On 23 March 2017, the European Economic and Social Committee together with the Committee of Regions and the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU jointly held a high-level conference on "Improving Regional Air Connectivity for Europe – a Pre-condition for Sustainable Economic Growth". While in major hub airports connectivity is usually dependant mainly on increasing capacity, further development of regional connectivity in the EU depends on a number of factors such as airport infrastructure, airline business models, regulatory and economic frameworks and geography. Conference participants attempted to address these factors and provide concrete solutions to what should be done to improve regional air connectivity in a sustainable manner. This event is part of a series of follow up activities that the EESC has been undertaking in support of the implementation of the Aviation Strategy.
Bringing the EU closer to citizens is a major challenge. Therefore, Group III met in St. Julian's under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the EU on 23 March to discuss the role and capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) to voice citizens' concerns and ensure that they are better supported by public authorities.
The role of business and employers' organisations in Europe, the process of EU accession for the Balkan countries and the place of social dialogue in those countries – these will be the topics discussed at the Balkan Employers Round Table.
It will be a unique opportunity for employers' organisation representatives from the Balkan countries and EU Member States to engage in open discussion, exchange views and network to forge relations for the future.
The event is being held jointly by the Association of Employers of Slovenia and the European Economic and Social Committee's Employers' Group.
How could the Digital Single Market benefit european consumers? This year's theme was a wide-ranging subject covering issues affecting consumers today in a very tangible way. The Committee has recently issued several Opinions and studies covering the digital transformation and how it impacts modes of production and consumption, and its work feeded into the discussions on many relevant topics, such as data sharing, digital inclusion and access to internet for all, artifical intelligence, digital contract rights, unnecessary geo-blocking, digital currencies and fintech, the sharing economy and the Collaborative economy.
During the meeting, the members of the DAG debriefed on the results of the meeting with Colombia and Peru under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title, which took place on 7-8 December in Brussels . The representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented information about the EU relations and cooperation with Colombia and Peru. The Representatives of the DG Trade informed the members of the DAG on recent developments regarding the Trade and Sustainable development chapter as well as on their recent mission to Ecuador. The Group held then an internal debate on the topics to be selected for the next joint meetings, on the state of play of constitution of DAGs in Colombia and Peru and on the rights of indigene communities in Peru.
The social economy is prominent in everyday life and in the productive activity of large regions of the world and makes a decisive contribution to improving the living and working conditions of millions of people. However, the social economy is not specifically recognised as a sector in the EU development cooperation programmes.One of the principal aims of the opinion is that the external dimension of the EU’s programmes and initiatives should establish support measures specifically targeted at boosting businesses and organisations in the social economy.
As part of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, the EESC, together with the Italian Council of Ministers and under the patronage of the Italian Parliament, is organising a conference on Sixty years of the European community — Let's shape the future, on 13 March 2017 at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome.
The aim of the conference is to facilitate a reflection on the future of the EU, particularly with regard to European civil society’s commitment to contribute to pursuing full European integration. This contribution, which has always characterised the EESC’s commitment over these 60 years, is all the more indispensable at a time when the EU must respond to the many crises with cohesive and unified policies.
With a view to taking stock of the Action Plan's implementation, looking at next steps and discussing the goals and practicalities of a European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, the EESC and the European Commission co-organised a conference which took place on 9-10 March in Brussels.
The second meeting of the EU Civil Society Domestic Advisory Group under the EU-Ukraine DCFTA took place on 8 March 2017 at the EESC premises. The meeting was chaired by Ms Isabelle Brose.
The European Migration Forum – the dialogue platform on migration, asylum and migrant integration - met for the third time in March 2017.
Participation in the Forum meeting is by invitation only