I have often insisted that it is high time for the EU to demonstrate its willingness and capacity to be close to European citizens and to defend social rights, particularly in times of crisis. The EESC haswarmly welcomed the invitation form the Commission President, Mr. Juncker to contribute to the establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights, a set of principles that will support efficient and fair labour markets and welfare systems. The EESC has already prepared an ambitious work programme that aims to present an opinion for adoption in October 2016.
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Europe: a space of freedom and prosperity for people
Over the last few weeks, political debate at European level has been focusing on ways to address the refugee crisis, including a discussion on whether or not the Schengen zone should be suspended.
The New Year is already upon us, and the flow of migrants and refugees towards Europe continues. The lack of a coordinated European response and of a strategic approach is giving citizens the impression that there is a loss of control, whatever that control might be.
Who else, if not civil society?
With the results of the second round of the French regional elections some time has been gained. But only if there is real change, shifting from financial recovery to real social investment facilitating policies that create more cohesion and more inclusive societies. If the winner takes it all, the loser is likely to reject the system, leading to exclusion and worse.
I had the honour and pleasure to be invited by Georges Dassis to his
inauguration as president of the European Economic and Social Committee in front of a partly renewed assembly.
The Committee represents many common interests, giving us the means to better understand and tackle the economic, social and political crisis confronting Europe today, a crisis that is making people turn away from the noble ideal of European integration and democracy.
In his speech on the state of the Union, Commission president Juncker made it perfectly clear that action had to be taken to tackle the challenges of migration and the refugee crisis, to work out a social agenda to finally make headway towards a triple-A social Europe and to think about the value of Europe and the need for more Europe.
Restart or kick-start?