Central and Eastern Europe branch
Branch area: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazahkstan, Kosovo, Kyrghyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
Meetings: Monthly, every third Tuesday 19.30 CET/CEST
The Central and Eastern Europe branch was established in early 2018 and is one of the geographically broadest in LI, reaching from Austria to the Pacific coast in Siberia and from Estonia to Turkey. We have welcomed Labour International members from neighbouring regions where there are not yet enough Labour members to start a separate branch.
Most of our countries have fragile and unconsolidated democracies and our zoom meetings usually start with a round-up of brief situation reports on our various countries. We are all passionately interested in UK politics and many of our members campaigned in December 2019, either returning to the UK or phoning in to UK radio programmes (where being in a foreign country can help you get on air).
But we are also very involved in the troubled politics where we live, where LGBT+ and other rights are often under permanent threat and trade unions do little to protect workers’ rights. We seek to form links with local groups who share the Labour Party’s values. Sometimes relationships with the ‘official’ Labour sister party are hard to forge; but in some countries it works well.
Our aim is not just to act as committed Labour Party members, just as we would in the UK, but also to serve as a resource for explaining to the rest of the party what is happening on the ground in a complex part of the world. We are in a unique position to explain the complexities of political life in the ‘new Europe’. A lot of the challenges faced by people locally would be easier to overcome if there was a better understanding of the risks and opportunities in the world outside.