The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will hold its next plenary session on 16 and 17 January. The session will include an assessment of the Cyprus presidency by Andreas Mavroyiannis, Cypriot Deputy Minister for European Affairs, on 16 January, 3pm, and a debate with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, on the current and future direction of the European Council as regards the European political and institutional situation, on 17 January, 10am.
The EESC plenary session will be webstreamed online:
Opinions to be discussed and voted on at the plenary session include:
Concerned with growing maritime piracy, the EESC is expected to call for a holistic coordinated approach ashore and at sea to combat the phenomenon. In its opinion the Committee is likely to call for better tracking of piracy-related financial flows and the setting up of an EU blacklist of institutions involved in piracy money laundering.
In an opinion requested by the European Commission, the Committee will set out its vision for boosting economic growth through cloud computing. Putting forward a different and complementary blueprint to that of the Commission, the EESC is likely to call for the creation of European providers of cloud computing infrastructure. It is also expected to criticise the Commission for overestimating cloud computing's job creation potential and paying no heed to the social effects of "cloudification".
The optimistic tone the Commission strikes in its Communication regarding the implementation of the Single Market feels inappropriate. In its opinion the EESC is expected to express the view that the Commission has paid too little attention to the unintended negative side-effects of the Single Market and needs to demonstrate a more realistic approach.
In an own-initiative opinion, the Committee sets out its position on the issue of highly gifted people. At a time of economic crisis, Europe cannot afford to waste its human capital, especially the best part of it. The Committee will make a number of proposals – in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy – to improve educational care for gifted children and young people in order to enhance knowledge and prevent brain drain. Proposals include greater attention to creativity and innovation.
The EESC has always paid great attention to gender equality in all areas of its work. In an opinion to be adopted at the January plenary session, it will address the lack of attention to this issue in the Europe 2020 strategy. The EESC stresses the importance of synergies between this strategy and the Strategy for Equality in the Commission's 2010-2015 work programme. The opinion argues that shortcomings on this front can and should be mitigated by intervening in the National Reform Programmes and systematically incorporating the gender dimension into the European semester.
Having been consulted by the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EESC considers that the objectives for the renewed EU-Pacific development partnership are ambitious and far-reaching. However, the implementing arrangements, which mainly concern environmental protection and biodiversity conservation, should be more specific. The EESC also believes that unqualified respect for rights and stable democracy are essential to a country's economic development, and draws attention to the regrettable situation in Fiji in terms of fundamental rights. As far as trade negotiations are concerned, the Committee recommends going beyond bilateral agreements and aiming for a regional agreement.
For a full agenda, click here.
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