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Staffan Nilsson at a press conference at the European Parliament on the citizen's agora eventEESC President about the cooperation with the European Parliament at the "Citizen's Agora" event

Staffan Nilsson at the European Parliament



EESC: a bridge between Europe and organised civil society

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Staffan Nilsson's Comment (former EESC President 2010-2013) - page 3

Results 21 to 30 out of 60.

When the EU 2020 meets with the real world

23 Feb 2012

By: Staffan Nilsson

EESC president Staffan Nilsson welcomes the president of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso
There is no denying that some of the procedures and mechanisms that come from Brussels are technocratic and out of touch with reality. But it does seem that the most important strategy we have come up with to tackle our gravest ever crisis is indeed a good one, and this gives me cause for optimism. Read More...

Let’s all win! Europe at work

24 Jan 2012

By: Staffan Nilsson

We hosted Nicolai Wammen representing the new Danish Presidency in our plenary session last week, just after Martin Schulz was elected as the new president of the European Parliament. Together they give quite a complementary picture and programme for the EU: we need to keep alive a political vision of a European Union which is democratic, modern and a source of human progress; and we need to nourish it in the short term with a bold, responsible and pragmatic policy programme. We cannot let the crisis take our citizens’ dreams and aspirations away from them. We look ahead and aim to make our children’s lives better than ours in a future Europe, just like our parents wanted, and managed, to do. Read More...

Rio+20 – we need more flesh on the bones

18 Jan 2012

By: Staffan Nilsson

The "zero draft" summarising key issues forming the basis of the Rio+20 final agreement is a good starting point for subsequent negotiations. But it still falls far short of the hopes and ambitions of organised civil society in Europe for what could and should be achieved by the Rio process. We look to the Council, the Commission and the Parliament to be equally resolute in pressing the case for a stronger and more purposeful programme to be created at Rio, and to give our European negotiators a powerful mandate to settle for nothing less. Read More...

How sustainable can we get this year

10 Jan 2012

By: Staffan Nilsson

It has always been my belief that Europe is and should continue to be a driver and leader in sustainability reform at global level. It proved this once again in Durban several weeks ago when it put pressure on large CO2 emitters and succeeded in achieving clear progress in the international climate negotiations. Europe must remain a driving force in climate negotiations at global level. This is one of the reasons why I have made sustainability something of a mantra and a watchword for my presidency at the EESC. It is my deeply held conviction that we must meet our everyday needs with each and every policy without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Once sustainability is mainstreamed into all policies, I hope that it will become second nature for us to be more responsible in how we take care of our planet's nature and resources. After Durban, our next destination is the Earth summit Rio+20. Civil society has taken the road to Rio and the EESC's message is clear: Go Sustainable, be responsible! Read More...

What are we afraid of losing by saving Europe?

14 Dec 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

European map with flags - Copyright : Oleksiy Mark

After the last European Council of 8 and 9 December, the heads of state or government went home to talk to their parliaments. David Cameron told the British House of Commons that he had gone to Brussels with only one intention i.e. "to defend our own interests." But where, I wonder, were our common interests? Where was the European interest, where were the European objectives, the drive to find solutions to overcome the crisis together? The Swedish prime minister will also take the matter to the Swedish parliament, but he was at a loss to know how to proceed. Last week's Council talks and decisions and the national debates that followed have revealed a number of fears that appear to be underpinning the approach of certain Member States to EU governance. What are we actually afraid of losing by saving Europe...?


Robin Hood and EU cohesion policy

1 Dec 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

Last week I took part in an EU Polish Presidency event in Poznan on the strategic choices to make for future EU cohesion policy. It was organised in the margins of the informal meeting of EU Member States' cohesion ministers. I have not heard any Member State asking for less money for the next 2014-2020 cohesion budget. Nor has anyone dared to say anything about the very serious crisis we are currently facing. Why? Because, in my view, even those governments who criticised the large amounts of EU money allocated to cohesion policies have now come to realise that there is no division between economic and social Europe, but rather an interdependence which makes Europe stronger. Read More...

The elephant in the room

21 Nov 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

Participation of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the EC in charge of Competition, Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the EC in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship, Michel Barnier, Member of the EC in charge o
Imagine a world where your broker recommends a stock that empowers disabled people, or a bond that provides a financial return while at the same time supporting the education of under-privileged young people in Europe! Last Friday, social business was taken up jointly by Commissioners Barnier, Andor and Tajani at a high-level event to promote the Commission's recent policy proposals on social entrepreneurship, a field in which the EESC has been an active and consistent contributor. Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for having invented the micro-credit, attended the event, along with many other enthusiastic people working in the field. The Commission's President Mr Barroso together with the other Commissioners present, Mr Yunus and a number of social entrepreneurs had clearly concluded that there was an elephant in Europe's room that no one had really seen before: social enterprises. Read More...

Civil society to make economy meet social needs

16 Nov 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

What we call civil society is a term describing all forces of life that have not been elected but are anyway very much engaged with our societies. At the EESC we have been building up a pragmatically oriented culture of dialogue and compromise between different interests. It is of course not easy to negotiate reforms and make so different cultures and interests converge. Some Member States demonstrate before they negotiate, while some others prefer to reach agreement through conflict. Some just do not want to negotiate at all. In other Member States there are politicians who use the current economic and social turmoil to strengthen their political party interests instead of seeking to solve the crisis. Read More...

When Greek leaders got direct democracy wrong

2 Nov 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

Greece will hold a referendum on the bailout package. It may seem as the best way to do in a democracy, but it shows poor leadership and may only be to reinforce political legitimacy of a prime minister and his government. The proposed referendum goes actually against true democracy because public opinion is under threat of losing welfare benefits. Fear is not a good advisor and direct democracy would only empower fearful people who now need now a self-controlled and firm leader to drive them. Read More...

EU mobility to go green and sustainable

28 Oct 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

Just imagine getting on a train in Brussels and getting off in Porto or in Helsinki, without having to change anywhere. Imagine that this would be a more affordable option than the plane and that it would save you much more time than if you took the car! Well, this is my vision for an EU Single Market transport area in 2050 or even earlier. The EU has given citizens freedom of movement – but now they need the means of transport to move quickly and easily throughout Europe. In the midst of the eurocrisis summit discussions, we met at the EESC for our plenary this week and dared to think beyond the crisis. One of the issues we dealt with was envisaging a functional, sustainable model for European mobility beyond 2020 and up to 2050. Read More...

Results 21 to 30 out of 60.