FSE/ESF Forum social européen/European Social Forum - Enlargement Working Group Report
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// Prep Process (EPA-AEP) // About Athens 2006 // AEP-APE Istanbul (09/2005)

Enlargement Working Group Report [en] | el | es
9 November 2005


Having in view the importance of the ESF Enlargement process, which involves inclusion and visibility of Eastern European participation in the process, it was agreed both at the meeting with the Babels Coordination and at the Enlargement Group meeting, that it is necessary to have in Athens one language booth for Eastern European languages.

This additional language booth should provide interpretation for Eastern European languages in each room.

If we want an important participation from Eastern European countries, we need not only good seminars, but also appropriate interpretation provided.

Therefore, the Enlargement Group ask the EPA to agree on the proposal to have one language booth for interpretation for Eastern European countries. Babels Coordination stated that the solution is technically possible and feasible.

The Romanian Social Forum Preparatory Assembly will take place on the 15th of October.

The Greek Organizing Committee of the ESF-4, as well as people from Western countries support the event in the spirit of the ESF Enlargement process and the decisions in Prague, and as means of boosting the Social Forum process in Eastern and Balkan countries.

It was expressed the hope that the ESF-4 in Athens will be the first real ESF in the sense of a better balance in the participation and in the Program of Eastern Europeans. Consequently it was agreed to extend the existing mailing lists of the Eastern ESF and to help Eastern Europeans organizing events in their countries by sharing contacts, and putting people into contact.

The important Western participation at this meeting of the Enlargement Group may reflect both a political intention, and a desire to discover Eastern Europe.

It was underlined that one of the most important problems people in Eastern Europe are confronted with is poverty that generates financial drawbacks.

A solution of getting over this would involve not only sharing experience with our Western friends, but also taking active part in the construction process of a New, Social, More Democratic, Ecological, Pacifist and Feminist Europe that we all want.

Along these lines the Hungarian Social Forum Coordinating Working Group will organize a Conference entitled ‘We want a Social Europe of Peoples instead of a Neo-Liberal Europe’ in Budapest, Hungary, on The 29th of October 2005. The event will involve social actors, Trade Unions, as well as political forces.

It was reported that at the Women’s Meeting they proposed that 50% from the Solidarity Funding be directed to women in Eastern European countries, where poverty, social disruption and injustice leads to losing jobs, prostitution, and a new form of slavery for women.

The Greek Organizing Committee of the ESF-4 learnt about an Albanian Initiative for a Social Forum and decided to pay a visit there in December in order to support them building up.

The German representatives from ATTAC Germany and Friends of the Earth Network appreciated that besides the territorial Enlargement it is necessary to have an Enlargement in terms of Thinking and Understanding of the ESF.

People did not find beneficial and productive for the ESF process the fact that during the first day of the EPA some Turkish participants insisted in a not quite inclusive manner on the anti-imperialist discussion. This caused other important issues, such as the Charter for Another Europe, the Petition, the environmental problem, etc, be minimized or even left out.

It was pointed out by delegates from different countries that people in Eastern Europe could be better involved in the ESF process not only by employing a theoretical anti-Neo-Liberal political discourse – which, in fact may be meaningless for many of them – but rather by addressing their practical needs and problems.

For instance, in Hungary farmers blocked Budapest in January this year using 1,000 tractors. Recently 20,000 cyclists did the same again. These people fought for social justice and for their rights, but they may have no clue about Neo-Liberalism and they did not necessarily stated that they fought against Neo-Liberalism. Yet, in reality they just did it.

The Greek representatives also agreed that there is need to address real problems for people in Eastern Europe so as to get them involved, problems such as: working conditions, salaries, insurance policies, and so on and so forth.

Leo Gabriel from the Austrian Social Forum proposed to organize a tour-mission aiming at making the ESF visible and building networks in Eastern European countries where there is no social movement and no established contacts whatsoever.

Concerning the transportation means to the Athens ESF-4, it was reminded about the success of having a train organized from Austria to Florence in 2002, and it was proposed to do some research on the possibility of having something similar for Athens.

The issue of Euro Marches to Vienna in May 2006 was also tackled and Eastern European participants agreed with the proposal.

Peter Damo, RSF, for the ESF Enlargement Working Group

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