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Better the balance, better the EU

Dear Readers,

In recent years, many European countries have celebrated the centenary of women gaining the vote, or will shortly do so. This victory was the fruit of long, hard, and sometimes bloody battles fought by the generations of women who came before us. How better to mark this turning-point in the history of our societies than for all women to exercise this right together?

Diary Dates

In short

"Civil society for rEUnaissance" - What Europe do we want after the European elections?

At the invitation of Luca Jahier, EESC president, the Civil society for rEUnaissance event will take place on 21 February. The discussions will enable organised civil society to speak out and the EU institutions to voice their hopes and expectations and to share their vision of Europe for the period following the European elections.

Students across Europe welcome EESC members in preparation for Your Europe, Your Say!

Members of the European Economic and Social Committee are visiting thirty-three schools throughout February to prepare them for Your Europe, Your Say, the youth assembly that is now in its tenth year and is taking place in Brussels under the slogan "#YEYSturns10: Vote for the future!"


Michel Barnier at the EESC: "The worst thing for Europe is silence"

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, attended the European Economic and Social Committee's 540th plenary session to outline the EU's views on the Brexit deal and possible future scenarios.

No-deal Brexit threatens viability of aeronautics and chemical industries in both UK and EU

At a high level discussion on Brexit's impact on the aeronautics and chemical industries, organised by the Consultative Commission for Industrial Change (CCMI) at the EESC, speakers agreed that the UK should stay aligned with EU laws, and that for chemicals, the REACH regulation was key.

EESC to call for legal recognition of philanthropic activities in EU

Contributions from philanthropic sources in Europe amount to almost EUR 90 billion annually, but unlike commercial companies, philanthropic foundations or private donors cannot enjoy the benefits of the European single market, making it difficult for them to extend their charitable work across borders.

EESC pushes for reform of WTO in line with EU values

At its plenary session on 24 January, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted an opinion calling for ambitious reform of the World Trade Organization in order to overcome the current crisis while highlighting EU values and the EU's leading role in sustainability.

Civil society wants to monitor EU free trade agreements more closely

The EESC adopted at its January plenary session an opinion on strengthening the role of Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs) in monitoring the implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed by the European Union. DAGs are already responsible for supervising the implementation of FTAs in the areas of sustainable development and labour standards, but the EESC wants to extend this monitoring role to all aspects of the agreements, including the core trade provisions.

EESC debate with Romanian presidency: time to reconnect people with Europe

The EESC's January plenary session hosted a debate with Romania's Prime Minister, Vasilica‑Viorica Dăncilă, on the priorities of the Romanian EU presidency for the first semester of 2019. EESC President Luca Jahier underlined how important it was, on the eve of the EU elections, to restore the trust of the European people in politics.

Cognitive minorities could help solve skills mismatch in tomorrow's labour market

How to tap into the potential of the so-called "cognitive minorities –people with high-functioning autism, hyperactivity, dyslexia and dyspraxia - to meet the demand for some technical skills which are in short supply, thereby also helping them integrate socially was the topic of a presentation given at the EESC's TEN section meeting back in January.

EESC backs creation of European centre for cybersecurity

The EESC supports the Commission's initiative to create a European industrial, technological and research competence centre for cybersecurity and a network of national coordination centres. The objective is to help the Union develop technological and industrial cybersecurity capacities and increase the competitiveness of the Union's cybersecurity industry.

Building resilience must be a top priority for the euro area in 2019

Javier Doz Orrit

In 2019 it will be of the utmost importance for the euro area economies to build up economic and labour market resilience, taking into account the current economic outlook, says the EESC in its opinion  on the Commission's 2019 economic policy recommendations for the euro area.

Despite great potential, success of proposed VAT reform cannot be taken for granted

VAT tax reform

A new VAT system for taxing trade between Member States must realise its full potential and limit any possible negative effects on the single market, says the EESC in its opinion on the Commission's proposal. Greater cooperation between authorities and extensive communication will be key to the successful implementation of the proposal.


EESC hearing urges global solution for taxation in the digitalised economy

An effective world-wide solution for taxing businesses in the digitalised economy aimed at preventing further unilateral action and ensuring sustainable growth, investment, tax certainty and fairness, was called for by international tax experts and civil society representatives at a hearing held by the EESC on 29 January.

Creative Europe 2021-2027: EESC calls for budget increase and special promotion under Horizon 2020

The creative sector in Europe has great potential, but needs more support to fully develop and become a serious competitive player on the world market.  Other branches, including the textile, tourism, automotive, construction and health industries, would also benefit from an ambitious cultural and creative sector. 

Time to break the mourning silence on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Luca Jahier

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.

News from the Groups

Employers' projects for the Romanian Presidency

by the EESC's Employers' Group

Cohesion, a common European value – this is the slogan of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019. The Employers' Group sees a number of synergies between the priorities of the Romanian Presidency and its own political goals. That is why the Group is planning a joint event during the presidency, focusing on entrepreneurship.

EESC's Workers' Group welcomes agreement on work-life balance

by the EESC's Workers Group

On 24 January the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Member States reached an agreement on the work-life balance directive"This agreement is a concrete step towards making the lives of European working parents and carers easier," said Gaby Bischoff, president of the Workers' Group at the EESC.

Societies Outside Metropolises: the role of civil society organisations in facing populism

by the EESC's Diversity Europe Group

Populism in the EU is currently at its highest levels since the 1930s. In this context, the EESC's Diversity Europe Group has carried out a study on Societies Outside Metropolises: the Role of Civil Society Organisations in Facing Populism, which is now available online.

Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

Culture events at the EESC: what's on

The EESC organises cultural events to draw larger audiences into the debates that are at the heart of its work, to highlight the European dimension of an artist's work or to shine a light on lesser-known European artists worth discovering outside national borders. The 2019 programme has something for everyone.