With a critical juncture already fast approaching,the Greek Presidency of the EU represents an opportunity that Europe cannot afford to miss, a chance to influence the direction of change and build a Europe that feels more tangible and familiar to its citizens. At the elections next May,the public will elect a new European Parliament. These elections will also tell us whether or not Europe has managed to convince its citizens that it is effective and that the European venture has been reinvigorated.
Given the ongoing crisis, Europe is faced with a major challenge which it must address successfully: to restore public trust in its ability to act in their interest and in the general European interest. In the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May 2014, the overall direction provided by the Lithuanian presidency will be essential in renewing ties with the public.
Conference organised by the Various Interests Group of the EESC in Dublin to mark Ireland's 40 years of membership of the EU
European integration must move forward and be strengthened. We must concentrate on opportunities, growth and jobs, social justice and a sustainable Europe and European Union. And I hope the Irish Presidency will go in this direction when taking the helm of the EU.
EU leaders and members of the other EU institutions have on numerous occasions paid tribute to the EESC’s knowledge and experience and the added value they bring to our endeavours. The European Economic and Social Committee is there to advise and support the Irish EU presidency, based on the grassroots experience of its members and on its long-standing tradition of cooperation with EU presidencies.