Europeans need to know how EU decisions affect their lives if campaigns to boost voter turnout are to have any real effect. Messages need to be tailored to each EU country and barriers preventing young people from entering politics need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Marking the International Day for the elimination of violence against women on 25 November, EESC member José Antonio Moreno Díaz, rapporteur for the opinion SOC/726 Combatting violence against women, believes that violence against women and girls is a tragedy that is sweeping Europe.
On 21 November, the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship held a debate on the issue of violence against women and girls, calling for the local, national, regional and EU level to join forces. Despite years of procrastination, the Commission's proposal to combat violence against women was still watered down by the Council as the majority of Member States are not in favour of including consent-based rape legislation in the directive.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is contributing to the strategic debate on energy infrastructure with a position that is clear and leaves no doubt: discussions must revolve around citizens if we really want them to be a lever for the green and energy transition and to ensure an economic and social balance.
The EESC president
The 14th EESC civil society prize will reward effective, innovative and creative initiatives carried out on the territory of the EU which support people with mental health conditions and promote an environment fostering mental well-being on an individual or collective basis.
As in the previous year, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is supporting the initiative "European Gender Equality Week: 23-29 October 2023" organised by the European Parliament and chaired by the Vice-President Evelyn Regner. The EESC has planned a series of thematic debates integrated into the work of its sections to underpin the gender equality as a fundamental principle for social justice, economic development, and the overall well-being of society.
Opinions in the spotlight
The Green Deal Industrial Plan aims to enhance the competitiveness of Europe's net-zero industry and support the fast transition to climate neutrality.
The EESC opinion, that covers the Commission proposal and the request from the Spanish Presidency of the Council, endorses the reform. However, it notes the need to strike a balance between flexibility and predictability in its implementation, as well as a balanced and proportional public interest assessment to avoid damaging the interest of smaller and local entities.
In this opinion, the EESC: encourages reforming EU health systems for mental health by focusing on prevention, early detection, and community-based care; recommends that the EU Comprehensive Plan on Mental Health is swiftly transposed in an EU Mental Health Strategy which has a timeframe, funding defined responsibilities and progress indicators.
The exploratory opinion at the request of the Spanish Presidency will look into advertising through influencers and its impact on consumers. Influencers as content creators with large numbers of followers on social networks have a crucial impact on consumer behaviour and, inter alia, on consumer decisions.
The European Commission presented its Critical Raw Materials Act in the beginning of March. The package of legislative and non-legislative measures is aimed at diversifying the supply of the materials needed to achieve the green and digital transition.
In the opinion, the EESC: calls for a paradigm shift in the treatment of older people, moving from a care-based approach to empowering them and eliminating ageist attitudes; urges the EU to adopt a comprehensive European strategy for older persons, safeguarding their rights and promoting their full participation in society and the economy (the strategy should be accompanied by a guarantee for older persons and encompass various areas such as equality, non-discrimination, gender, rig