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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



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Staffan Nilsson's Comment (former EESC President 2010-2013) - page 4

Results 31 to 40 out of 60.

Europe - more and less?

25 Oct 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

On the margins of the European summit on Sunday 23 October, David Cameron declared that it was in United Kingdom's interest that the eurozone countries sort out their problems, but that it would become dangerous if they started to take decisions on issues, such as financial services, that were vital to other Single Market countries and the Single Market as a whole. What shocks me is the incredible inconsistency of these leading players, who appear to be either unaware of or unwilling to recognise the huge contradiction in what they are saying. They want more Europe - with further development and strengthening of the internal market, business exchanges and non-eurozone countries being involved in decisions concerning the eurozone - and, at the same time, less Europe - with cuts in the budget, when what we need to overcome the crisis is a stronger cohesion policy, more funds to boost Europe's competitiveness and a referral to enter the euro zone. Read More...

Go East with civil society

14 Oct 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

Recently I have been involved in a whole series of activities related to our partnership with the eastern countries. I am thinking of European Council president Van Rompuy's invitation to the EESC, one voice of organized civil society in the EU, to participate in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit, which I greatly appreciate. If the EU is ever accused of not "walking the talk", then this is one case when its critics are wrong. For me this was indeed good practice of civil society involvement at the highest political level possible. European Commissioner Füle's constant attention to our recommendations on ways to strengthen civil society in our eastern neighbouring countries is further proof that, without social partners and civil society organisations on board, our relations and work with the EU's eastern neighbours would go no further. Read More...

Europe is not the cause of all your woes

4 Oct 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

Staffan Nilsson and José Manuel Barroso
Members of the European Parliament meeting last week in Strasbourg gave a rousing reception to José Manuel Barroso's State of the Union address. That this should happen was by no means a foregone conclusion. For me, it is a signal. The elected representatives of 500 million Europeans express what the public is thinking, and public opinion – frequently based on poor or indeed erroneous information – is inclined to be inward-looking. The knee-jerk reaction tends to be protectionist and Eurosceptic. In essence, Mr Barroso was saying: No, Europe is not the cause of all your woes. Read More...
All around me I read about, see and feel that Europeans are increasingly living in fear, humiliation and hopelessness. Humiliation and fear are feelings that people have always lived with, but rarely have they given up hope, which has now vanished from our mythical Pandora's box. Last Friday in Paris, we celebrated 50 years of the Council of Europe's Social Charter and, while acknowledging the achievements of the EU's Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, we wondered what the next step might be. The seminar discussions left me with the impression that when everything appears lost amid the financial turmoil, people's social rights are all they have left. These rights serve to stabilise society in the same way that the motion of Earth's tectonic plates prevents the planet from imploding. Read More...

More Europe for energy too

15 Sep 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

wind turbine in green field
We recently kicked off the debate on a European Energy Community based on the ambitious policy proposal made by the think tank Notre Europe. Last week European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek, a committed ambassador of this proposal, came to present it to the EESC members in the TEN section concerned with energy. After listening to Jerzy Buzek I can only agree with him and say that we need more Europe and strong political leadership on energy issues too, and not only on the Euro crisis. The current situation is not sustainable: energy prices are too volatile; potential crises could dangerously impact energy supplies; coordination and transparency within the EU are insufficient; and the investments needed are so considerable that no company or government alone can pay for them. Read More...

Our society's glue – volunteering

13 Sep 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

About a thousand young volunteers brought a breath of fresh air to the EU institutions' headquarters during the second half of last week. They pumped in some fresh, young and optimistic European oxygen at this time when we're feeling almost suffocated by the Euro crisis. We don’t know exactly how much the 100 million volunteers in the EU contribute to the EU economies. In Sweden alone, volunteering reaches anything from 3 to 5 per cent of GDP. It should not replace the state's responsibilities, of course. The 2011 European Year of Volunteering is the perfect time to start building awareness and recognition about volunteering, and to start to measure values other than economic ones. The EYV 2011 could be the tipping point for the market recognition of social economy players. Read More...
This summer we called for nominations for the EESC 2011 Civil Society Prize. This year we want to reward civil society initiatives which serve EU values such as diversity, tolerance, solidarity and integration, by seeking to diminish and prevent the societal effects of xenophobia and xenophobic nationalism, which are on the rise in Europe. Politicians need to avoid making xenophobic, populist and also Euro-sceptic speeches and promises. Those affected by the crisis in particular may feel resentment towards politicians in general, towards a Europe they perceive as remote and demanding, and towards immigrants. Why this resurgence of populist nationalism and xenophobia? What do we need to counteract all this? Read More...

What political resolve can do for Europe

22 Jul 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

The decisions taken on 21 July for rescuing Greece and other Eurozone countries are not bad news and they are not good news either. What was absolutely needed has been done, at a time of high risk for Greece and for the Eurozone. It is not bad news because the Greek state will benefit from lower interest rates thanks to the help of other Member States. As a consequence, this will reduce the weight of the burden on the Greek people's shoulders. This is solidarity at work for a safer Eurozone. It is not good news because the Greeks will have to make huge efforts to reduce the debt. I believe in their resilience to do so. Still, we need to be aware that the Greek people will suffer more than others. The poor and the most vulnerable, and young people, could be the ones to pay the price. Read More...
Fisheries have been no exception in these times of EU reforms. Today the Council has discussed the European Commission's proposal on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). I believe that Commissioner Damanaki's plan for the new policy is a good one, since we need serious changes today in order to ensure sustainable fishing communities in the long term. The proposal is not enough, however. While we need to plan for the long term, some measures need to be implemented urgently. Is the fisheries industry not one area in which austerity measures would help the sector to become more economically healthy and sustainable? If we want yields to rise again and future generations to have fish on their plates, we need to stop overfishing now and allow marine biological resources to recover. Sharing this “burden” amongst the fishermen and coastal communities of Europe is going to be a huge task which will require strong political leadership. And something more: fishermen and all related industries must be involved in all reforms. Read More...

Poland: a tonic for Europe

15 Jul 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

The newly-inaugurated Polish Presidency will act as a tonic for Europe. For two main reasons: first, with its ambitious programme based on pro-European values, Poland is promoting greater EU integration in the interests of growth, especially in the current euro crisis; second, the strong commitment of the Polish government shows that "new Europe" is becoming an old-fashioned label for some of the Member States that joined the EU in 2004. Read More...

Results 31 to 40 out of 60.