Millions are fleeing war or persecution worldwide. As we commemorate their strength and courage on World Refugee Day, we try to be calm quoting the record high number of 68.5 million displaced people - 3 million higher than the total population of the UK - 25.4 million refugees, 40 million internally displaced and 3.1 million asylum seekers.
The President's blog
When we talk about inequality, we should remind ourselves that a good slice of Europe's economy is making profits for people other than investors or owners. Cooperatives, mutual societies, non-profit associations, foundations are part of this very vibrant community that makes the social economy.
The EESC, our 'House of European civil society', took part in this campaign, the aim of which is to bring together proposals from European citizens concerning the future of Europe. We can be proud of having inaugurated this new format – the citizens' consultation on Europe – based on our experience as the voice of civil society in Europe.
This new culture of dialogue should be developed for a number of key areas that also form the main priorities of my mandate, namely: sustainable development, culture, peace and youth.
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.
Today, 75 years ago a group of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began the uprising against the Nazi which lasted 27 days. Today, we remember the heroism and sacrifice of those who chose to resist against the impossible odd to die in dignity and save the human spirit.
At the opening of the EESC plenary, today, as newly elected president of the EESC, I encouraged all members to wear their yellow pin to remember.
Europe is a place of extraordinary cultural and artistic richness and vibrancy, as well as immeasurable cultural heritage and linguistic and cultural diversity. Nonetheless, surprisingly, culture has been absent from the dominant political discourse.
An all-female (bar two) private office.
Today, members of the European Economic and Social Committee have entrusted me with the leadership of the organisation for the next two and half years. It is a great honour for me to serve the Committee, which I consider to be the home of civil society, the soul of the European project.