EESC President Luca Jahier participated in the 129th plenary session of the Committee of the Regions. In the debate about "Regions and cities - Key drivers for reinforcing the European identity through culture" the participants highlighted that cities and regions reflect Europe's cultural diversity and are best placed to turn Europe's cultural heritage into a strategic asset.
Πρόεδρος της ΕΟΚΕ
News article: The success of the accession process of the Western Balkan countries needs “meaningful involvement” of civil society organisations in the integration process, Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), told EURACTIV.
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The EESC is hosting today its first high-level conference to discuss the proposal for the next “Multiannual Financial Framework” (MFF), covering the period 2021-2027, on the basis of the European Commission's proposal of 2 May. We are only at the beginning of a process, with the ball now being with the Council and the European Parliament that will, hopefully, in early 2019, adopt an MFF that will allow the EU to move forward. The EESC will thoroughly analyse the Commission´s proposals and will draw up an opinion on this important package by September.
The European Union and the Western Balkans have a shared interest in working more closely together to guarantee all our citizens economic and social development, as well as security. The future of the region is a European future. The EU and the Western Balkans economies have benefited from closer integration as trade doubled in the last 10 years. The EU is today the first trading partner of the region, the biggest investor and the most credible and reliable political and geostrategic partner.
As we celebrate Europe today, we should remember the promise of peace and unity that our founding fathers made to future generations. But in some corners of the Union, these generations are today questioning the value of the European project. There is no other alternative than a Union that is strong, fair and cohesive.
As Tocqueville used to say, our identity is first a democracy respectful of the individual, of minorities, and fundamental rights. Over the weekend of 5-6 May, we witnessed a beautiful exercise of democracy, which can only strengthen our European identity.
There are too many people who feel that their opinions are not taken on board. If this feeling persists or even grows, our democratic system will risk collapsing, and so will our project of peace, prosperity, growth and cohesion in which I believe from the very bottom of my heart. We must get to work now, have a fresh start and be prepared to re-energise change for what I call 'rEUnaissance' – a new renaissance for the European Union.
In the EU as well as in neighbouring countries, representative democracy is experiencing a crisis of legitimacy. One manner of addressing this challenge which puts at risk our democratic societies is to promote participation. Involvement in local democratic processes builds trust, generates an understanding of the complexity of democratic processes and empowers citizens.