As we prepare to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we can hardly remain composed in our mourning. Rather than observe silence as the deepest mourning is solitary, we feel like shouting. Why is anti-Semitism not dead, not in Europe and not even in the United States? Why in France last year was a Holocaust survivor stabbed and burned to death in her apartment? Why the year before was a retired kindergarten teacher, Sarah Halimi, murdered and subsequently thrown from her Paris balcony?
The President's blog
Who would dispute that memory and commemoration are not part of the journey towards crafting stronger national identities? No historian, no anthropologist, no ethnographer would argue against that. However, as we prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through lengthy speeches, exhibits in historical museums, and brief visits to historic sites.
Today, marks the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty — and the recognition by the United Nations - 25 years ago - of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Nearly 1 billion people have escaped poverty worldwide since the 1st #EndPoverty Day, but too many others have been left behind.
This week, I exchanged views with representatives of national parliaments and Members of the European Parliament on the future of Europe as we have a co-responsibility in carving the narrative on the European Union. I presented what the Committee has done on the future of Europe and our plans ahead of Sibiu and the EU elections. Drawing conclusions from the wealth of activities, it is clear that whatever the Future of Europe will be, it will have to be citizens-driven.
On behalf of the EESC, I would like to congratulate Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations for launching a strategy aimed at financing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. We fully endorse Agenda 2030 as this is a win-win strategy: it is good for economic growth and competitiveness, it is good for companies and it is good for workers, and it is good for the planet.
The summer is a good time to look back and reflect on the good work that the Committee has done in many fields since the beginning of the year. One that has drawn my attention is the very interesting study commissioned by the EESC's Employers' Group.
Civil society's contribution to the Energy Union initiative by Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
The energy transition offers huge potential for cities and regions to pursue new, innovative and effective policies at regional level and is a terrific opportunity to put the EU on the right track to achieving faster sustainable economic and social development. European organised civil society can play a significant role in transforming the way people think to help them embrace change.
The European Union has already seen the dire consequences of those policies in the past, and has learned its lessons. We ought to be careful not to respond to aggressive behaviour with aggressive behaviour. That is what I told reporter Lee Jeong-ho from the South China Morning Post in an interview ahead of the 20th EU-China Summit in Beijing.
Last week will remain engraved in our memories. TV channels around the world broadcast images of children separated from their parents at Texas borders and here in Europe the conflict over migrants and refugees has reached the highest possible level of confrontation. Have we lost our humanity? Have we forgotten our values?