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Dear readers,

This will be my last editorial as EESC Vice-President responsible for Communication.

The last two and a half years have been full of challenges, joy, responsibility and a number of concerns.

It is not up to me to take stock of this term of office in charge of Communication at the Committee. Rather, I should like to take the opportunity to say a few words of gratitude to everyone.

I take work at the Committee very seriously. Being a member of this European Union advisory body provides a real opportunity to make a positive contribution to the European process and venture.


Diary Dates

15/03/2018 - 16/03/2018 Brussels
Your Europe, Your Say!
20/03/2018 Sofia
European Consumer Day
10/04/2018 Brussels
ECI DAY 2018: Working Together
18/04/2018 - 19/04/2018 Brussels
EESC's plenary session

In short

United in diversity: a younger future for European culture

The motto of the European Union is incorporated in the title of the ninth annual Your Europe, Your Say! event (YEYS), which will be held on 15 and 16 March. The EESC's youth event will be devoted to the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

The future of democracy in Europe is directly linked to a peaceful and federal Europe

The future of democracy in Europe was debated at a two-day European-level conference organised by EESC president Georges Dassis at the Acropolis museum in Athens on 1-2 March. In a room full of actively engaged participants from EU institutions, the Greek government, civil society organisations and universities, Georges Dassis clearly made the case for a federal, peaceful Europe which champions solidarity and the well-being of its citizens.


EU legislation should include more measures to ensure rights of women with disabilities

Women with disabilities should be able to take decisions on matters that concern them and be fairly represented in public institutions, disability organisations said at a conference on "Women with disabilities in the EU: the situation and the way forward" at the European Economic and Social Committee.


Turkey's role in the refugee crisis is crucial, but there is room for improvement

In an opinion adopted at the February plenary, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said it recognised Turkey's efforts in hosting more than three million refugees, but stressed the need for it to grant them the non-discriminatory protection required by international law.

EESC invited to take part in Emmanuel Macron's European citizen consultations project

The EESC has a vital role to play in the public consultations proposed by the French President, since the initiatives taken daily by the EESC, enabling civil society to have a say in shaping Europe at the highest level, are fundamentally in line with the idea behind the consultations. This was the message conveyed by Nathalie Loiseau, French minister for European affairs, in her address to the EESC plenary in Brussels on 15 February.

Lessons learned from austerity make a change of policy mandatory

Lessons learned

Future crisis management should strive for a better balance between fiscal and social objectives to avoid adverse effects on the economic capacity, labour markets and social protection systems of the countries concerned. Instead of restrictive austerity, the EU institutions should implement policies in pursuit of economic cooperation, growth and solidarity, urges the EESC in its own-initiative opinion on Lessons learned for avoiding the severity of austerity policies.


EESC puts forward proposals to make cybersecurity a reality

The EU should strengthen ENISA's mandate as the EU cybersecurity agency, create a certification framework at European level, and focus on the education and protection of internet users.

Reforming the ESFS is an important step towards completing the CMU

Financial integration

Advocating swift establishment of the Capital Markets Union (CMU), the EESC endorses the Commission's proposals aimed at reforming the bodies of the European System of Financial Supervision (ESFS) by increasing their competences and improving their governance and funding.

EESC is calling for more public investment to promote economic growth in the EU

In its recent opinion on the Commission's Annual Growth Survey (AGS) for 2018, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) pointed to the strategic importance of the European Semester, but said that it advocated expanding it with a purpose, in order to ensure not only the economic and social, but also the environmental sustainability of the EU's macroeconomic policies.

The EU must take action as regards the medical technology sector

The European institutions must spearhead the optimising of Europe's medical technology industry, as its performance is currently plagued by excessive fragmentation and growing competition pressures, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said at its plenary session on 14 February.

Climate action: we need to send a strong signal to non-state actors

In its opinion on Boosting climate actions by non-state actors, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) proposes a European Dialogue, the main goal of which would be to make engagement in climate change more attractive to the various non-state stakeholders so that it becomes the new business as usual.

EESC says Commission's proposal on free flow of non-personal data in the EU lacks ambition

The European Commission's proposal is overdue, and lacks ambition, consistency, and convincing mechanisms for its effective implementation.

Leaving no one behind: EESC committed to making circular economy "business as usual"

Opening the Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference at the European Commission on February 20, EESC president Georges Dassis said: "the transition to a circular economy is a great opportunity for civil society. It is already happening on the ground…. However, we need to ensure that it is widely accepted. Leaving no one behind is one of the objectives of the Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, a crucial space in which to forge this kind of shared vision of the transition to a circular and sustainable European economy".

The EESC calls on EU Member States to speed up completion of the EMU

The Member States must urgently work on a stable, prosperous and more resilient EMU. Therefore, further measures at national and EU level are needed: this is one of the main conclusions of a public debate on completing the EMU, recently hosted by the EESC.

EESC at European Industry Day

"The challenges for Europe's industry are extraordinary, and no single Member State can meet them alone. But the opportunities are also enormous. We have to grab them to keep our lead in the many sectors where we have it and get it back where we have almost lost it to competitors".

News from the Groups

Employers to discuss measures to bridge the skills gap

by the Employers' Group

The Employers’ Group, together with major Bulgarian employers’ associations, is holding a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria on 22 March entitled Bridging the skills gap for growth and job creation – a business perspective. The panellists will share best practices and discuss tangible solutions for addressing the skills gap. The event is part of the calendar of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Gabriele Bischoff on International Women's Day

On International Women's Day we celebrate women, remembering not only what we have achieved, but what still lies ahead of us. This year the Workers' Group is focusing particularly on men. Why focus on men on a day that celebrates women? Because gender equality is not just a women's issue. Without engaging men we will never achieve true gender equality.

EESC's Various Interests Group calls for innovation in civil society

by the EESC's Various Interests Group

An extraordinary meeting of the Various Interests Group held on 15 February saw the presentation of a study entitled The future evolution of civil society in the European Union by 2030. The EESC had commissioned the Centre for information service, cooperation and development of NGOs (CNVOS - Slovenia) and the European Network of National Civil Society Associations (ENNA) to carry out the study. 

Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

The Cyrillic Alphabet - the New Alphabet in the European Union

In the framework of the Bulgarian EU Presidency, the EESC is hosting the exhibition "The Cyrillic Alphabet - the New Alphabet in the European Union" from 15 March to 24 May 2018.