EUROMIL: Where communication and solidarity coincide to improve the rights of members of armed forces across Europe

Long before I became a Board member of EUROMIL I was a strong advocate for the organisation, as I believed that it had the capacity to inexorably and positively alter the rights and entitlements of members of armed forces across Europe.

Now, while recognising certain limitations of the organisation mostly due to the broad spectrum of issues impacting personnel across the European Union, I still stoically believe in the organisation’s capacity to progress the interests of serving and retired service personnel.

The foregoing view is best exemplified by a recent example, whereby PDFORRA utilised the tools supplied by EUROMIL in a fashion that advanced the cause of our members at a national level.

Every week EUROMIL supplies a direct communication to affiliates that is expertly compiled and sets out issues that have occurred in the past week at a European level. This communication contains various links to articles/press releases, communications and studies by various bodies.

Recently, while reading through the material, I found a link to an article published by the German Bundeswehr Association (DBwV) regarding the potential use of cannabis by soldiers in the German armed forces. I opened the link contained on the briefing document and started to read the article, which I have to say was an interesting article and extremely informative and may well be of interest to other organisations. Following this, I opened the main page of the DBvW website and found that it contained an article regarding an issue that our Association had only recently written to our own Department of Defence about- annual leave and its carryover when not availed of.

For context, presently, PDFORRA and RACO are engaged in detailed discussions with our Government regarding the implementation of the Working Time Directive and ancillary rights arising from its interpretation, vis a vis, case law emanating from the CJEU.

The detailed and informative nature of the article on the DBwV website means that it can be used directly in correspondence with our Government- as it shows that it is a considered opinion that crosses international boundaries.

The accumulation of snippets of information gathered from a wide variety of sources that have their origin in armed forces representation can serve to advance causes at the national level. This is where good communication tools in the form of the EUROMIL briefing document, and the solidarity shown by the DBvW, through the publication of articles coincide to enhance the rights of members of armed forces across Europe more generally.

These are important tools in our fight for the advancement of rights and conditions for service personnel across Europe

While EUROMIL cannot be a panacea to all our issues at the national level, it can, and has, proven itself as a successful conduit of information emanating at a pan-European level for national associations and unions.

Written by Gerard Guinan, General Secretary PDFORRA and Board Member at EUROMIL.

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