by the Diversity Europe Group
Since 18 April, Arno Metzler has officially been president of Group III for the 2018-2020 term of office.
A lawyer with his own practice in Germany since 1983, he has also represented the German liberal professions at the EESC since 2002. Before becoming Group president, he served as vice-president with responsibility for SMEs, Liberal Professions and the Rules of Procedure.
A great Europhile, he deeply believes in the benefits of the EU as a complementary layer of governance and identity. To him, it is crucial that a great deal of energy is focused on 'selling' Europe and its values of tolerance, plurality and inclusion.
Considering that diversity is the strength of our Group, one of his first decisions as president was to change its name from the Various Interests Group to the Diversity Europe Group – "a new wording which is clearer, more catchy and which reveals our pride in our diversity".
Combatting prejudice and populism through responsibility and diversity will be one of the major priorities of his term of office. A study on the rise of populism in non-metropolitan areas has already been commissioned and will provide the EESC with a better understanding of the factors influencing the public appeal of populism and of the way in which civil society organisations seek to counter it, with a view to doing more to support their activities. The findings of this publication will be presented during a Group conference to be held in Austria in October. Mr Metzler's term of office will also focus on combatting prejudice and promoting diversity through education.
In the next two and a half years, his work will be supported by the seven newly elected vice-presidents: B.MILTOVIČA (LV), K. BALON (PL), S. BOLAND (IE), A. GAJDOSIK (AT), M. MACIULEVICIUS (LT), P. TRANTINA (CZ), I. VARDAKASTANIS (EL).(ih)