Speech by Antti Palola ITUC Congress, Copenhagen 2018
Dear congress, dear brothers and sisters.
We have today, in my confederation, the Finnish Confederation of Professionals – STTK, a genuine worry regarding the development of democratic rights in the world.
This unfortunate development is also clearly illustrated in the ITUC survey and the draft congress statement.
The challenge to democracy is global
The challenge to democracy is global and in recent years we have seen it grow stronger. Even here in Europe, some countries are abandoning the idea of fundamental democratic rights. We see this in threats against free media and free elections. We see it in breachments to impartial justice systems. If this development is allowed to continue, civil society is at risk. We risk losing the very basis for global economic development and jobs if anti-liberalism spreads further.
STTK believes that the most important focus today and in the current situation in both Europe and the world, must be to strengthen democracy by bringing decision-making closer to the citizens. To do this, in the Nordics, as well as in other countries, we need to put citizens at the centre. We, the trade unions, need to be a channel for democratic influence in society and its development. Workers and citizens need to be included when we speak of development, of improving competitiveness and developing our economies.
We, the labour movement, are part of a peace project and significant in developing democratic successful economies and societies for the future.