The aim of the long-term strategy is to confirm Europe's commitment to lead in global climate action and to present a vision that can lead to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially-fair transition in a cost-efficient manner. It underlines the opportunities that this transformation offers to European citizens and its economy, whilst identifying challenges ahead.
On 27 February, the NAT Section will debate the EU Reflection Paper and the way forward with representatives from the EU institutions and civil society stakeholders, with a view of providing input to the preparation of the EESC opinion on this topic.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Serbia will hold the 8th meeting of their Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) at the EESC in Brussels.
The added value of cohesion policy as the main EU investment tool enshrined in the Treaties has lately been put into question, also due to the pressure that the current challenges are exerting on the EU decision-making process. Cohesion policy is presented as a distribution tool for financial support for less developed regions and the newer Member States, while the tangible results for the citizens, for the economy and for the overall convergence process at the EU level are strongly challenged.
In this context, the EESC is preparing an exploratory opinion and on Friday, 22 February 2019 will organise a public hearing on "The future of cohesion policy in the post-2020 period" bringing together officials, experts and civil society representatives.
On 21 February 2019, the EESC is organising an event entitled Civil Society for rEUnaissance, in the Charlemagne building in the morning and at Committee headquarters (JDE building) in the afternoon.
The purpose of this event is two-fold (1) to draw attention to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on the European Union, with the support of a number of civil society organisations, and (2) to mobilise civil society at all levels in the run-up to the European elections.
Debate with Mr Phil HOGAN, EU Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner. 21 February 2019: “Civil Society for rEUnaissance”.Event divided into two main parts: a morning session, including speeches and testimonies from high-level guests, and an afternoon session of topic-based workshops.
On 15 February, the Bureau of the Diversity Europe Group of the EESC hosted an extraordinary meeting on the topic 'Brexit' at Queen's University in Belfast. The seminar entitled 'The Implications of Brexit for Civil Society and the Peace Process' focussed on the fragility of the Good Friday Agreement in view of an impending Brexit. Politicians, academia and civil were called upon to give their views and some one hundred participants are expected. The conference took place at Isdell Courtyard seminar room, Ridell Hall.
On 12 February, the Sustainable Development Observatory will hold a debate on the EU Reflection Paper on Sustainable Europe by 2030. It will then look at several national strategies and processes involving civil society actors.
The Social Economy Intergroup of the European Parliament held the final hearing of its legislature on 6 February 2019 at the EESC. As the objective was to take stock of what has been done in the last 5 years in the field of the Social Economy, it was proposed to give this hearing a higher profile and to organise a joint event with the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions and Social Economy Europe.
This opinion aims at promoting the value of strong civil society organisations as automatic stabilisers in our democratic systems, which are facing challenges from the rise of populist and extremist movements, distrust of the free press, authoritarian tendencies, and xenophobia. Democratic civil society organisations therefore need to be supported at all levels - local, regional, national and European.