For the first time in the history of the EU, the Commission will convene a Citizens' Panel to prepare a public consultation on the Future of Europe. On 5-6 May, a group of 80 Europeans will come to Brussels from 27 Member States, and work together to draft a 12-question online consultation. This unique exercise in participative democracy will see citizens shaping the conversation on the Future of Europe ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
Together with the other EU institutions in Brussels, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) opened its doors on Saturday 5 May in celebration of Europe Day. The EESC presented its activities to the public, with a special focus on culture, since 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
The members of the Committee discussed the latest developments in EEA as well as EU/EFTA issues. The Consultative Committee adopted two resolutions on:
- the social aspects of the Mobility Package ("Europe on the move")
- the work-life balance
This event aims to present the outcomes of the EESC opinion on Boosting climate actions by non-state actors and operationalise the proposed dialogue. It will include both plenary sessions and participatory workshops focusing on thematic areas bringing together experts from national and subnational governments, the private sector, financial institutions and leading international and civil society organisations.
Mid-term renewal of the XVth (five-year) term of office
The EESC is hosting its 534th Plenary Session on 18-19 April to mark the end of the Presidency headed by Georges Dassis and welcome a new Presidency for 2018-2020.
The hearing is part of the EESC follow-up work related to its opinion on Improving the effectiveness of EU policies for SMEs, adopted in July 2017.
The main objective of the hearing will be to debate the effectiveness and efficiency of the EU policies for SMEs and gather valuable input and feedback from Greek stakeholders on the matter with a view to finding ways in which they can be improved. Particular emphasis will be put on the recommendations that have been outlined in the EESC opinion with the aim of implementing them at national level. Issues such as access to finance, improving access to markets and internationalisation, promoting entrepreneurship, reducing the administrative burden, simplification, supporting SMEs competitiveness and innovation will be at the forefront. The stakeholders are also invited to express their views on the current definition of SMEs and on its potential need for revision.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Serbia held the 6th meeting of their Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) at the EESC in Brussels. This civil society platform between the EESC and civil society in Serbia was established within the institutional framework of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in order to allow civil society organisations on both sides to monitor the country's accession negotiations. It is also a platform to discuss issues of common interest and to inform the public at large of the challenges ahead during the accession period. Besides the current state of play in EU-Serbia relations and the accession process, main topic of the 6th JCC meeting was: Social economy and Involvement of social partners and other civil society organisations in the elaboration of Economic Reform Programmes. A common declaration of the JCC was issued after the meeting.
On the 12 April 2018 from 2.00 to 4.30 pm, the Labour Market Observatory will hold a conference on the topic of the long-term unemployment. Following the 2016 Council's recommendation on this subject, the aim is to assess the current situation and discuss about the outcome of LMO's project to evaluate the implementation of the recommendation in the EU Member States. Participants will include representatives of the European Commission, social partners, the EESC groups on disabilities and Roma.
The 6th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform took place on 12 April 2018 in Brussels. During the meeting, a debate was held assessing the state of play in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and two reports, prepared by both sides,on the role of salary and its impact on labour migration, and on climate change, were discussed and adopted.
The PSG on the inclusion of the Roma will, at its 11 April hearing on "Addressing anti-gypsyism in ethnic profiling practices", be looking at ethnic profiling in relation to the Roma community. Roma face discriminatory practices by the police and in the court system, such as Roma-targeted police raids and proportionately more Roma people being charged than people who are not of Roma descent. Such practices contravene Article 21 (1) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which prohibits discrimination on any grounds, such as race and ethnic origin. The PSG would like to highlight cases of malpractice in this domain, discussing examples from Member States, and also bring to light examples of good practice and discuss the way forward to help alleviate these problems.