWNFALL OF THE WCL ( Part 29: Miners' Seminar in Bolivia)

Group Photo of the seminar participants. WFIW Secretary General Italo Rodomonti (ACV Trade Union of Chemical Workers), EFCM Boardmember Albert Hermans (ACV Trade Union of Chemical Workers), FLAT President Carlos 'Pancho' Gaitan and Coordinator CLAT Activities Luis Antezana.

My previous blog about the European Foundation of Christian Miners EFCM, ended with the conclusion that the announced mergers of WFIW and WCL have put an end to the carefully constructed and valuable network of the EFCM with miners all over the world. During a conversation with one of the former board members of the EFCM some time ago , I discovered that I had forgotten to write on an important seminar in Latin America financially made possible by the Foundation.

The seminar took place in July 2003 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and was organized by President Carlos 'Pancho' Gaitan of the Latin American Federation of Industrial and Construction Workers FLATIC (affiliated to the World Federation of Industrial Workers WFIW, the World Federation of Building and Wood Workers WFBWW and CLAT ) and Luis Antezana from CLAT Bolivia. 

During the seminar it appeared that the Bolivian miners had a kind of ideological conflict. The miners employed by a mining company had the opinion that cooperative miners as self-employed workers do not belong to the working class. They should be considered to be small capitalist entrepreneurs and as such they had different interests from those employed by a mining company.

To outsiders, a strange conflict if you had heard under what circumstances cooperative miners were working. In fact, they were desperate workers. As unemployed miners they had begun to exploit the remaining tin layers in the abandoned mines with their families. The working conditions were awful. They worked almost with their bare hands. It need not to be explained how dangerous it was. They said that there were made so many holes in some of the mountains, that on a bad day these mountains could collapse.

We also visited the estate of the Patino family, who became wealthy thanks to the tin mines which they owned.

The miners families lived also in very harsh conditions high in the mountains and on the plains. They told at the seminar that, when the government began to build schools in their villages, they opposed the compulsory education of their children . They told that they needed their children working in the mines to supplement the low income. In fact, their children had to earn their own bread. After a lot of talking and explaining we managed to bring the two groups together and work towards a common plan of action.

It appeared that among Bolivians mistrust against foreign companies is very large. They believe that foreign companies are just stealing Bolivian treasures as tin, gold, copper, and also the discovered gas. In the villages everywhere actions were held against selling Bolivian gas to foreign companies. At the same time Bolivia does not have sufficient knowledge or industry to make more money from the gas than through sales to foreign countries.

A rare photo of Juan Lechin Oquendo (1914-2001). Lechin was a labor-union leader and head of the Federation of Bolivian Mine Workers (FSTMB) from 1944 to 1987 and the Bolivian Workers' Union (COB) from 1952 to 1987. He also served as Vice President of Bolivia between 1960 and 1964Here he is visiting the solidarity association CLAT Netherlands in April 1981 during his exile because of the coup of General Meza in 1980. Next to him Cor Schouten, member of the executive committee of CLAT-Netherlands. 

But the curious thing is that while foreign companies are distrusted, which can be true, it is the Bolivian Patino family who has become fabulous rich from the mining of tin. At the beginning of the 80s of the last century, the nationalized mines of the state company COMIBOL, were largely closed because they would no longer be profitable. It was argumented that this was the result of underinvestment, by which the production would be out of date and therefore had become too low. Since the tin prices on the world market also had declined drastically, every year more money of the government was needed. It is said that since 1952, when the mines were nationalized, too little has been invested in the mines and who do not invest, sits at a certain moment with an outdated industry with all its consequences.

The Bolivian seminar participants doubted still, 20 years after the closure of most mines, that the closure of mines had been necessary. An objective and independent investigation by Bolivian experts or from abroad would not help, according to them. That would still be all manipulated by the government or its agents, supported by foreign companies. We could not help to get the idea that the Bolivian miners are trapped in their own circle of mistrust, due to lack of knowledge and reliable leaders.

During our visit to the headquarters of the once powerful miners' union in La Paz, we saw a poor and poorly maintained building where here and there miners and their families slept on the floor. How was it possible that a powerful trade union with thousands of members ultimately had nothing more than a largely neglected building? It was not the first time I had such an experience. During a visit to a flour mill in Lima, Peru, I found a similar situation. While the trade union existed for more than 25 years and was was not opposed much by the employer, they had only a poor and neglected building. When I asked how this was possible, one of the trade union leaders answered that having real estate was capitalist and anti-capitalist trade unions should not have real estate.

