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For nearly two years the large and unprecedented flow of refugees from war-torn or underdeveloped countries to the European Union has heavily impacted Europe's political and social life. Providing food and shelter for the masses of refugees reaching the EU, familiarising them with the new realities and cultural differences as well as supporting them through their integration process was and still is a major challenge which the concerned Member States could only face thanks to the spontaneous and overwhelming support of citizens and civil society in general.


Statement by Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, Vice-President of the EESC, on International Youth Day

Today we celebrate International Youth Day, which recognises the power of youth in transforming the world. First launched in Lisbon in 1998, this year's International Youth Day is dedicated to promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their aim to fight global poverty and promote a sustainable world for all. Our ability to implement the SDGs effectively will determine the future of today's youth.


The Paris Agreement is rightly seen as a milestone in the fight against climate change as it is the first such convention to be legally binding under international law.  Europe played no minor role in putting the necessary pressure to clinch this deal. But the 177 signatures of heads of states and governments alone won't be enough. Now it is time for Europe to take the lead again and implementing the necessary policies. This, however, will only be successful with the full involvement of European citizens ....


We have started receiving applications for the 2016 Civil Society Prize, which will reward projects supporting migrants and refugees. We are very happy to have already candidates from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. But we are looking forward to receiving many more from these and other Member States. If you or your organisation are involved in such projects, you can still enter until the 9th  of September.


When the international economic and financial crisis struck, it exposed the structural limitations and contradictions in EMU, depriving the euro of its propensity to attract. The crisis proves that it takes much more than a set of "accountancy" rules such as the stability pact and others, because the underlying problems are not technical but economic and political. Some progress has been made in the past few years by putting in place new rules and mechanisms, notably parts of a Banking Union, but the construction works are far from being completed yet, which contributes to the persisting climate of uncertainty among citizens and business, and hinders the growth potential of the European economy ...


The opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution require a coordinated response from all stakeholders, a renewed focus on skills and the setting up of regional networks. The European Union urgently needs an “EU 4.0 industrial strategy” – and to complete the Digital Single Market – in order to address the current fragmentation resulting from 28 separate digital policies. This was one of the key points contained in the EESC’s opinion entitled “Industry 4.0 and digital transformation: where to go”, ...


Some 25% of the EU population are older citizens, a growing market of economic and social players in the digital age. The European Union faces a new challenge: the coincidence of longevity and widespread digitalisation. Therefore, changing the approach to the "silver economy" is an imperative, says the EESC.  In its opinion “The digital pillar of growth: e-seniors, a potential 25% of the European population” ...


A year for a new impetus and greater solidarity in Europe

The President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Georges Dassis, met today with the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, to deliver the EESC contribution to the Commission's 2017 Work Programme.