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.
"Populism, which is rising dangerously in European countries, cannot be fought with words. The European Union must provide tangible answers to citizens' need for security and for work for themselves and a future for their children", said EESC president Georges Dassis. "We want a Union that can deliver equal opportunities for all. To tackle populism, to counter the frustration felt by the most vulnerable people in our countries, we must now bring social aspects to the fore, without of course letting the EU economy fall apart."
Georges Dassis called for a European finance minister, who will be accountable and elected. He mentioned the upcoming European elections and expressed support for transnational lists that could ensure that the views of citizens would be heeded, "otherwise elections will be about national, not European issues", he stressed.
As a side event to the conference, Georges Dassis received an award from the Greek Economic and Social Committee (ESC) for his commitment to, and support for, social dialogue in Europe. (ks)