The representatives of eight Eastern Central European countries, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia launched a citizens’ initiative for a European wage union at the conference held in Budapest’s Hotel Kempinski on Tuesday. As a signatory of the declaration, Mihail Petrov, the president of Bulgaria’s VMRO BND Youth Platform told us that Eastern Central European people were not second-class citizens of the European Union and they deserved better living conditions.
What was your reason to join the citizens’ initiative for a European wage union?
The most important reason is the demographic disaster that strikes Bulgaria. Young people leave our country in large numbers and they don’t return because Western European living standards are much higher than in Bulgaria. The living conditions are just not the same in Bulgaria as in Germany or France. Social justice should be a key principle of the European Union. We Eastern Central European people are not second-class citizens of the Union. We are not worse than Western people and we deserve better living conditions, too.
Do you expect your citizens’ initiative to succeed?
It might not succeed but it’s worth a try. This is a struggle you can only win if you take on the challenge.
It was said in the conference that the wage union is about the future of Europe too, and a strengthening Eastern Central Europe may be important for Western Europe as well. Can you imagine Western European citizens signing your declaration, too?
I don’t think it is likely because Western and Eastern Europe have different interests. Western European member states benefit more if Eastern Central European wages are low. They don’t need countries that are equal to them. It’s like an economic dictate.
Can the alliance behind this citizens’ initiative become the foundation for a new regional cooperation in other matters than the wage union?
Other Eastern Central European states will probably understand the objective of this meeting and the initiative, and they will perhaps join us. I surely hope so because we need the support of a growing number of people. It will already be a small victory if we can involve more and more people in this citizens’ initiative.
The signatories of the document (from left to right): Dragoş Tîrnoveanu (Romania), Péter Pallér (Slovakia), Márton Gyöngyösi (Hungary), Konstantīns Pupurs (Latvia), Jaak Madison (Estonia), Paveł Gawluk (Poland), Frano Čirko (Croatia), Mikhail Petrov (Bulgaria)