Jobbik delegation’s Sofia visit reveals launch date of signiture collection for the Wage Union
Jobbik’s president Gábor Vona and MP Márton Gyöngyösi, the representative of the Citizens’ Committee for the wage union initiative met the Bulgarian supporters of the project, the VMRO in Sofia on 10th July. The negotiations covered such issues as the utilization of the social and political potential lying in the Wage Union concept, the specifications of the cooperation between the two parties as well as the details of the campaign. First and foremost, it was also revealed when you can grab your pen or keyboard to submit your statement to support the idea of ensuring equal wages for equal work across the EU.
The two Jobbik MPs met three politicians representing VMRO, the junior coalition partner of the Bulgarian government: MEP Angel Dzhambazki, MP Julian Angelov and Mihail Petrov, the president of the party’s youth organization.
Reforming the EU is a strategic issue
“We believe we can create a Europe where we, Eastern Central European nations can feel good, too,” emphasized Gábor Vona in the Sofia meeting of the two rightist parties, adding that this concept was neither utopian nor populist but a strategic goal – regardless of what critics say. However, the president also noted that Eastern Central European nations must do their own job to make the West consider them as equal partners instead of cheap labour and easy market.
In Mr Vona’s view, this is the only way to prevent the brain drain from causing a grave disaster in the affected countries. Describing the current situation, he said: “Our youth emigrate while people of Asia and Africa want to immigrate into our country.” Jobbik’s primary goal is to enable everyone to prosper in their own homeland for which we need a fair and just Europe, he said, explaining that the concept reached far beyond the issue of wages: “If we fail to voice our needs, we will be left with a European Union that is good for others but not for us.”
VMRO representative Julian Angelov stated: “This initiative was launched at the best possible time because wage inequalities make our countries lose their population and end up in a disastrous economic situation.” Talking about the emigration of the Eastern Member States’ population, the MP said it was a vital issue just like the question what kind of European Union we would have in the future or what would the role of the eastern states be in the system: “Will we be a mixture of cheap labour force and some economic subcontractors for Germany or will there be a booming, prosperous community across the whole continent?”
Get ready, the collection of the statements of support begins soon
The participants also talked about the strategies and milestones of collecting the signatures needed for the Citizens’ Initiative. Mr Angelov emphasized VMRO’s substantial experience in civil initiatives and collection of signatures, which means that they will probably not have any difficulties collecting the necessary 12 750 statements from Bulgaria. In fact, they were likely to collect significantly more, he added.
The pro-government MP also noted that two labour rights associations were expected to help them in this project since they had already cooperated with them in other matters. Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi asserted that the organizers should collect more than the required minimum of signatures because the project must demonstrate a wide popular support, otherwise the EC might sweep it off the table.
Mr Vona added that Jobbik intended to collect one million signatures from Hungary alone and they were going to employ all of Jobbik’s means to achieve this goal.
The parties all noted the need for a joint and coordinated campaign for the wage union initiative although Jobbik does not wish to influence any organization in their approach to the voters in their own countries. Jobbik believes that each country must decide how to efficiently communicate the common message and how to thematize the public discourse. However, Mr Vona and Mr Gyöngyösi both emphasized their willingness to help any of their partners. Talking about the technical details of the process, Mr Gyöngyösi revealed that the online collection could begin in one or two weeks, while Jobbik was going to start setting up street stands on 20th August.
Adopting Mr Angelov’s proposition, the two delegations agreed that Bulgaria was going to hold a grand campaign kick-off event in Sofia in early September with the participation of Jobbik’s representatives.
They also agreed that VMRO and its trade union partners would send their delegations to the international conference of trade unions and workers’ associations to be organized by Jobbik in Budapest on 7th September. Reflecting on some details of the conference, Mr Gyöngyösi said they would invite unions and organizations which officially endorsed the Wage Union concept and were ready to collect signatures from their members. The conference will discuss the practical aspects of the collection process as well as help participants to network and exchange ideas.
Jobbik’s and VMRO’s representatives also agreed that both parties had a lot to do in the European Parliament so that they could win as many Eastern Central European MEPs for the wage union initiative as possible. For that purpose, they will cooperate more closely in the future.
Source: Jobbik – press release