More than 80 people attended an event in Bucharest, Romania, from March 28-29, 2023, focused on how the textiles, clothing, leather, and footwear (TCLF) industries in Southeast Europe can transition to greater sustainability while remaining competitive.

The event was part of the “Ensuring a Sustainable Future for the South-Eastern European TCLF industries” social dialogue project, organised by the trade union industriAll Europe together with associations, Euratex, CEC and Cotance.

The Bucharest Declaration also includes a joint call from the social partners to national governments to strengthen their industrial policies and support innovation and digitalisation.

Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe General Secretary, said: “Trade unions insist that the transition to more sustainable TCLF industries in Southeast Europe is managed in a socially responsible way. The transition will only be sustainable and just if it delivers for people and the planet.

“For us, this means ensuring that no worker is left behind in the green and digital transitions. With wages in the TCLF industries among the lowest in Europe, now is the time to work towards a transformed industry with better working conditions and wages for workers.’’

Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General of Cotance, added: “The EU Social Partners of the TCLF ecosystem have done their part in mobilising their ranks in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia for facing the challenges of the Green Deal. Now the ball is in the camp of the governments in these countries for supporting their industry with effective strategies complementing the EU strategy for the TCLF sector.”