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On 18 June 2018, the European Economic and Social Committee, together with the European Commission, will organise a stakeholder summit on artificial intelligence (AI). The summit will bring together businesses representatives, academia, workers, citizens, policy makers and NGO's to discuss the next steps to advance the EU strategy on AI.
In recent years, EU trade policy has become a true issue of debate in the civil society at national level: that shows the need to bring trade policy closer to EU citizens. EU Member States have different existing national structures, procedures and consultation methods, as well as ratification processes; however, citizens from most countries not always seem to be able to fully express their voices in national debates on trade policy. The objective of the event will be that of a) assessing and examining the different kinds of consultation procedures that exist in the Member States; b) exploring how civil society and consultative structures, wherever they exist, are informed or consulted on negotiations and implementation of trade agreements, and c) promoting the experience of the EESC in the domain of the EU trade policy.
In September 2016, the EESC adopted an own-initiative opinion on "The rights of live-in care workers". It was a first policy document at the European level dealing with the sector of live-in care work in Europe. As follow-up to this initiative, the EESC will carry out 5 country visits to countries of origin and destination of live-in care workers (United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Poland) to deepen the research on labour and work conditions of these persons and the quality of care delivery. The findings will be presented in a report to be released by the EESC later in 2018.
The EESC has been working on the topic of Social Economy Enterprises for the past decade and a dedicated permanent study group has been created in 2016. In view of the success of the European Day of Social Economy Enterprises in 2016 and 2017, it is proposed to organise a third edition of this event.
While the environmental benefits of the transition to low-carbon energy supply systems have been widely discussed, economic effects have only been touched upon in a piecemeal fashion, e.g. through employment in the renewable energy sector, the increasing cost competitiveness of energy from renewable sources, or the rise of energy poverty. In particular, it remains unclear how the economies of Europe's diverse regions are affected by the shift to decentralised, low-carbon energy supply. As recent political initiatives in relation to coal regions and islands however show, Europe's energy transition has a distinctively regional dimension. The EESC is currently working on an own-initiative opinion on "The effects of a new carbon-free, decentralised and digitalized energy supply structure on jobs and regional economies". In this opinion, it seeks to take stock of existing economic analyses on the regional effects and develop an assessment framework.
The European Economic and Social Committee is organising a hearing as part of its work related to its own-initiative opinion on Artificial intelligence: anticipating its impact on jobs to ensure a fair transition.
The main objective of the hearing will be to debate the impact of artificial intelligence on different sectors of work and to discuss how to anticipate these changes and developments in order to reduce the negative impact on workers, businesses and consumers, and to ensure a fair transition.
The 16th EU-China Civil Society Round Table will take place in Varna, Bulgaria from 31 May to 1 June 2018.
The topics of the Round Table meeting will be the following: Social security and social solidarity mechanisms, and trade and investment as part of EU-China relations. In the fringes of the Round Table, a tripartite seminar on EU-China Tourism Year 2018 will be organised.
The European Economic and Social Committee is holding a public debate to explore and propose indicators that are suited to European civil society's needs for monitoring the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
This year's Civil Society Days will take place right after the plenary session at which the European Economic and Social Committee celebrates its 60th anniversary.
The focus of this Civil Society Days will be on fostering the current debate about the future of Europe and on highlighting the role across Europe of the civil society organisations which come together in the EESC to represent "Europe at work".
In line with this twofold emphasis, the CivSocDays 2018 will address Europe at work in relation to a dimension which has permeated our everyday working and living environment and will affect and shape our future, as well as the future of Europe: the digital world.