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Dear readers,

I am very pleased to open this pilot issue of our new online newsletter with a reflection on change and innovation in the world of work. I have to admit that this reflexion is made with the focus on our 2017 Civil Society Prize award ceremony in December. It seems fitting to launch this prototype by concentrating on a forward-looking exercise.

Diary Dates

13/12/2017 - 14/12/2017 Madrid
Euromed Summit 2017 of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions

In short

EESC to engage in debate on disabled people's right and access to vote in European elections


On 7 December EESC President George Dassis and members Yannis Vardakastanis and Krzystof Pater will participate in the 4th plenary session of the European Disability Forum (EDF), to be held at the European Parliament to mark the EDF's 20th anniversary.

The EESC at the Gothenburg social summit

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, EESC President Georges Dassis and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth 2017

Getting ready for the Bulgarian Presidency

On 1 January 2018, Bulgaria will take over the rotating Presidency of the EU from Estonia. In preparation for this, the EESC has held a special meeting of its Bureau in Sophia and is drawing up a number of opinions, events and other initiatives, both in Brussels and Bulgaria. An overview of the presidency's priorities, together with a timetable of EESC-related activities, will be provided in the January issue of this newsletter.

Season wishes

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous year 2018!

We thank you for your interest and support over the past twelve months and look forward to bringing our new digital newsletter to all our readers across Europe from the next issue!


2017 EESC Civil Society Prize Rewards Entrepreneurship and Quality Employment

Already in its 9th edition, the 2017 Civil Society Prize will reward innovative projects working to combat employment exclusion and remove barriers to participation in the labour market for people in need, such as young people, people from migrant backgrounds, the long-term unemployed, women detached from the labour market, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty. The EESC has dedicated this year's prize to organisations that have distinguished themselves through their work in supporting the labour market integration of groups requiring specific support.

Financing of civil society is essential for democracy

Financing of civil society

The EU institutions should promote a positive image of civil society organisations, preserve their independence and ensure they are properly funded, says the EESC

Taxation of the collaborative economy requires genuine European cooperation

The EESC calls on the European Commission and the Member States to apply existing fiscal regulatory systems and tax regimes to the collaborative/digital economy.

EESC urges EC to strengthen Europe's economic foundations and social dimension

In his speech at the EESC's October plenary session,  European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans thanked EESC members for their contribution to the Commission's 2018 Work Programme, which was presented in July 2017.

EESC welcomes debate on social Europe and calls for political backing

Gabriele Bischoff and Jukka Ahtela, rapporteurs of the EESC opinion on the European Pillar of Social Rights

In the face of challenges that may block the EU’s way forward, the current debate on the social dimension of Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) could help reach a new consensus on the strategies needed to secure economic growth and well-being of EU citizens, said the EESC in its opinion Impact of the social dimension and the European Pillar of Social Rights on the Future of EU, adopted in October.

European rural areas need a boost

EESC calls for flexible and effective support programmes from the Commission and Member States. Better rural development is possible, and local people are willing to deliver, but they need support. EU and national authorities need to empower villages and small towns. With its opinion on Villages and small towns as catalysts for rural development, adopted at its October plenary session, the EESC wants to contribute to the revitalisation of Europe's rural areas.

Road tolls should finance the cost of trans-European transport infrastructure

Toll revenues from the trans-European road network should be reinvested in transport infrastructure and be clearly earmarked, with charges from road use going to cover the costs of developing, operating and maintaining road infrastructure, while charges linked to external costs should be used to mitigate the negative effects of road transport.

EESC calls for clean, competitive and connected mobility for all by 2025


In an opinion adopted at the EESC's October plenary session, the Committee backs the EU's aim of ensuring clean, competitive and connected mobility integrating all means of transport by 2025, and urges the Commission to further improve the regulatory framework in order to establish an efficient Single European Transport Area.

Europe's soils deserve better management

EESC calls for a reference framework to safeguard soil health and fertility.

Maintaining or improving the health of Europe's soils is one of the most important challenges in preserving our livelihood. As a first step, the EESC proposes a joint EU reference framework with a view to laying down uniform terminology and harmonised criteria for good soil status

Europeans need more and better Europe to ensure economic progress

EU governance needs a common sense of purpose that goes beyond technical approaches and measures. This is one of the main conclusions of the package of EESC opinions on the future of the European economy. The opinions on Euro area economic policy 2017, Deepening EMU by 2025, EU finances by 2025 and Capital Markets Union: Mid-term Review address current challenges for the EU economy and make specific proposals for tackling them. 

Including clauses on good tax governance in international agreements will promote sustainable development

tax international relations

In recent years there has been considerable interest in the international tax system. Questions have been raised about the fairness of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) between developed and developing countries and their impact on tax revenues in developing countries.

The European Solidarity Corps needs fresh funding and should focus on volunteering alone

© European Union  , 2016    /  Source: EC - Audiovisual Service     /   Photo: François Walschaerts

The EESC welcomes the creation of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), but some of the elements of this Commission's new programme for youth volunteering in Europe, including its funding, need to be further clarified and improved, the Committee said in its opinion on the legislative proposal for the ESC, adopted in October

LeaderSHIP 2020 needs to be strengthened

Europe's shipbuilding industry needs the EU's strategic support. LeaderSHIP 2020 is the right tool but must be beefed up and extended to 2030.  Europe must become the frontrunner in R&D on climate change, energy saving and vessel complexity, since the maritime industry is crucial to its economic and social future.

EESC brings EU-Japan agreement to the public

The EU-Japan Agreement is as economically important as the TTIP, yet passes almost unnoticed among EU civil society and other stakeholders.

The fight against climate change cannot be won at the expense of ordinary citizens

"The fight against climate change can only succeed if all citizens are included. But it is not enough to convince people that we need to change our lifestyles: it is also important to give them the necessary support," said EESC president Georges Dassis at the start of a COP23 side event on A just transition to low-carbon economy hosted by the EESC in Bonn on 8 November.

News from the Groups

Advantages of a Digital Society, by the EESC's Employers' Group

A digital society is not simply a nice thing to have; it is the only thing to have – this was one of the conclusions of the conference on the Advantages of a digital society, organised by the Employers' Group, which took place on 25 October 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. The participants discussed various aspects of e-society and the Digital Single Market. Cyber security, societal trust, the free flow of data, the further development of infrastructure and getting rid of barriers hindering the Digital Single Market were just a few of the issues raised.

Le dialogue social européen: Histoire d'une innovation sociale (1985-2003), by the EESC's Workers' Group

On 7 December 2017, the Workers' Group is organising a presentation of the book Le dialogue social européen: Histoire d'une innovation sociale (1985-2003) [European social dialogue: history of a social innovation (1985-2003)]

Bringing culture to the heart of the EU, by the EESC's Various Interests Group

Under the chairmanship of its President Luca Jahier, the Various Interests Group organised a concert on 18 October 2017 entitled El Sistema Belgium: ReMuA / Shake Young Orchestra and the Connect Ensemble. This was the first cultural initiative organised at the EESC as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.