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The future is not waiting: Sustainability begins at home

Dear readers,

In August 2018, Greta Thunberg started her school strike and soon many other young people all over Europe joined her protest against the reluctance of the EU and its Member States to take bold actions against climate change.

Diary Dates

In short

EESC toughens up Rules of Procedure and Code of Conduct for members

At its plenary session on 20 February 2019, the EESC adopted a proposal to amend its Rules of Procedure to include a new version of the Code of Conduct for members as an appendix. The new Rules of Procedure and Code of Conduct, which entered into force on 15 March 2019, also take account of the European Parliament's own recently adopted Rules of Procedure, particularly in relation to preventing and combating all forms of harassment.

New publications

2018 Civil Society Media Seminar brochure out now

A new brochure has been published in which readers can find highlights of the debates on Reasserting Europe's values and read insights from our panellists and opening speakers.


"We are fighting for everybody's future", says climate activist Greta Thunberg at the EESC

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed the key role that organised civil society must play for a real "rEUnaissance" at an event held on 21 February 2019 that brought together top leaders of EU institutions and civil society organisations from across Europe just over 90 days ahead of the European elections.

EESC votes in favour of EU-supported decent minimum income

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted the opinion on "For a European Framework directive on a Minimum Income" in which it asked the European Commission to introduce a binding EU framework establishing an adequate minimum income across Europe, tailored to the standard of living in each Member State. 

Commissioner Hogan at EESC: decision on CAP budget lies now with co-legislators

On 20 February, the EESC hosted Commissioner Hogan to talk about the future CAP. Phil Hogan stressed that it was important for the CAP to evolve; aside from food supply, the CAP should also provide other public goods, in exchange for its special position within the EU budget.

EU PEACE programme in Northern Ireland must continue after Brexit

The EESC adopted at its February plenary session an opinion supporting the continuation of the European Peace and Reconciliation Programme (PEACE) in Northern Ireland after the UK's withdrawal from the EU. This continued support is considered as crucial given the sensitivity of the debate on the UK/Ireland border in the context of the Brexit negotiations. 

Fighting against populism is everybody's business

Economic progress and social stability are two key elements in the fight against Euroscepticism, but they alone are not enough: civil society needs to get involved!

At the presentation of the study Societies outside Metropolises: the role of civil society organisations in confronting populism, held on 20 February 2019 in Brussels, the EESC's Diversity Europe Group reviewed the rise of populism in the EU, analysing how and why it had emerged, and highlighting the key role that civil society can play in countering it.

EESC proposes new Sustainable Dietary Guidelines for Europe

Peter Schmidt

Food plays a central role in people's lives and must not only be seen from a nutritional or health point of view, but also from an environmental and social angle. To facilitate such a comprehensive sustainable food system, the EESC proposes the introduction of new Sustainable Dietary Guidelines.

EESC backs EU proposals to ensure air and road freight transport in event of no-deal Brexit

In three opinions adopted in February, the EESC endorses the Commission's proposal to temporarily extend the application of EU legislation to address specific problems which could affect aviation and road freight transport in case of a "no-deal" Brexit.  

2019 Annual Growth Survey: no grounds for complacency

Given the mixed results of past reform policies, it is essential that the EU and the Member States conduct an in-depth evaluation. Despite improvements to date, further reforms and political measures are needed to boost growth and strengthen cohesion and the social dimension of policies, says the EESC in its opinion on the 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS).

EESC hearing makes proposals for more inclusive European semester

EU Member States must strengthen stakeholder involvement in their efforts to reform national economies. Together with a new long-term EU strategy for sustainable development, this could help create a more efficient and inclusive European semester that is prepared to tackle the challenges facing the EU.

No future for the EU without further cohesion

Cohesion policy could be an effective way of addressing societal trends (Euroscepticism, etc.) facing the EU if its funding remained an important source of investment, making Europe more relevant to its citizens, promoting stronger engagement with stakeholders and better communicating its impact.

The energy transition can only be successful if everybody is involved

People's role in the energy transition was at the heart of the agenda of the February meeting of the TEN section, where energy experts showcased their experience of working for citizens.

News from the Groups

Employers' organisations on the European elections

by the EESC's Employers' Group

The business community has to make its voice heard loud and clear in the European election campaign. Employers' organisations should not only emphasise their needs and expectations for the next term of the European Parliament; they should also underline the benefits that the European Union brings to their activities and to people's daily lives.


Oliver Röpke takes over Presidency of Workers' Group

by the EESC's Workers' Group

On 1 March, Oliver Röpke took over as new President of the EESC's Workers' Group, replacing Gabriele Bischoff, who had been President of the group since October 2015.

Diversity Europe Group goes to Belfast to listen to concerns over Brexit

by the EESC's Diversity Europe Group

The Group met at Queen's University in Belfast on 15 February 2019 to take stock of the Brexit process and focus on its consequences for the Northern Ireland peace process.