On 15 December, the president of the Committee took part in the European Parliament Conference of Committee Chairs held in Strasbourg.
He gave a long speech, after which he responded to questions and comments from six parliamentary committee chairs. The speakers, who demonstrated a very good knowledge of the situation, welcomed the prospect of cooperating with the Committee.
After congratulating the Parliament for awarding the Sakharov Prize to the wife of Raif Badawi, the Committee president set out, amongst other things, the EESC's positions on migration and asylum, stressing the need for integration and the importance of local authorities and civil society. With reference to sustainable development and climate change, he spoke about the need for a new governance model in order to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and the Paris Protocol. With regard to the new neighbourhood policy, he argued that whilst the stability and security of the countries in question are a priority, the emphasis on these two factors should not lead to the neglect of social and economic rights, participatory democracy and human rights more generally.
Mr Dassis also stressed the need to further deepen the Economic and Monetary Union, which should be “parlamentarised” and listen more to civil society. He called for interinstitutional cooperation to ensure that the economic recovery is accompanied by a social recovery and, in particular, called for the establishment of a social protocol guaranteeing high social standards and enabling our social systems to be levelled upwards, as part of a “European pillar of social rights”. He also alluded to the need to add a social dimension to the digital agenda, given the wide-ranging impact that digitisation could potentially have on work and employment.
Mr Dassis concluded by drawing attention to the willingness of the Committee – with its extensive network of civil society organisations – to be involved in evaluating EU policies and legislation. He also stressed that the Parliament and the EESC constitute the EU's “democratic core” and that cooperation between them is therefore all the more crucial in the context of a deepening of the “Community method”, which would provide more scope for participatory democracy and more democracy in general.