At the inaugural meeting in Kiev, on 16 and 17 April, the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform was established following a lengthy preparatory process. High-level representatives from the Ukrainian government, together with the EU Ambassador to Ukraine, were present and pointed to the importance of taking into account the voice of civil society in implementing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
This January 27th is the international Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. On this occasion the European Economic and Social Committee, in cooperation with the European Parliament, CEJI-A Jewish contribution to an Inclusive Europe and EJCC-The European Jewish Community Centre, has organized an event entitled "Learning from the past, Learning for the Future". Among the participants, Martin Gray, 92 years old Holocaust survivor, and Simon Gronowski, 83 years old Holocaust survivor.
Speech of Rabbi Avi Tawill, EJCC President
Speech of H. Malosse, EESC President
Speech of Antonio Tajani, EP Vice-President
Speech of CoR President Michel Lebrun
Speech of Baron Alain Philippson, CEJI President
An ECO delegation meets Pier Carlo Padoan in the margins of the Eurogroup meeting
On 26 January 2015, the EESC's ECO section president Joost van Iersel, together with the section vice-president Carmelo Cedrone, visited the Italian delegation at the Council of the EU and met the finance minister of Italy Pier Carlo Padoan in the margins of the Eurogroup meeting. The two EESC members had a productive exchange of views with the minister and his senior advisers on the economic situation in Europe and the prospects for further integration in the euro area.
Mr van Iersel and Mr Cedrone presented the EESC own-initiative opinion on "Completing EMU" and the follow-up work that had been done since its adoption in July 2014, including the recent meetings with Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem and finance ministry officials from a number of euro area Member States. Mr Padoan and his advisers congratulated the EESC on that initiative and stressed that the Italian government supported the idea of further integration in the euro area which would bring back growth and trust in the European project. They further highlighted that part of the discussions at the Eurogroup had been dedicated precisely to the issue of supporting growth, for which the ECB's accommodative monetary policy stance had to be complemented by growth-enhancing structural reforms coordinated at European level.
A delegation of the EESC's ECO section meets the Eurogroup president in The Hague
On 19 January 2015, a delegation of the EESC's Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO), met Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Eurogroup and Minister of Finance of the Netherlands, to discuss key issues related to the euro area economic situation and governance mechanisms, as well as the latest Commission initiatives in this field. The EESC delegation was composed of Joost van Iersel, President of the ECO section, together with Carmelo Cedrone and Michael Smyth, rapporteurs for numerous EESC opinions related to EMU and the financing of the European economy.
This morning, the EESC President spoke about the key challenges for 2015 on France 24's "Talking Europe" show. He strongly condemned the recent attacks in Paris and called for unity and solidarity in these troubled times. He also underlined that "95% of the victims of radical Islamism in the world are Muslims" and called for a united Europe to fight this pledge internally and externally in a coordinated way. "Protection is what citizens expect from a political power. It is up to the EU to prove its ability to deliver that protection".
On 9 January, the European Year for Development is launched officially in Riga at the start of the Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union. European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the Latvian Prime Minister, Laimdota Straujuma, and EESC President, Henri Malosse, are among the speakers at the opening.
The EESC has played an influential role in establishing 2015 as the official European Year for Development (EYD2015). ...
It is with great dismay that I learned of the terrorist attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. As President of the European Economic and Social Committee, I strongly condemn this despicable act. It is an odious and unjustifiable attack against one of the fundamental values of the European Union: freedom of expression. It is a crime against humanity.
On behalf of the EESC, I express my condolences to the victims, journalists, employees of the newspaper and police officers as well as their families. My thoughts go also to managers and employees of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo and to the entire community of journalists.
This attack occurs in a tense context when the entire Muslim community is often blamed. In these circumstances, in order to preserve cohesion, it is crucial to avoid any form of stereotyping. The vast majority of Muslims also reject this confusion as they are the main victims of fundamentalists.
Europeans must fight TOGETHER against the terrorist threat. They want the EU to be able to protect them.
We have to commit TOGETHER for a stronger and more coherent development policy to fight all over the world, against poverty and lack of development that are the roots of extremism and terrorism. In the European Union, we must strengthen our efforts for integration and cohesion tools. To be effective, these tools have to be supported and implemented by and with the civil society.
With this year drawing to a close, we reflect on the problems Europeans are currently facing in Europe, including systemic difficulties such as unemployment, dwindling faith in the EU and its institutions and conflicts that are giving rise to forced migration. But the coming of the New Year also brings hope, as 2015 will begin with a new and restructured Commission, a newly formed European Parliament, and a new President of the European Council.
The good news is that the European project is very deeply rooted, being anchored in the hearts and souls of millions of our fellow citizens. But for the European Union to be able to meet people's needs and expectations, we need to see major changes, which must be embarked on without delay.
I am certain that together, we can make the difference.
I wish you very happy holidays and a good start of the New Year, full of joy!
President of the European Economic and Social Committee
The EESC has received EMAS certification for the fourth year in succession. EMAS certification - Environmental Management and Audit Scheme - assesses the environmental impact of the EESC's buildings and members of staff.
On 2 December 2014, the President of the Workers’ Group, Georges Dassis, took part to a live radio debate with Greek MEPs on the fight against corruption in the EU, broadcasted by Skaï Radio (Greece) and Euranet Plus.
This was the title of the 8th Civil Society Media Seminar the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) recently organized in Milan, from 27 to 28 November.