EuroCOP, the European Confederation of Police, and EUROMIL, the European Organisation of Military Associations, have been informed about the ongoing labour conflict between the Government of Colombia and retired members of the armed forces and the police. For the second time, these former servicemen and policemen started a thirty-day march to the Capital, Bogota, to request an improvement of their salaries and benefits. The march started on 1 July 2013 in the city of Barranquilla and is expected to end on 1 August 2013 in the Capital, where a demonstration will follow on the Plaza de Bolivar. The demonstrators ask the Government to pay its outstanding debts to the police and armed forces.
With this common statement, EuroCOP and EUROMIL ask the Columbian Government to find an agreement with their former employees. Employees who, while in active service, served their country and its citizens, putting their own health and live in danger. Governments owe respect to their servants and must treat them with respect and dignity, even when they are no longer in active service.
EuroCOP and EUROMIL also call on the European Union to investigate this case. We were informed that the Colombian Defence Minister, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, visited Brussels on 24-25 June 2013 and had a meeting with the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid. Minister Pinzón expressed interest in strengthening cooperation in the field of CSDP, including by considering the opportunity and the modalities of Colombia's participation in EU missions. Deputy Secretary General Helga Schmid said “the EU would consider assistance in the area of military penal jurisdiction as requested by the Colombian side.”
Moreover, EuroCOP and EUROMIL were informed that Helga Schmid expressed EU full support to the Colombian Government in its search for a negotiated solution to Colombia’s internal armed conflict. This full support can only be applauded.
“Minister Pinzón also met with the EU's Political and Security Committee, and with other senior EEAS officials, for discussions on the deepening of EU-Colombia dialogue and co-operation on areas of common interest” and therefore EuroCOP and EUROMIL are of the opinion that the European Union should urge its Colombian partner to ensure that its citizens are correctly treated and their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in the field of trade union rights, are guaranteed.
By Anna Nellberg, President of EuroCOP, and Emmanuel Jacob, President of EUROMIL
Joint Statement of EuroCOP and EUROMIL on the conflict between the Government of Colombia and retired members of the armed forces and the police
STATEMENT BY EMMANUEL JACOB, PRESIDENT OF EUROMIL, IN SUPPORT OF JORGE BRAVO, PRESIDENT OF AUME
The European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL) is an umbrella organization composed of 40 military associations and trade unions from 27 countries. It is the main Europe-wide forum for cooperation among professional military associations on issues of common concern. EUROMIL strives to secure and advance the human rights, fundamental freedoms and socio-professional interests of military personnel of all ranks in Europe and promotes the concept of “Citizen in Uniform”. As such, a soldier is entitled to the same rights and obligations as any other citizen. EUROMIL particularly calls for recognition of the right of servicemen and -women to form and join trade unions and independent associations and for their inclusion in a regular social dialogue by the authorities. Soldiers are highly skilled employees, who have the legitimate right to promote their social and professional interests - as do other workers.
EUROMIL was informed about the imprisonment, yesterday morning, of Jorge Bravo, President of its Spanish association Asociación Unificada de Militares Españoles (AUME), for a period of one month and one day in a military prison near Madrid. The immediate arrest of Mr. Bravo is a consequence of the disciplinary proceedings launched by the military authorities against him, after a statement he made on 16 July 2012 in the media, considering that defence budget cuts should concentrate on superfluous spending rather than salaries.
EUROMIL expresses its full support, solidarity and sympathy with AUME and Jorge Bravo in this difficult situation.
It is the third time AUME’s President is condemned for statements delivered to the media. J. Bravo was already imprisoned for one month and one day in January 2007, for commenting a helicopter accident in Afghanistan, and for one month and ten days in October 2007, for participating and delivering a speech, in civilian clothes, in a demonstration of the Civil Guard.
Despite some positive developments in the recognition of servicemen and –women rights in Spain, such as the adoption, in 2011, of the Law on Rights and Duties for the Members of the Armed Forces, establishing the right of association for military personnel, restrictions of their fundamental rights remain high.
EUROMIL regrets that Spain continues to impose undue restrictions on the right of association for military personnel and strongly condemns the current repressive measures taken against Jorge Bravo.
Military associations are recognized in several countries across Europe as valuable partners for defence administrations. Experience has shown that the right of association has not compromised combat efficiency or military discipline. On the contrary, involving democratic military associations in a permanent social dialogue has de facto improved the moral and loyalty of troops. In times of increased operational pace, military associations and unions can be a powerful ally to raise awareness and to articulate the professional interests and concerns of military personnel. Associations can also enhance the status of the military profession in society. EUROMIL therefore calls on the Spanish authorities to immediately drop all disciplinary or judicial measures against members of military associations in Spain.
On behalf of the military personnel in Europe, EUROMIL hopes that the Government of Spain will do everything in its power to support the present request and ensure that all Spanish military personnel will be treated as “Citizens in Uniform” in the future.
