Cohesion policy is key to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and to reducing disparities in Europe. Its most serious challenge for the foreseeable future, however, is the war in Ukraine, the EESC cautions in a recent opinion. Rapid action is needed to help refugees and ensure the country's European integration.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has urged the EU institutions to adopt zero tolerance towards Member State attitudes and practices that hamper the work of civil society and shrink its space in Europe.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) supports the key messages of the European Commission's Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles in an opinion adopted at its May plenary, and believes that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must provide a strategic framework paving the way for a low-carbon transition in agriculture.
On 24 May in Sarajevo, the EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee held its yearly external meeting - for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic - to meet with civil society organisations (CSOs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and discuss their role and concerns regarding the current situation. The conclusions will be conveyed to the country's political authorities and to the EU institutions.
Since August 2020, the authoritarian regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko has carried out a mass attack on civil society, independent journalists, bloggers and writers in Belarus. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) published an information report on the political and media situation in the country, with a view to making recommendations ....
With the threat of war at its doorstep, the Schengen area should be further strengthened through better police and judicial cooperation, with its internal borders kept open
The EESC president
The members of the European Economic and Social Committee condemn the unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Government and express their solidarity with the Ukrainian people, calling for firm actions at both EU and national level in a spirit of unity at this dramatic time.
Ten years ago, the first Regulation on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entered into application, launching a new era in the history of citizens’ participation. The 2022 edition of ECI Day will mark a special anniversary of this unique cross-border instrument.
Opinions in the spotlight
European Union statistics clearly show the enormous amounts of packaging materials currently used for the safety, hygiene, transportation, conservation, presentation and application of all kinds of goods – be they for industrial purposes, construction work, communication systems or individual consumption. Most of them are of carbonic or metallic origin, which are limited resources. A largely predominant part of the waste of these packaging materials can, and mostly do, have a negative environmental impact and may seriously endanger human health as well as animal and plant well-being.
The Communication on 8th Report presents the main changes in territorial disparities over the past decade and how policies have affected these disparities. It highlights the potential of the green and digital transitions as new drivers of EU growth, but argues that without appropriate policy action new economic, social and territorial disparities may appear.
The EESC considers that it is necessary to add new own resources to cover the debt repayment resulting from borrowing under the NextGenerationEU initiative without jeopardising the budgets of other EU programmes and instruments, or substantially increasing the Gross National Income (GNI)-based resource contribution.
The EESC considers that engaging in dialogue with civil society and social partners constitutes an effective way for policy-makers to understand the varying needs of people belonging to different social groups. There can be no room for repression of social dialogue and civil society dialogue in the EU. Consultation processes should also be easy to find and to access.
COVID-19 has shown how interconnected the world is. As part of global recovery, the EU wants to redesign how we connect the world to build forward better. The European model is about investing in both hard and soft infrastructure, in sustainable investments in digital, climate and energy, transport, health, education and research, as well as in an enabling environment guaranteeing a level-playing field.
The EESC highly appreciates the first activation of the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The current activation of the Directive could well be used to develop solidarity mechanisms among the Member States. It strongly supports an urgent need for effective, genuine, humane – and humanitarian – common European regulations on migration, asylum and security cooperation in an open, but equally secure Schengen area, in full accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Through this Opinion, the EESC supports the proposal by the European Commission to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech. It considers that the criteria set out in Article 83(1) of the TFEU for such an extension (significant developments in the area, a cross-border dimension, the need to act on a common basis) are met.