514e Plenary Session, with the following debates :
The 2nd meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform took place on 11 February 2016 in EESC premises in Brussels. During the meeting, a debate was held assessing the state of play in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and two reports, prepared by both sides, were discussed and adopted – on energy policy and on the rule of law, with a focus on fight against corruption. A Joint Declaration was adopted at the end of the meeting to be forwarded to the EU-Ukraine Association Council, the Association Committee, the Parliamentary Association Committee and other relevant bodies both in Ukraine as well as in the EU.
For the 2nd time, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Serbia held the Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). The JCC is a civil society platform established between the EESC and Serbian civil society. It complements the EU institutional framework related to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia, with a civil society point of view. This joint institution allows civil society organisations on both sides to monitor the country's accession negotiations. It is also a platform to discuss issues of common interest and to inform the public at large of the challenges ahead during the accession period.
The Workers' Group organised an extraordinary meeting to discuss its political priorities and to take stock of the ongoing legislative and political work in the European institutions.
On 28 January 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in Vilnius to discover some of the very inspiring smart city initiatives that have been implemented there.
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is the country's administrative, cultural and economic centre. The city is home to major companies and key financial institutions and brings together strong business and academic potential in such high technology areas as biotechnology, laser technology, information technology and telecommunications, semi-conductor electronics and precision mechanics.
The delegation had the opportunity to make a technical visit to discover "M.parking", a mobile parking app for paying city parking fees and avoiding the hassle of finding a parking meter, and the "M.ticket" mobile ticketing system for purchasing public transport tickets, planning journeys and accessing live timetables.
The European Commission released in December 2015 the new version of the circular economy package. Its aim is to help the European economy move from linear to circular, more resource-efficient patterns, by ensuring that less resources are extracted from our natural environment and less waste is produced at the end of the product lifecycle. The package focuses on better design of products, improved waste management and recycling performance of EU Member States and the growth and job creation potential of the circular economy. It includes an Action Plan with a specific timeline up until 2017 on production aspects as well as a series of modifications to the waste legislation.
Representatives of the European and Georgian Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs), set up under the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia, held their first joint meeting in Tbilisi on 26 January 2016. The participants expressed their commitment to fulfil the mandate foreseen in the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the Association Agreement, namely to monitor the implementation of the Chapter and to provide advice to the Parties to the Agreement.
With tens of millions of people already displaced, and 250 million to one billion people expected to be displaced by climate change by 2050, citizens and present and future policy makers need to be informed about the causes and consequences of climate migration. Both the United Nations and the recent Paris Agreement recognize the urgency of this problem and call for awareness and appropriate action. We young Europeans share this sense of urgency, and therefore we organize the conference 'The challenge of Climate Migration: a EU perspective'.
Wednesday 20 January at 3 p.m. - Debate on COP 21: taking stock and looking ahead
Thursday 21 January 2016 at 9.30 a.m. - Debate on The role of organised civil society in democratic transition processes: Tunisia, a case study,
with the Tunisian Quartet, winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize:
- Kacem Afaya, Deputy Secretary-General of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT)
- Ahmed ben Tahar Galai, vice-president of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH)
- Slim Ghorbel, member of the board of the Tunisian Industrial, Commercial and Handicrafts Union (UTICA)
The conference aimed to highlight work undertaken by the EESC and the GO4 projects’ Consortiums and stimulate debate between representatives of the main stakeholder groups involved in research and innovation. The interplay between RRI and Commissioner Carlos Moedas’ key priorities of “Open Innovation, Open Science and Openness to the World”, has be addressed. RRI also has contributions to make to the current European Commission’s 10 high-level priorities (from a new boost for jobs, to democratic governance).
The Go4 projects were ready to present their findings, conceptual developments, concrete messages and policy recommendations to contribute to the development of evidence-based research policy in Europe and its member states. By highlighting current practice and factors that influence the success of RRI, the conference has provided insights into good practice that can be the basis of future policy.