Ahead of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Gabriele Bischoff, President of the EESC Workers' Group, has called for the EU to take strong action against human trafficking, in particular to protect children, young people, women and vulnerable people.
"Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery which we cannot tolerate or ignore. It's time for action to deliver on our promises and for action to implement the strategy for the eradication of trafficking in human beings. This strategy cannot be applied without active support from civil society, which often has direct contact with the victims. Victim support associations need financial resources, as do the public services which have to deal with this unacceptable reality".
The 2nd meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform (CSP) focused on the much needed reforms in anti-corruption and energy policy and discussed the state of play in the implementation of the Association Agreement between Europe and Ukraine. The Ukrainian civil society organisations strongly called for a swift implementation of the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), in particular, appealing to the Netherlands to support the Agreement ...
A delegation from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) carried out earlier this week a visit to Bulgaria to hear first-hand from civil society organisations dealing with the migration and refugee situation on the ground. This visit is part of a total of 12 missions organised by the EESC to 11 EU countries plus Turkey, which started with Austria in December 2015 and will finish with the visit to Turkey in February 2016.
The ECO section discusses the Commission's package on Deepening EMU with Valdis Dombrovskis, Roberto Gualtieri and other institutional and civil society representatives
On 26 January 2016, the EESC's Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO) held a thematic debate on the Commission's Deepening EMU package that was presented in October 2015. The package outlines the roadmap and some specific proposals for a stronger and genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In order to gain a complete overview on the current state of EMU and on the future developments, the ECO section invited a number of distinguished speakers to present the perspectives of the European Parliament, the Commission, the financial institutions and the European civil society.
A quantum leap or more of the same medicine: can National Competitiveness Boards foster economic convergence and how? The Belgian experience - Luc Denayer, Central Economic Council, Belgium
Euro Area: Which reforms for better economic governance? - Jeffrey Franks, IMF
The ECB’s role in a balanced policy-mix to sustain European recovery and promote growth in EMU - Frank Moss, ECB
Europe needs the courage to change from carbon-based energy generation
COP21 was a success, as it resulted in an ambitious, universal framework. But for this success to continue, we will need to change the way we organise our energy dependent economies. Civil society can play a key role in bringing about this change. In terms of energy, we need to facilitate decarbonisation. The burden of transition from a carbon dependent society must be shared equally and fairly, and where necessary also accompanied by social plans. The transition will also bring opportunities for the EU economy and we should seize them.
On 14-15 January, four projects funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development held a conference in Brussels, co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee, to present their findings, conceptual developments, concrete messages and policy recommendations on Responsible Research and Innovation.
The results are in. After an impressive 428 applications to take part in Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS) 2016, 33 schools from 28 EU Member States and five candidate countries have been selected to take part. We are thrilled that so many young people have expressed interest in this exciting event, and we can’t wait to meet the winning schools and students in March.
The five winning initiatives present snap-shots of what is being done by thousands of voluntary groups and NGOs across Europe. Each of the projects tackles the 2015 theme “Combating poverty” in its own way and demonstrates that poverty undermines all aspects of well-being in society, including education, long-term health, housing, access to employment and family relationships.
The EESC did not merely come up with the idea of the European Year for Development (EYD) 2015, it has also contributed to its success. Several initiatives designed to reach a wider audience – business groups, trade unions, NGOs – were organized throughout the year to explore how to streamline and coordinate this policy more efficiently and effectively.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to simplify the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Increased transparency and legal certainty should go hand in hand with a reduction in red tape for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations. A simplified CAP needs to be implemented as soon as possible and farmers should be provided with necessary information and education-based support. For the EESC, it is particularly important to look into the consistency of current requirements, including their impact on the environment, food safety, food availability and job creation.
On 15 December 2015, the President of the Committee took part in the European Parliament Conference of Committee Chairs held in Strasbourg.
In his speech, Mr Dassis set out the EESC's positions on migration and asylum, stressing the prominent role of civil society. Turning to sustainable development and climate change, he spoke about the need for a new governance model in order to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and the Paris Protocol.
The EESC president also stressed the need to "parliamentarise" Economic and Monetary Union, which should listen more to civil society, and called for interinstitutional cooperation to introduce a social protocol paving the way for a levelling up of the Member States' social systems.
Lastly, Mr Dassis emphasised that the Parliament and Committee constituted the EU's "democratic core" and that cooperation between them was crucial to strengthening participatory democracy and democracy in general.