During the first “Central and Eastern European Social and Environmental Forum", which took place on the Campus of the University of Vienna from 2-5 May 2013, about 150 participants from 13 countries discussed themes like the actual social, economic and political crisis in Europe and above all the precarious conditions people are living in Eastern Europe.
The degrading situation of women and the international rise of the far right are seen as a consequence of the on-going neoliberal offensive. Particularly interesting was the encounter with members of the "Refugee-camp Vienna" who asked how their activity can be supported in Eastern European countries. In the same line, on Saturday, May 4th, there was an Open-Air-Action under the title: "Solidarity with the resistance in Greece" and "Freedom for Alexej Gaskarov" (who was imprisoned in Russia for political reasons).
Finally a common action plan between "East" und "West" was elaborated by the different social networks (see the final declaration), where the participants came to the conclusion that a permanent cooperation is necessary by strengthening the existing or creating new forms of organisation. Themes like "How to counteract racism and sexism", "Struggle against poverty" and "Freedom for Migration" are possible crystallisation points for future international cooperation and solidarity.
A second forum is planned for 2014- in a city in Central-Eastern Europe (probably Poland or Hungary).
Though the Social Forum was preceded by 3 international preparatory meetings (Vienna, Budapest and Tunis - during the World Social Forum) the number of participants was lower than expected. This was mainly due to technical and financial reasons, like visa regulations for Eastern Europeans. Only few organisations like TRIALOG, Transform, the Green Party Austria and Volkshilfe provided financial support to the forum.
More Information (in German) and the documentation (in English) here.
Contact Person: Dr. Leo Gabriel, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the photo: Leo Gabriel and participants of the Central and Eastern European Social Forum.
Information provided by Hermann Dworczak (member of the preparatory group of the Forum)