Poverty must always be combated in the EU and in the rest of the world. This is all the more important as the cost of living has increased significantly since the onset of the war in Ukraine. While civil society organisations provide important solutions to tackle the effects of poverty, it is clear that future policy measures must be poverty-proof. These are the conclusions of a discussion organised by the Civil Society Organisations' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 22 March 2023. The event was attended by high-level guest speakers, including Italy's Minister for Labour and Social Policies, Marina Elvira Calderone.
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At its plenary session in March, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a debate with Italy's Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Marina Elvira Calderone, on making EU labour markets stronger and more inclusive. The EESC reiterated its support for the European Commission's proposal to strengthen national equality bodies, which are entrusted with promoting equality for all and combating discrimination in employment.
The Social Progress Protocol, proposed during the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), gives precedence to social, workers' and trade union rights when they are in conflict with economic freedoms. However, while everyone agreed that social rights and economic freedoms can co-exist, support for making the protocol primary EU law is far from unanimous, with diverging views among the social partners and in the academic community, an EESC hearing confirmed
As part of the European Year of Skills, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a conference on "Skills and talents as key drivers for personal fulfilment, economic growth and competitiveness" on 10 March to assess the needs and issue recommendations regarding skills development in the EU.
Persistent health inequalities are a huge factor behind the twofold higher mortality rate of people with disabilities, who on average die 10 to 20 years earlier than people without a disability. At the top of the list of barriers creating such inequalities are exorbitant treatment costs, inaccessible transport and health facilities, and stigma – but also a healthcare workforce that lacks proper training on disability issues.
On International Women's Day 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a debate on dismantling gender stereotypes in education, which are still stopping girls and young women from making their own study and career choices and achieving their full professional potential.
The EESC's External Relations Section held a debate during its section meeting dedicated to the situation of women in Latin America. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities worsening the situation of women in the region. Participants in the debate called for legislative reforms to the social and employment system in order to eliminate gender inequalities. They also flagged up the role of civil society in the empowerment of women.
The European Commission's proposal for a comprehensive European care strategy that should guarantee to all Europeans the possibility of receiving high quality healthcare and care service throughout their lifetime has been met with approval by the EESC
The technical limit value for asbestos exposure should ultimately be set at a lower level than the Commission is currently proposing in a recent Directive regulating the protection of workers from dangers of occupational asbestos exposure, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said in an opinion adopted at its plenary session in December.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed the Commission's proposal for a Directive on asset recovery and confiscation as an important step towards combatting money laundering and terrorist financing in the EU. Despite a general improvement in some of the Member States, the percentage of criminal assets that are frozen or confiscated remains extremely low across the EU.
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