Cillian Lohan (Ireland), member of the Diversity Europe' Group, will be one of the two vice-presidents of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) for a two-and-a-half year term from October 2020 to March 2023. He will be in charge of communication.
Mr Lohan was appointed to the EESC from the environmental sector. He will accompany the newly-elected president Christa Schweng (Austria), member of the Employers' Group, at the helm of the EESC, together with vice-president Giulia Barbucci (Italy), member of the Workers' Group, who will be in charge of the budget. The EESC appointed its new leadership on 28 October, on the second day of its three-day inaugural plenary session. It marks the beginning of the EESC's 2020-2025 mandate, with over 40% of its 329 members being new to the Committee.
After his election, the vice-president for communication, Cillian Lohan, said:
We live in challenging times, dealing with a global pandemic and the consequential effects on our economies, at a time when we need to be investing in an urgent transition away from a dependency on outdated energy systems. We need solutions that deliver for everybody, and we need leadership that we can trust. The EESC brings a unique voice to the table, as our work brings in all aspects of organised civil society (representatives include entrepreneurs, industry, workers, consumers, farmers, environmental groups to name but a few). Our outputs need to reach the EU institutions loudly and clearly. And we will reach out in the other direction also – to our home networks, in an iterative process that helps us design those solutions, and to lead by example, putting active participation back into participatory democracy.
At this critical time,
the EESC can bring an added value in the sense that we build consensus around our input into new policies, and we identify gaps in legislation, making concrete proposals to fill them. Our outputs are the result of tireless work amongst our staff and members to produce valuable unique perspectives that critically have the support of all these different civil society groups. Amplifying this work will my priority as vice-President, he stressed.
The EESC is made up of 329 members from its 27 Member States. They are nominated by their national governments and appointed by the Council of the European Union for a period of five years. They then work independently in the interests of all EU citizens. These members are not politicians but employers, trade unionists and representatives of various sectors of society, such as farming, consumer and environmental organisations, the social economy, SMEs, professionals, and associations representing persons with disabilities, the voluntary sector, gender equality, youth, academia, and so on. The EESC's new term of office – its 16th since it was set up in 1958 – will run from 27 October 2020 to September 2025.