On 13 April 2015, the EESC held a hearing to gather information and views on the role of non-formal and informal learning as a means to enhance employability and mobility. Furthermore, it examined how employers, trade unions and civil society organisations could be more involved in the validation process.
You are here
The EESC's engagement with civil society organisations in Russia is governed by the five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations agreed between EU foreign ministers and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One of these guiding principles is "support for people-to-people contacts".
Dialogue and the exchange of experiences between civil society representatives from the EU and Russia contribute in a significant way to the continued implementation of the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership. The EESC has adopted a two-stranded approach to its relations with Russian civil society in order to engage with as wide a range of civil society representatives as possible. On the one hand, it maintains relations with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, its official Russian counterpart, and organises – amongst other things – annual joint seminars on topics of interest to civil society on both sides. The EESC's other partner is the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which brings together a different set of civil society organisations.
The EU-Russia Follow-up Committee is an internal EESC body, which acts as a steering group, and is responsible for developing and maintaining relations and organising meetings and joint seminars with civil society in Russia.
In March 2014 the 1st meeting of the EU-Africa economic and social interest groups network took place in Brussels. Following negotiations with the EESC, this meeting was funded by the Commission's DG DEVCO with the main objective of introducing an 'organised civil society pillar' into the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The network was kicked off just in time to offer input to the Africa-EU Summit of April 2014.
The EESC has an interest to keep this network alive in order to contribute and follow up into the JAES from the perspective of organised civil society. Politically the best timing for organising meetings of this network is ahead of relevant summits between EU and African heads of state and/or government.
The Dutch Presidency has requested an exploratory opinion about the shift from the traditional employment relationship to more non-standard forms of employment, introduced among others by online platforms like Uber. The EESC is to examine the link between new forms of employments relationships to a decent living wage and make policy recommendations as to how to take full advantage of digital innovation but regulate and mitigate the effects in terms of labour law protection and social protection.
The European Council of December 2012 agreed that the roadmap for the completion of the European Monetary Union (EMU) should include a social dimension, comprising social dialogue. President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy called for the EESC proposals on the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union. To assemble the views of institutional stakeholders, social partners and civil society organisations, the EESC is holding a hearing on "For a social dimension of the EMU".
Important items on the agenda of this year's summit have been youth and employment in the Mediterranean region; managing water-related challenges; mobility and immigration, and the UfM's ties to civil society. This event has been organised jointly with the UfM Secretariat.
The event's topic was one of the highest priorities at EU level and its organisation was very well-timed, as the Member States were beginning to implement several EU policies for youth employment (such as the Youth Guarantee). Therefore, it was important to assess the level of involvement of civil society organisations in these policies, to recall the significant role that these organisations can play and to put forward their recommendations and best practices.
The Euromed Summit brings together over 150 participants, to promote greater understanding of the main issues affecting organised civil society in the Euromed region. The 2014 Euromed Summit will have a particular emphasis on the following:
• the challenges related to social exclusion and poverty in the north and south of the Mediterranean;
• the importance of the social economy and entrepreneurship;
• the socio-economic situation of young people in the Euromed region.
The EESC and representatives from the Ukrainian civil society will meet in Kyiv in order to complete the setting up of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform. This will be one of the joint bodies of the Agreement together with the Association Council, the Association Committee, and the Parliamentary Association Committee. It will provide a forum for the civil society representatives to meet and to monitor the implementation of the Association Agreement. The EU side of the Platform will be composed of 9 EESC members and 6 observers from other large EU level civil society organizations. The Ukrainian side, for a transition period, will unite 26 representatives from all civil society sectors. The Platform will meet twice a year, alternatively in Brussels and in Ukraine, and will discuss issues and prepare reports on topics deemed important by both sides in the implementation process of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The event gathered all main national social partners (business federations and trade unions from the 28 Member States) for a full-day debate on the opportunities and challenges of TTIP for the social partners. The meeting allowed for discussion on concrete topics via plenary sessions and parallel panels. The overall objective of the conference was to inform social partners at the national level about the different aspects of TTIP, to promote a balanced exchange of views and experiences between these different national groups aimed at reaching some common understanding on the TTIP and its repercussions.
In its own-initiative opinion, the EESC is looking at the efficiency of the efforts, funded from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), in tackling poverty and social exclusion in Europe – as one of the Europe 2020 strategy's most important goals.
The aim of this hearing is to collect specific observations and recommendations based on the experiences of civil society organisations with the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) for combating poverty and social exclusion.