The Grassroots View - S3, E 25 – A digital Europe: between regulation and innovation

In this episode of The Grassroots View we take stock of digital transformation in Europe. Digital innovation has the power to transform our industries, societies and lives. It can also be a threat if not properly regulated. Where does the EU stand compared to the rest of the world? What are the challenges and opportunities ahead? How can Europe secure and hold a competitive position, while safeguarding the rights and welfare of its people?

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One year of war in Ukraine

On 24 February 2022, when the war in Ukraine started, we at the EESC immediately condemned the unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian government.

Over the last year, we expressed our solidarity with the Ukrainian people in many ways, calling for firm actions at both EU and national level. I am proud of the Committee and its hard work to assess the consequences of the war on Ukrainian and European people and businesses and how to best support Ukraine and its civil society.


Diary Dates

To the point

In our column "To the point", we have asked Stoyan Tchoukanov to tell us, in a nutshell, what the EESC is proposing to improve the new Urban Wastewater Directive. (ehp)

Stoyan Tchoukanov: "We have gone too far with pollution"

With its opinion the EESC calls on the European institutions to start addressing water as a priority and develop an "EU Blue Deal": a radical effort to anticipate needs, preserve water resources and adequately manage related challenges through a comprehensive and coordinated roadmap.

One question to...

"One question to…"

In this edition, we ask María del Carmen Barrera Chamorro about another aspect of the thorny issue of energy, which we also addressed last month.  



Maria del Carmen Barrera Chamorro: "An energy transition that works for jobs"

EESC Info: What is the impact of the energy transition on employment in regions undergoing the transition and what are the EESC's proposals to address them?

Maria del Carmen Barrera Chamorro: Experiences so far have varied widely, with some successes and many failures. But ensuring the success of the energy transition when it comes to jobs is paramount. Without guarantees of sustainable employment, social protection and business support for the transition, there will be no competitive and healthy future in Europe.

The surprise guest

The surprise guest

Tetyana Ogarkova is a Ukrainian journalist, essayist and literary scholar based in Kyiv. In our 2022 special issue dedicated to Ukraine, she was our first guest to explain the tragedy surrounding the war in her country. Now, in February 2023, one year on from the start of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, she shares with us her thoughts on the experience of this year of death and suffering and the lasting impact it has had on the Ukrainian people's collective psyche.


Tetyana Ogarkova: "The day of victory will come but it will not bring normality back"

On 24 February 2022, the lives of millions of Ukrainians were turned upside down. Now, when we say the word "victory", we expect that day to be the way things used to be. A normal day, a day of peace, a 23 February 2022 one might say.

But no. For us, there will never be another 23 February. There will never be another day the way things were before.


Thank you to our 2022 guests

As we approach the first anniversary of Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine, we would like to thank the journalists, writers, photographers and activists from across Europe who have shared their stories and testimonies with us throughout this first year of war: Nadija Afanasieva, Vitaly Portnikov, Olga Czaiko, Tetyana Ogarkova, Olena Abramovych, Olga Vegera, Vasyl Kushmus, Kostas Onisenko, Marta Barandiy, Jowita Kiwnik, Slawek Kaminski. (ehp)



EU competitiveness is becoming more important than ever

At the EESC's January plenary session, EESC members discussed the EU's response to geopolitical challenges with Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. She agreed with EESC President Christa Schweng that competitiveness, together with more strategic autonomy, is crucial in the current challenging times.

2023 Swedish Council Presidency: Ukraine still tops the agenda

The Swedish government at the EESC January plenary stressed that crisis management measures will be the focus of its six months at the helm of the EU. Guaranteeing security for Europeans and upholding the rule of law and fundamental rights will be the main priorities of its presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to June 2023.


Single market should serve people, and not the other way around

To mark the EU single market's 30th anniversary this year, the EESC's January plenary hosted a debate with commissioner Margrethe Vestager to discuss ways to overcome what could be the biggest challenge for the next generation.

Sustainable development network warns about risk of a "lost decade for the 2030 Agenda"

A debate held at the EESC on 24 January revealed that the EU is failing to meet the objectives of the UN's 2030 Agenda. Yet there is hope. The EU has the opportunity to take the lead, including through financial support. The EESC plays an important role in monitoring progress.

The EU must ban forced labour products and uphold human rights

The EU must fight all forms of forced labour and become a world leader on human rights, urged the EESC in an opinion adopted at its January plenary session.


Energy price crisis: the EU must support consumers and businesses

The EU's response to the energy price crisis should aim to protect all households and businesses facing major problems paying their energy bills. This was the main message of the EESC's opinion on Euro area economic policy 2023 adopted at its January plenary.

The EU should step up international cooperation to protect oceans

Increased international cooperation is key to make oceans sustainable by 2030 and ensure security and safety at sea, says the EESC in a new opinion adopted at its January plenary session.

Security is more than defence

At its January plenary session, the EESC debated the EU's "Strategic Compass" vision for security and defence, arguing that security should be understood broadly, far beyond military defence. Civil society should not be a bystander in security issues: in times of crisis, it can have a stabilising role, as proven by the war in Ukraine.

The EU's new care strategy is a litmus test for social Europe

The European Commission's proposal for a comprehensive European care strategy that should guarantee to all Europeans the possibility of receiving high quality healthcare and care services throughout their lifetime has been welcomed by the EESC.


News from the Groups

The Green Deal Industrial Plan: A work in progress that must deliver a Competitiveness Agenda

By Stefano Mallia, President of the EESC Employers' Group

The Commission's proposal is incomplete and needs to be inserted into a long-term vision for a Competitiveness Agenda.

On 1 February 2023, the European Commission presented its first response to US President Joe Biden's unprecedented climate package, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), supporting American industry with a record USD 369 billion in subsidies. The proposal ticks many boxes –predictable regulatory framework, access to funding, adequate skilled workforce and open trade agenda – but after a first assessment, EU employers concur it is very much a work in progress if we are to achieve long-term competitiveness.

Strong social dialogue for a genuinely social Europe

by the EESC Workers' Group

The EESC Workers' Group warmly welcomes the social dialogue initiative recently published by the European Commission. It sends a strong signal to EU workers and citizens who are currently faced with a serious cost-of-living crisis.

Building skills to make the labour market open to everyone

by Ioannis Vardakastanis, Vice-President of the EESC Civil Society Organisations' Group

The European Year of Skills should be an opportunity to bridge gaps – a year to address the barriers preventing many in the EU from being able to find quality and fulfilling employment. At a time when the EU's workforce is dwindling, it is more important than ever to focus on tapping the potential of those who are too often cut off from the open labour market by investing in skills.

Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

Civil Society Days 2023

This year's Civil Society Days will shine a light on the fundamental role of civil society organisations in ensuring and safeguarding both social cohesion and resilient democracy in Europe.

Students welcome EESC members in run up to Your Europe, Your Say!

Members of the European Economic and Social Committee are visiting thirty-five schools in the EU Member States, and seven candidate countries in February and March to prepare them for "Your Europe, Your Say!", the youth assembly to be held in Brussels on 23 and 24 March 2023.