The New Year is already upon us, and the flow of migrants and refugees towards Europe continues. The lack of a coordinated European response and of a strategic approach is giving citizens the impression that there is a loss of control, whatever that control might be.
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Who else, if not civil society?
With the results of the second round of the French regional elections some time has been gained. But only if there is real change, shifting from financial recovery to real social investment facilitating policies that create more cohesion and more inclusive societies. If the winner takes it all, the loser is likely to reject the system, leading to exclusion and worse.
I had the honour and pleasure to be invited by Georges Dassis to his
inauguration as president of the European Economic and Social Committee in front of a partly renewed assembly.
The Committee represents many common interests, giving us the means to better understand and tackle the economic, social and political crisis confronting Europe today, a crisis that is making people turn away from the noble ideal of European integration and democracy.
In his speech on the state of the Union, Commission president Juncker made it perfectly clear that action had to be taken to tackle the challenges of migration and the refugee crisis, to work out a social agenda to finally make headway towards a triple-A social Europe and to think about the value of Europe and the need for more Europe.
Restart or kick-start?
The new Commission and the newly elected EP have left their starting blocks. After all the promises, "musts" and "shoulds", we are now entering a phase of real policy-making.
The Liaison Group held its meeting on 5 November 2014 with both sets of members present: the EESC members and the CSO members. Together with the other co-chair of the LG, EESC President Henri Malosse, we had agreed to hold new meetings only when there was sufficient food for thought and debate.
The Liaison Group was created by the EESC in 2004 in order to forge links and cooperate more closely with European organisations and civil society networks.
Ten years later, the Group was ready for a new boost to better fulfil its role, a point underlined by the EESC Bureau in its reflection on the future of the EESC...