The European Economic and Social Committee has adopted an opinion on the Mid-term review of the multiannual financial framework 2021-27 proposed by the Commission last June. The Committee feels that the proposal lacks the ambition to respond properly to Europe's key challenges. Short-term solutions are needed to address its shortcomings. The debate on the new MFF should start soon.
On 20 September 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a debate highlighting the achievements of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) "Fur Free Europe". At its core, the initiative stands as a resounding call for a fur-free continent, pushing for a total ban on fur farming and on the sale of fur products within European markets.
581st plenary session with the following guests: Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration, and Margarida Marques, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgets, Elise Fleury, ECI organiser, Campaign Lead, Eurogroup for Animals, and Tilly Metz, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the subcommittee on Public Health - Web streaming
On 19 September, the EESC decided to involve representatives from the civil society of EU candidate countries in the advisory work of the Committee by appointing the "Enlargement Candidate Members (ECMs)". The EESC is now the first EU institution to take such an initiative and open its doors to the candidate countries, facilitating their progressive and concrete integration into the EU. The Members will participate in the preparation of the EESC opinions and Plenary meetings, that focus on enlargement.
As the President of the EESC, I warmly welcome the 2023 State of the Union Address of President Ursula von der Leyen. The speech passed on a strong message of a united Europe that needs to answer the call of history.
In this issue:
- Stop ageism: EESC urges EU and Member States to create new strategy for older persons
- EESC puts water on the EU agenda with first concrete Blue Deal proposals
- Georgia – Another front for Russia
- EU Organic Awards 2023: EESC announces finalists
- Influencer advertising: EESC proposes EU regulation to draw red line
The EESC president
Water is a vital but an increasingly scarce resource. As the global population grows, so does the demand for water. The problem is global, but also concerns our continent: in summer 2022 Europe saw the most severe droughts in 500 years. Almost two thirds of European citizens consider water quality and/or quantity in their country to be a serious problem. Climate change will further affect the availability, quality and quantity of water. …
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. The deadline for submitting applications is 30 September 2023, 10 a.m. (CEST).
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