In a packed room of +190 participants, the EESC President, Georges Dassis, declared: "Our continent has always needed people from abroad. Europe's reconstruction is greatly due to migrants' contributions. Over the past two years, media have played a big role in our perception of the migration flows. It is thus necessary to mention the benefits that migrants have brought to Europe. Our answer must also...
Applications for the EESC Civil Society Prize hit a new record this year, with 285 projects submitted by the deadline. The largest number of applicants came from Italy, followed by Austria and Germany. The number of entries for the EESC Civil Society Prize has increased steadily from its humble beginnings in 2006, when only 15 projects were entered for prizes totalling EUR 20 000. This year, EUR 50 000 will be awarded to up to 5 winners.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was warmly welcomed to the EESC Plenary by Georges Dassis, President of the EESC, who underlined the strong support of the Committee and its members to Commission President Juncker and emphasized the need for the European Union to be close to its citizens, for citizens and for more solidarity in Europe.
With discussions for TTIP now at a critical point, the EESC has published a new opinion, ‘The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP negotiations’. The own-initiative opinion assesses some key issues of the negotiations and identifies the main considerations for European civil society. This new ...
On 12 September 2016, and after a few years of absence, the EESC has again welcomed some VIP guests, or Very Important Pollinators. Two beehives have benn installed on the 7th floor of the JDE building. This initiative aims to raise awareness about the possibilities of urban beehives, and more globally, the vital importance to our planet of bees and pollinators and the need to halt their dramatic decline in recent years. In addition, any honey produced will be used for tastings by staff and visitors as well as gifts whenever appropriate.
The European Economic and Social Committee Members are organising a series of debates with representatives of civil society on the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The national debates with organised civil society are taking place across Europe between September and October 2016. The debates aim to provide a platform to exchange and gather views on the most urgent social and economic challenges at national and European level, and how a European Pillar of Social Rights could contribute to addressing these.
Wildlife trafficking has become one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world due to strong demand and a low risk of detection. In spite of this, it still gets less attention than other types of crime and far fewer resources are invested in combating it. Therefore, in its opinion adopted at the July plenary, the EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal for an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. This crime is closely connected to other illegal activities of international criminal organisations, including money laundering and corruption. It also has a huge negative impact on the environment (loss of biodiversity, deforestation, potential extinction of several species, fish stock reduction) and health (contagion from new pathogens, infectious diseases).
For nearly two years the large and unprecedented flow of refugees from war-torn or underdeveloped countries to the European Union has heavily impacted Europe's political and social life. Providing food and shelter for the masses of refugees reaching the EU, familiarising them with the new realities and cultural differences as well as supporting them through their integration process was and still is a major challenge which the concerned Member States could only face thanks to the spontaneous and overwhelming support of citizens and civil society in general.
Statement by Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, Vice-President of the EESC, on International Youth Day
Today we celebrate International Youth Day, which recognises the power of youth in transforming the world. First launched in Lisbon in 1998, this year's International Youth Day is dedicated to promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their aim to fight global poverty and promote a sustainable world for all. Our ability to implement the SDGs effectively will determine the future of today's youth.
The Paris Agreement is rightly seen as a milestone in the fight against climate change as it is the first such convention to be legally binding under international law. Europe played no minor role in putting the necessary pressure to clinch this deal. But the 177 signatures of heads of states and governments alone won't be enough. Now it is time for Europe to take the lead again and implementing the necessary policies. This, however, will only be successful with the full involvement of European citizens ....
We have started receiving applications for the 2016 Civil Society Prize, which will reward projects supporting migrants and refugees. We are very happy to have already candidates from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. But we are looking forward to receiving many more from these and other Member States. If you or your organisation are involved in such projects, you can still enter until the 9th of September.
Remember: you can send us your application directly via email. Eligible projects may go from providing first relief to migrants to offering them language lessons, help with administrative procedures or any other actions aiming at their integration. The award consists of 50 000 euros to be shared between up to 5 winners. The prize award ceremony will take place on 15 December, during the EESC plenary session. Interested? Then check the conditions to be eligible and the rules here.