This photo was seen last week in the international press. The picture shows that the cooperative miners still have to fight for their survival, even against the progressive government of President Evo Morales.  You see miners' women between stones, laid there by miners to block traffic in and out of the city of La Paz. A new law prohibits miners who are members of a cooperative to sell the tin to private companies because the cooperatives enjoy certain tax benefits that the government does not permit for large private enterprises.

I'm not sure this is also the reason why the legacy of the Bolivian miners is so poor. Maybe it has to do much more with the lack of political stability. Bolivia is the Latin American country with the most coups since its independence. Some governments were miners benevolent while others worked against trade unions or prohibited the trade unions and imprisoned their leaders so they were forced to flee the country. For example during the coup of General Garcia Meza in 1980, trade union leaders fled the country and the building of the national trade union confederation COB was attacked by the army and destroyed.The result was that the trade unions did not have anymore leaders.

On the seminar it became clear that the situation of the miners in Bolivia but also in the other Latin American countries since many years has not gotten much better. The working conditions were barely evolved just like the national economy. The miners worked still in unsafe mines where conditions are a permanent threat to their health while wages were still much too low.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


A group of protesters from Tchad.
It has become a kind of a habit. Demonstrations on the Place the Luxembourg in Brussels, in front of the European Parliament. This time – Wednesday 2 April – there were different African groups, some protesting against their government, others supporting their government. It is not a big demonstration, rather small but very present. Some of them are singing, others making music on a drum and some are yelling. It is a sunny day so it feels that Africa is present today in Brussels.

Protest against the President of Djibouti.

It is all happening because of the start of the 4th EU Africa Summit of 2 days in Brussels. On the website “Africa-EU partnership”  it is said that “It will bring together African and EU leaders, as well as the leaders of EU and African Union institutions. Discussions at the summit will focus on the theme "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace". Topics will include education and training, women and youth, legal and illegal migrant flows between both continents, ways to stimulate growth and create jobs, investing in peace and ways to enhance EU support for African capacities to manage security on the continent. Previous summits took place in Cairo (2000), Lisbon (2007) and Tripoli (2010). The 2014 summit will be an opportunity to take a fresh look at the EU-Africa partnership, to highlight some of the results that have been achieved, and to explore areas for future cooperation.”

The Djibouti diaspora protests also against the Persident of Djibouti.

On the website of the European Council it is said that The Africa-EU Partnership aims to bridge the development divide between Africa and Europe through closer economic cooperation and the promotion of inclusive and sustainable development on both continents. It defines the long-term policy orientations between the EU and Africa, based on shared values and common principles. It is also the overall political framework defining EU-Africa relations.”

Supporters of  President Kagame of Rwanda. A well organized protest with small flags and a lot of smiling.

Funding of the Africa-EU Partnership is provided through the EU budget, by EU member states and, where possible, through African countries and African institutions such as the African Development Bank. The official data say that the EU was the largest provider of development aid in the world in 2012, contributing more than half of all Official Development Assistance (ODA) worldwide.

More support for President Kagame.
  • In 2011, 43% or €25.3 billion of the EU's combined (EU & its member states) ODA was targeted to Africa.
  • Africa is the main continent targeted by EU development assistance under the European Development Fund (EDF) and the EU budget: From 2007-2012, African countries received close to €24 billion in assistance from EU aid instruments.
  • In the past decade, the European Commission has provided close to €1 billion in support to the African Union and its institutions.

    Some protestors are well equipped
    The 2014 EU-Africa Summit is an opportunity to take stock of ongoing and future cooperation in the various fields covered by the JAES (Joint Africa -EU Strategy). In addition to a political declaration, the summit is expected to adopt an implementing document to shape EU-Africa cooperation for the next 3 years in the framework of the JAES .
    Female protestors from Djibouti
    In terms of budget, the European Commission has proposed establishing a dedicated Pan-African Programme (PAP) under the EU's 2014-2020 financial framework. The Programme will be part of the EU's Development Cooperation Instrument and will support the implementation of the JAES. It has a proposed budget of €1 billion. The final proposal is currently awaiting adoption.
The Tchad protester is interviewed 
This all looks very impressive but is it enough? The protesters on Place de Luxembourg remind us that one of the problems in Africa are the governments which do not obey to democratic rules and do not respect the human rights. The question is what the EU is doing to help Afica to change these governments? Does have the EU-Africa partnership a proper strategy to promote stable and democratic Governments who respect human rights?

A protester from Tchad with the national flag.
At this moment Africa looks more a continent of regional and local wars than of peace. These wars make a lot of victims, above all civilians and between them mostly women and children. How the EU is helping Africa to develop its economy and its democracy? That is the question the protesters are putting on the table of the EU and Africa.