Foreword – Moving Europe forward

The Secretariat has worked hard in cooperation with its Spanish affiliates to make this 5th Ordinary ETF Congress in Barcelona a success.

The transition from the current to the next mandate takes place in turbulent times for Europe and for the international community, characterised by an increasing acceptance of polarising speeches in the public debate, appealing to a sentiment of fear among the population and encouraged by the recent political successes of populistic campaigns. Those still valuing nuance and common ethical principles, as for example the use of evidence-based discourses and treating your opponents with dignity, do no longer receive the respect and approval they deserve. The past year we have learned that what is certain and given today, may no longer be that evident anymore tomorrow.

Not by chance this evolution takes place while we are experiencing a growing awareness that the world finds itself at a turning point, with historically stable and friendly authorities being confronted with a discontent and revolting electorate that feels neglected by the political establishment, with (re-)emerging economic and political powers claiming new grounds, with technological revolutions threatening to wash away from beneath us the earth we have lived on for decades, with the consequences of climate change becoming more and more tangible and irreversible. It is pushing us all towards an unknown terrain and creates a climate of uncertainty, making people vulnerable to over-simplified discourses.
It is tempting to respond to these changes by copying the style of our challengers in an attempt to counterbalance this shift to the far right. But doing so would only further legitimise a disgraceful and destructive attitude, pushing us further in the defence while we would already have lost what defines us, our belief in mankind and its undeniable capacity to move forward by cooperation and in solidarity.

Instead we need the courage to question ourselves and the answers we have offered so far to the needs of the people we represent, to face the mistakes we may have made in the past and possible weaknesses in our functioning. We need to strengthen and reaffirm our core values as trade union movement and optimise our approach in view of the changing realities. The ETF 2017 Congress is the appropriate platform to do so and in preparation of this process the ETF has concluded a first assessment of its methodologies by enquiring its affiliates and learning lessons from the feedback we have received from the grassroots’ level.

I remind you again of the slogan we decided to use to strive in the next mandate for a better future for transport workers and the wider society: “Fair Transport for Europe – Social Justice, Solidarity, Unity”. It reflects the path ETF chooses to tackle the challenges ahead, with a positive approach and with confidence in the strength of a solidary and unified workforce. I look forward to your active involvement and constructive contributions at Congress and when implementing the next ETF Work Programme with the shared aim to move Europe forward.

Eduardo Chagas
ETF General Secretary

“Slander is a form of self-denial and a result of inner uncertainty. By reproaching the mistakes of others, one seeks to confirm their absence with oneself.” – Godfried Bomans (1913-1971)

Practical Information ETF 2017 Congress

The Secretariat has produced and circulated among the affiliates an information brochure containing all practical details of the ETF 2017 Congress, among others the visa requirements, available languages for each activity, general information useful when being accommodated in Spain and details of close by restaurants and bars.

The brochure also contains the timetable of the ETF Youth and Women’s Conference as well as the Congress agenda and all fringe meetings organised by the ETF affiliates and the Secretariat, which you can find as well in the agenda on this website. You can download the information brochure and the document outlining excursion options here.

Welcome reception

A Congress welcome reception is kindly offered by the City of Barcelona, the NTF and the ETF to all Congress participants, partners and accompanying persons on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 at 20h30.

Paperless Congress

The 5th ETF Ordinary Congress is a paperless congress. No printed copies will be provided during Congress – affiliates who prefer working on paper documents have been requested to print out all documents prior to arrival at Congress.

Printing capacity available at Congress for affiliates is limited – all newly produced documents (e.g. emergency motions, report of the credentials committee, etc.) will be uploaded during Congress on this website. You can access the password protected document area with the credentials you have received via your personal email address that has been provided when registering for this event. When a new or an updated document is available for download, you will receive a notification in your inbox.

Special Wi-Fi arrangements are made with the Congress hotel – curtesy of the Spanish affiliates FSCCC.OO and FeSMC.UGT.

Mutual Respect

The ETF is committed to creating and maintaining a positive working environment based on personal dignity and mutual respect. We at the ETF strive to create working situations in which all participants feel comfortable and safe. No one should be made to feel that their personal security is compromised in any way, at any moment. This ETF standard applies to meetings, social events and all ETF activities.

If you feel that your personal safety has been compromised and or if you have concerns regarding behaviour which you judge to be in direct opposition with our aforementioned objectives, please contact Cristina Tilling from the ETF Secretariat at once. We nevertheless trust that the Congress will run smoothly.