European Day of Action and Solidarity on 14 November 2012
STATEMENT BY EMMANUEL JACOB, PRESIDENT OF EUROMIL, ON THE OCCASION OF THE EUROPEAN DAY OF ACTION AND SOLIDARITY, 14 NOVEMBER 2012
The European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL), an umbrella organization composed of 43 military associations and trade unions from 28 countries, joins the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) call for a European Day of Action and Solidarity on 14 November 2012 to mobilise in favour of employment and solidarity and against austerity.
EUROMIL is the main Europe-wide forum for cooperation among professional military associations on issues of common concern. The organisation strives to secure and advance the human rights, fundamental freedoms and socio-professional interests of military personnel of all ranks in Europe and promotes the concept of “Citizen in Uniform”. As such, a soldier is entitled to the same rights and obligations as any other citizen.
The European Trade Unions are protesting against austerity measures “…dragging Europe into economic stagnation, indeed recession with the result that growth has stopped and unemployment is rising inexorably. Cuts to salaries and social protection are attacking the European social model, worsening imbalances and fostering injustice.” (ETUC Press Release 5/11/2012)
Since EUROMIL signed a cooperation agreement with the ETUC in 1998, it supported the European Trade Union movement on several occasions, such as recently during the Euro-demonstrations in Brussels in September 2010 and in Budapest in April 2011.
European armed forces and their military personnel are not spared by the negative impact of the severe austerity measures and defence budget cuts induced by the economic and financial crisis. Soldiers have to pay twice for this crisis. Firstly as civilians, they have to share the efforts every citizen is making by, for instance, paying new taxes, having their income reduced and their social security systems cut. Secondly as soldiers, they have to assume the consequences of the cutbacks in their defence budgets! Defence budgets only consisting of a few pillars, namely training and operations, investments and personnel, soldiers are always affected by budget cuts: poor training and preparation for military operations abroad would put soldiers in danger; a lack of investments would induce inadequate equipment for those sent out in missions, which would jeopardize their safety; and a reduction of the number of personnel would have important human consequences.
Despite the financial and economic crisis, soldiers’ terms and conditions of employment must be maintained to the greatest extent possible. Above all, what military associations cannot accept is an outrageous regression of established rights.
The armed forces are composed of human beings who have chosen to serve their country as citizens in uniform. The fact that these men and women happen to be wearing a uniform does not negate their rights as citizens of that country. EUROMIL strongly regrets that some European countries continue to impose undue restrictions on the right of association for military personnel and particularly calls for the recognition of the right of servicemen and -women to form and join trade unions and independent associations and that these are included in a regular social dialogue by the authorities. Soldiers are highly-skilled employees, who have the legitimate right to promote their social and professional interests - as do other workers.
40 Years of Solidarity among Military Associations in Europe: EUROMIL celebrates its 40th Anniversary
On 13-14 September 2012, the European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL) celebrates its 40th anniversary. EUROMIL, an umbrella organisation, is the main Europe-wide forum for cooperation among professional military associations on issues of common concern. Founded in 1972 by 8 associations from 5 West European countries, the organization grew steadily and is now composed of 43 associations from 28 countries. From the Russian Federation to Ireland, and from Finland to Cyprus, EUROMIL defends the social and professional interests of military personnel of all ranks in Europe and promotes the concept of “Citizen in Uniform”. Through its office in Brussels, EUROMIL facilitates the exchange of information, experiences and best practice among member associations. The organization, moreover, strives to secure and advance the human rights, fundamental freedoms and socio-professional interests of soldiers by monitoring and advocating at the European level. EUROMIL supports the inclusion of military personnel into EU social and labour legislation.
Among its achievements was the significant contribution of EUROMIL in creating the political circumstances in which some countries introduced legislation and regulations recognizing the legality of representative associations for military personnel. EUROMIL continues to support the right of association in all European countries and to form associations for military personnel to protect their social conditions. At the present time, the main challenge to tackle is the negative impact of the economic and financial crisis on defence budgets. The subsequent reductions in national defence spending and numerical strengths of armed forces have created new challenges for the national associations and EUROMIL.
Even before 1989 EUROMIL became conscious of the political changes and their impact on all citizens of Europe as the European Union evolved towards the political and economic integration of nations at an increasing pace. Nowadays, the organization maintains formal contacts with the EU Institutions, the Council of Europe (CoE), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). Additionally, EUROMIL established partnerships with the Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention (PN), the European Security Round Table (ESRT), Dr. Manfred Wörner Circle (DMWC) and most recently the European Movement International (EMI).
This autumn, the 4th EUROMIL Congress will gather in Brussels on 26-27 October 2012. The Congress is the highest EUROMIL authority. It is composed of the delegates of the member associations in proportion to their membership and meets every four years. The Congress elects the President and the Board, approves the long-term policy objectives of the organization and has the sole authority to make amendments to its Charter. High-level speakers will participate in the official opening.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN ORGANISATION OF MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS MR. EMMANUEL JACOB IN SUPPORT OF HOSZ AND THE HUNGARIAN PEOPLE
The European Organisation of Military Associations - EUROMIL - was informed by its Hungarian Member Honvédszakszervezet (HOSZ), that the Parliament has adopted on 14th June 2011 the proposal No. T/3199 submitted by the governing party, thus amending the Constitution of the Republic of Hungary.