The Grassroots View - S3, E 24 – Europe's endemic migration crisis: where are we now and how do we move forward?

In this episode of our podcast, we explore the continuing migration crisis in Europe. The recent stand-off between Italy and France, both refusing to allow the Ocean Viking to dock on their shores to transfer informal migrants rescued off the coast of Libya, has pushed the issue back to the fore. Where does European migration policy actually stand right now? What has become of European solidarity since the tough trial of the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015? How did we come to have vulnerable migrants caught in a legal no man's land?

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New year, new challenges

Dear readers,

Every year comes with new hopes and dreams and newfound determination to pursue them.

Diary Dates

22-23 February 2023, Brussels

EESC plenary session

27-28 February 2023, Brussels

Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference 2023

23-24 March 2023, Brussels

Your Europe, Your Say! 2023

"To the point"

In our column "To the point", we ask EESC members to highlight the key proposals the EESC is making to address a key issue affecting the EU.

Kinga Joó: "We need high-quality care for all"

Kinga JOÓ

The European Care Strategy starts off by stating that everyone provides or receives care at some time in their lives. This is indeed true, but high-quality care for all is still not a reality for many in Europe and this was one of the push factors behind the strategy.

One question to...

"One question to…"

In this month's "One question to…" column, we ask Jaroslaw Pietras, former Director General at the Council of the European Union, to talk about an issue that is on everybody's lips and mind these days: the energy crisis.

Jaroslaw Pietras: "The energy crisis is not over yet"

EESC Info: Jaroslaw Pietras, what do you make of the EU's energy market at the moment and what is the outlook for the future?

The surprise guest

The surprise guest

In this column, we present the opinions, thoughts and comments of journalists and prominent personalities on topics that matter in today's Europe. This time, our guest is Ukrainian reporter Olena Abramovych. At the start of this new year, she shares with our readers her hopes for a better world.

Olena Abramovych: Ukraine 2023: the fight must go on – even after victory

"We never miss a chance to miss a chance", the saying goes. A saying which appeared in Ukraine in the years just before full-scale war broke out. 


Every year should be European Year of Youth

At its December plenary, the EESC discussed the issues affecting young people in the labour market. The debate rounded off the 2022 European Year of Youth and ushered in the 2023 European Year of Skills. The Committee advocated for a long-term strategy for youth engagement and recommended that European Years go beyond mere promotional activities and produce clear plans.


The financial dimension of gender equality still a blind spot in EU policies

The EESC held a debate at its December plenary on the role of finance and public recovery policies in promoting gender equality and the economic empowerment of women in the EU. The discussion was linked to the adoption of two opinions: one on a gender-based approach to budgeting and investing and the other on how Member States can improve the way in which the direct and indirect measures proposed in their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) affect gender equality.

Food should not be treated as a financial asset - it is not a commodity like others

The global food price crisis has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, but is actually due to more structural and systemic problems in the commodities market, creating hunger and threatening people's livelihoods, highlighted the EESC in an own initiative opinion adopted on 14 December.

EESC backs mandatory competitiveness check for EU policies and regulations

The competitiveness check should apply to any EU policy and law-making process, the EESC argues in a new opinion where it also makes the case for an EU "competitiveness agenda".

Euro-Med cooperation after COVID-19: civil society organisations key to keeping the economy and society running

The EESC's December plenary session featured a debate on the reconstruction and resilience of the Euro-Mediterranean region following the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on digital literacy.

To communicate fundamental rights and the rule of law effectively, the EU must focus on community-based values and human stories

The EESC calls on the EU and Member States to work on better communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law towards the general public. In an opinion adopted in December, the Committee suggests focusing on fairness and justice and giving a voice to those who experience human rights violations first-hand.

Asbestos: the EU should go beyond the limit value proposed by the Commission

The technical limit value for asbestos exposure should ultimately be set at a lower level than the Commission is currently proposing in a recent directive regulating the protection of workers from dangers of occupational asbestos exposure, the EESC said in an opinion adopted at its plenary session in December.

Illicit assets: new EU directive will help combat organised crime

The EESC at its December plenary welcomed the Commission's proposal for a directive on asset recovery and confiscation as an important step towards combatting money laundering and terrorist financing in the EU. Despite a general improvement in some of the Member States, the percentage of criminal assets that are frozen or confiscated remains extremely low across the EU.

European Media Freedom Act: an important cornerstone in the defence of media freedom

The EESC welcomed the European Commission's initiatives for media freedom, but warned that mere recommendations and a soft-law approach would not be enough to ensure that the media in Europe remains free and independent from political, commercial and other types of interference.

Education should be at the heart of sustainable development

Education can help transform societies from fossil-fuel based to circular and sustainable. In an own-initiative opinion adopted in December, the EESC calls for transformative education that empowers young people to contribute to the green transition.


Maritime industry: EESC renews warning on risks to technology sector

The maritime technology sector urgently needs policies and investment to take on international competition, the EESC said in a recent exploratory opinion. The focus should be placed on skills training, finance and market access.

Latin America needs a new social contract to stimulate economic recovery

A new social contract for Latin America is needed, ensuring political accountability, inclusion, social protection and quality employment, said the EESC in an own-initiative opinion on the post-COVID socio-economic situation in Latin America adopted last December. Freely and democratically organised civil societies are the best starting point.

Swedish presidency of the EU: EESC joins conversation around priorities and programme

At a meeting of the EESC held in Stockholm on 15 December, the Swedish State Secretary for EU Affairs Christian Danielsson outlined the political direction of the upcoming Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU, which has asked the EESC to provide input on six key issues.

News from the Groups

2023: time to adopt a competitiveness agenda

By Stefano Mallia, President of the EESC Employers' Group

The first six months of 2023 are the right time to push for a competitiveness agenda to be made a top priority for the EU. 

Visions of forced labour: an ILO exhibition at the EESC

By the EESC Workers' Group

An ILO exhibition displayed at the EESC last December presented the best cartoons from an ILO competition conveying the harrowing stories of people trapped in forced labour all over the world. 

Séamus Boland re-elected President of the Civil Society Organisations' Group

By the EESC Civil Society Organisations' Group

On 14 December, members of the Civil Society Organisations' Group of the EESC re-elected Séamus Boland as group president for another two and a half years, by acclamation.