Statement by
Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Laurenţiu Plosceanu, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC)

We are looking forward to working on the European Commission's three major initiatives: a Communication on "the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan", a Proposal for a Directive to "strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms" as well as on "the Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021 – 2030".

Statement by
Christa Schweng, Laurenţiu Plosceanu, Paul Soete, Cristian Pîrvulescu, Dimitris Dimitriadis
European Economic and Social Committee

We are deeply concerned at the humanitarian crisis that thousands of Afghan, Iranian and Pakistani migrants are currently facing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Regrettably, migrants are also experiencing the same inhumane treatment at other external borders of the EU and in countries such as Libya and Turkey, where they have been stranded on their way to the EU.
For weeks now, around 2 500 people, many of whom are unaccompanied minors, families with children and elderly people in need of medical assistance, have been left without basic shelter and are struggling to survive hunger, thirst and the freezing Balkan temperatures after the Lipa refugee camp in north-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina was burned down and closed.

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For the first time after the signature of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement Michel Barnier, Head of the European Commission Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, expressed publicly his views on the text during a debate at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) January plenary session. "This agreement starts a new era of our relationship with the UK, but we will have to face together a number of issues in the future", said Barnier.