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).
EESC panel at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn
For the first time, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a panel at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum (DW GMF) from 13 to 15 June in Bonn which attracts around 2000 attendees each year, amongst which 600 journalists from all over the world. The panel "Migration, a story of two worlds, featured Suhrab Balkhi and Prince Wale Soniyiki, two refugees from Afghanistan and Nigeria respectively; Mona Hemmer, a civil society representative from Finland, whose village hosted 100 refugees and Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, the chief-editor of the Austrian newspaper Der Standard. Michael Meyer, former award-winning correspondent for Newsweek, communication director for Ban Ki-mon and founding dean of the AKU graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi moderated the panel on 15 June.
The EESC organised a conference in cooperation with the future Slovak Presidency of the EU Council and the active participation of the Slovak EESC Members, in Bratislava on 14th June 2016. Held in the context of a meeting of the EESC bureau, the conference aimed to launch a close cooperation between the EESC and the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. The topic "Impact of technological change on the social security system and labour law" was requested by the Presidency, indicating its focus, among others, on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Slovak Minister, Ján Richter said ...
On Friday 10 June, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Georges Dassis, has been received by the French President at the Élysée Palace. Along with nine other signatories including fellow EESC Member from the Employers' Group, Philippe de Buck, he has promoted the Appeal of 9 May for a European renaissance.
The functional economy and how it works in practice was discussed at a public hearing, organised on the 8th June by the European Economic and Social Committee. The focus is on the function of the product rather than on the product itself - the functional economy considers how the product can be used most efficiently. "The concept of the functional economy has to be well-defined. We also have to explore the effect it will have on the creation of jobs and the advantages of a long lasting product which can be used by more than one consumer", said the EESC Rapporteur Thierry Libaert in his opening speech.
The Exploratory opinion on "More sustainable food systems" (Rapporteur: Mindaugas Maciulevičius), requested by the Netherlands presidency of the EU, was adopted by the EESC at its plenary session on 26 May 2016. The opinion calls for the development of a comprehensive food policy in the EU and for an ...
President Dassis calls for more commitment in Europe
"The most remarkable aspect of this new global agenda is that in a world where tensions, national egotism and conflict are on the rise, world leaders have reached agreement on a common vision and a roadmap that addresses the major global challenges of our times: ending poverty and ensure the well-being and respect for human rights, peace and the protection of our planet", said President Georges Dassis at the "How to make SDGs Europe's business" conference - a high-level discussion on the implementation of the UN2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development organised by the EESC in collaboration with the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the Sustainable Development Goals Charter and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network from 30th to 31st May in the EESC premises in Brussels.
The exploratory opinion on the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Program (REFIT) (Rapporteur: Mr. Denis Meynent), was adopted by the EESC at its plenary on 26 May 2016. This opinion follows a direct request from the First Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Timmermans, as the EESC is considered to be well-placed to assess the costs and benefits of the current rules for stakeholders and to suggest REFIT priorities - in particular in the ...
The European Economic and Social Committee calls for stakeholder platforms, better informed consumers and stronger social dialogue to ensure decent work in global supply chains.
In its opinion The impact of the conclusions of COP 21 on European transport policy the European Economic and Social Committee considers that, with regard to transport, the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% compared to 1990 levels is very ambitious and requires major efforts. However, the objective can still be considered relevant and in line with the EU's general objective under COP 21, provided the associated actions and initiatives are implemented urgently, with the necessary determination and as soon as possible.
Urgent overhaul is needed to ensure that the EU’s
European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is once again an effective tool for cross-border cooperation
The ENP – which was launched in 2004 to build on common interests and values with the EU’s southern and eastern neighbours and promote political and economic cooperation – has been overtaken by current events. The policy’s "one-size-fits-all" approach has not been able to account for or deal with ongoing fragmentation in both regions, with Da’esh (ISIS) destabilising the southern neighbourhood through terror, while war and Russian diplomatic and military efforts directly target the eastern partnership.