60 years after the Treaty of Rome, the European Union is facing a completely changed world compared to its beginnings in 1957. In these six decades we have seen the European Common Market of six countries grow into a European Union of 28. The EU has secured peace and prosperity. The European Social and Economic Model is a role model for many other countries around the world. However, some recent challenges, such the financial and economic crisis, or the migration issue, have taken their toll, and European states which originally wanted to move closer together are rather drifting apart.

This must be seen in conjunction with globalisation: globalisation permeates all policy areas, as does communication. Globalisation is in fact driven by communication and communication technologies. The internationalisation of media, a global media market dominated by only a few but huge TNC (technology, computing, and telecommunications) networking centres, the use of algorithms and social media, have turned the world upside down. 

Simultaneous interpreting will be provided in EN, ES and FR

Thursday, 23 November 2017

09.30 – 10.15 a.m.      Registration & Welcome Coffee

10.15 – 11.15 a.m.  Opening session

Chair: Gonçalo Lobo-Xavier, EESC Vice President


  • Bernardo Aguilera Sánchez-Garrido, Vice President of the Spanish ESC
  • Jorge García Castaño, City Councillor of the City of Madrid

Key note and opening:

  • Marcial Marín Hellín, Secretary of State for Education, Vocational Training and Universities

11.15 a.m. – 12.45 p.m. Panel I: Populism – How should civil society meet the challenge of populism?

Moderated by:

  • Gabriele Bischoff, EESC Member & Group President, Workers Group

This panel will look at both populism in the sense of support for the concerns of ordinary people and in the sense of demagogy. It will elaborate on the contrast between "the people" and "the elites" in politics and the role civil society can play in a changing political landscape. Panellists will also discuss populism in the context of the economic and social impact of globalisation. How to avoid possible rifts in European societies - between different social groups, but also between ordinary people and the elites.


  • Claudia Chwalisz, Consultant and Crook Public Service Fellow Expert at the University of Sheffield
  • Albert Garrido, Spanish journalist and professor at University at Pompeu Fabra and University Internacional de Barcelona
  • Michael Hartmann, German sociologist and political scientist
  • Fernando Vallespín Oña, Spanish professor and political scientist

12.45 – 2.15 p.m. Lunch

2.15 –2.45 p.m. Opening session

Chair: Gonçalo Lobo-Xavier, EESC Vice President

  • Jordi García Viña, Director for Labour Relations of the Spanish Confederation of Employers' Organisations (CEOE)
  • Cristina Antoñanzas Peñalva, Vice-Secretary General, General Union of Workers
  • Empar Pablo Martínez, Secretary of Communication, Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions

Introduction to the panel:

  • Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, EESC Vice President

2.45 – 4.15 p.m. Panel II: Fake news – the new anti-media weapon?

Moderated by:

  • Violeta Jelić, EESC Member & Group Vice-president, Employers Group

"Alternative facts" seems to be the new word for lies and as such is becoming socially acceptable. With the help of social media practically every user can be a "journalist" and in the quasi absence of a code of ethics nearly any information can be spread worldwide. This panel will look at the trend for using the web to spread fake news and what means could help to counteract this development. Does quality journalism still have a chance and how can it be supported?
The debate will also focus on filter bubbles and bubble communication, their impact on people's opinion making, but also on the possibilities for civil society to use filter bubbles for their own interests.


  • Stamos Archontis, Ellinikahoaxes, Greece
  • Izabella Cooper, Spokesperson, FRONTEX, Warsaw
  • Tabea Wilke, Digital Strategic Communication, Germany
  • Giovanni Zagni, Senior analyst at Pagella Politica, Italy

4.15 – 4.30 p.m. Wrap-up of the day

  • Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, EESC Vice President

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.         Guided tour "The Madrid of the Austrians/the Habsburgs"

Plaza de la Villa, followed by a reception at the kind invitation of the Mayor of Madrid, Mrs Manuela CARMENA

8.00 p.m. Networking dinner

Novotel Madrid Center, Calle de O'Donnell 53, 28009 Madrid

Friday, 24 November 2017

10 – 11 a.m.    Opening session

Chair: Gonçalo Lobo-Xavier, EESC Vice President

  • Carmen Comos Tovar,  Director, Confederación Empresarial Española de la Economía Social (CEPES), Madrid
  • Maria Belovas, Director, Department of Communication, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Tallinn
  • Luis Planas, EESC Secretary General, Brussels

Introduction to the panel:

  • Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, EESC Vice President

11 – 12.30 a.m. Panel III: Code of culture – the driver's licence for social media use?

Moderated by:

  • Luca Jahier, EESC Member and Group President, Various Interests Group

The third panel will seek to identify the influence social media have on people's behaviour. The anonymity of the internet unfortunately also provides room for hateful, violent, xenophobic or sexist comments, smear campaigns, mobbing, and even terrorist recruitment. Does globalisation with all its consequences, including migration, intensify this negative trend and what can civil society do to counter it? Do we need a code of conduct for the internet and what role can culture and an enhanced focus on culture in people's education play? Also, how can the internet be more effectively used in a positive way for cultural exchange and education?


  • Ingrid Brodnig, Austrian journalist and writer
  • Thibault Lesénécal, Head of Parliament's web communication unit and social media specialist, EP Brussels
  • Alexander Damian Ricci, President of the Paris-based NGO, Babel International, publisher of the European Magazine, Cafébabel, reporter at EuVisions Observatory
  • Jon Worth, TechPolitics-UK Blogger

12.30 – 12.45 p.m.     Wrap-up of the day and farewell

  • Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, EESC Vice President


Programme CSMS 2017