Episode 7: Getting the European air industry back off the ground

Caught in the crossfire of the COVID-19 and climate crises, will the European air industry be able to take off again after months of grounding? We hear the views of Thomas Kropp, senior advisor to Lufthansa and EESC rapporteur on the waiving of airport slot rules during COVID-19, Saim Saeed, mobility reporter at Politico Europe, and Agathe Bounfour, who is in charge of transport policies at Climate Action Network France.

Dessine - moi... (Draw me...)

Our "Draw me ..." column is taking shape. More stories have come in from members, full of sincerity, a desire for dialogue and the need to share.

We would like to thank Martina Širhalová, Lucie Studničná, Judith Vorbach, Lidija Pavić-Rogošić, Maurizio Reale, Arnold Puech D’Alissac, José María Zufiaur Narvaiza, Carlos Trias Pintó and Yves Somville for sharing with us their feelings about this surprising period, which we have had to reinvent to fully live.

Now it's your turn to read and enjoy these slices of life from our authors and what they have to say. In spite of their linguistic, cultural and geographical differences, all these accounts have one thing in common – they share the same urge to find out and define what really matters in life.

You can read all these articles by clicking on the following link: https://www.eesc.europa.eu/news-media/eesc-info/072020#a80402

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A Brexit no-deal will lead us to an economic nightmare

Dear readers,

Four rounds of Brexit talks have been completed despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet we have made little headway.

Following the UK's formal announcement that it would not seek to extend its post-Brexit transition period beyond the end of this year, the high-level meeting between  Prime Minister Boris Johnson  and the three EU Presidents on 15 June saw both sides agree on the urgency of ending the stalemate in the negotiations on the future relationship and creating the conditions most likely to bring about a ratified deal by the end of 2020.

Diary Dates

1 July 2020

Let's talk Youth, Employment and Covid-19! - webinar

15 - 16 July 2020, Brussels

EESC plenary session

Dessine - moi...

Maurizio Reale: "Thank you" to the farmers

During the lockdown I experienced shifts in my state of mind. Initially, I was deeply concerned about the ravages of the pandemic in my country. And then a few weeks later, as the coronavirus hit the rest of the European Union, I found myself reflecting on how best to tackle this dramatic situation, one that I would never have dreamt I would have to live through in my lifetime.

Lucie Studničná : "The explosion of solidarity makes me cry"

My experience over the past few weeks – much like everybody else's – has been unique and very enriching.

On March 11, I returned from Brussels late at night feeling very tired. It was clear we would not be travelling in the following days because of the unknown threats posed by COVID-19, and I was happy about the unexpected opportunity to spend some quiet days in my office. But things took a different turn.

Carlos Trias Pinto: "This crisis is a stark warning that we need to overhaul the way we live"

At the beginning, my main concern was to bring my family all together again, as my eldest son was studying in the US. The family reunion was an inspirational moment.

Martina Širhalová: "Our shared goal has to be keeping as many jobs as possible"

Over the past few weeks I have been through more than I might have wished. I still have very mixed feelings and countless aspects of COVID-19 keep jostling for position in my mind, which is perhaps perfectly natural given the circumstances. I did not take the pandemic too seriously when it started.

Judith Vorbach: "Dominance of the online world during the corona crisis"

I still remember very clearly the day when public life shut down: it was Friday 13 March. The mood on the streets of Linz was unusually tense. There was something in the air − and it wasn't long after that the lockdown began.

Lidija Pavić-Rogošić: When an earthquake strikes in the middle of a pandemic

Three months have passed since the lockdown was brought in. Cities are now starting to reopen, and it is a good time to reflect on what has happened, as the rapidly spreading virus has touched upon all aspects of our personal and community life.

Arnold Puech d’Alissac: "We've lost all our restaurant-owner clients, but farm sales have doubled"

Journalists explained to the French people that as the lockdown spread across the European Union, France had to get ready.

José María Zufiaur: Living with the lockdown

My main concern over the last few months has been for the EU to deal with this crisis in a way that reflects its original project and its structure, which are based on certain values, a single market and a currency zone that includes most of its Member States.

Yves Somville: Lessons from the crisis

As someone living in the countryside and mad about gardening, I have to confess that I have not suffered unduly from the lockdown, apart from no longer being able to see family and friends.

Evangelia Kekeleki: "Ensure that all Member States have equal access to vaccine therapies and diagnostic tests"

I didn't find it particularly difficult to stay at home during the lockdown. There were a number of things I'd been putting off doing for years. So I had the chance to get down to them and was glad to be able to sort them out. The family photos and mementoes that I'd collected from our parents' houses were all mixed up, so I sorted through them. Putting them in order like this was very emotional. I kept myself busy with activities I'd missed, such as handicrafts, baking, cooking, making traditional Greek liqueurs, jams and preserves - things I don't normally have the time for when I'm trying to keep up with the hectic demands of my job.

New publications

Participatory Democracy - A success story written by the EESC

A recent EESC publication brings together all the opinions and reports which, over the last thirty years, have enabled the EESC and civil society organisations to strengthen participatory democracy and become a key player in the European decision-making process.


Michel Barnier: “We cannot accept the UK’s attempts to cherry-pick our Single Market benefits”

At its June plenary session, the EESC hosted a debate with Michel Barnier, head of the EU task force for relations with the United Kingdom, on the state of play of the Brexit negotiations.

EESC proposals for post-COVID-19 recovery and restructuring: towards a new model of society

At its June plenary session, the EESC adopted a resolution containing proposals for a post-COVID-19 recovery and restructuring plan. It suggests taking the crisis as an opportunity to build a new model of society: “We cannot simply restore what existed in the past: we need to restructure and improve it.”

United for the future of Europe: now is the time for action

Solidarity and cooperation in the EU are central to jump-starting the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at the June plenary session, Luca Jahier, president of the EESC, and Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, agreed that the role of cohesion policy in the Commission's European recovery plan and in the revised, more ambitious Multiannual Financial Framework proposal was crucial.

«I can’t breathe». The EESC's tribute to George Floyd

On 10 June, just before the plenary session, several EESC Committee and staff members kneeled in tribute to George Floyd, a US citizen killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Before observing 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, EESC President Luca Jahier honoured the memory of George Floyd and of all those who had suffered similar violence over the years.

The #Icantbreathe cry is a lesson for us all to call for Justice, against racism

Joint statement by Luca Jahier, President of the EESC and José Antonio Moreno Díaz, President of the EESC's Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FRRL)

On 25 May, Mr George Floyd, a 46-year-old US citizen, died of asphyxia during his arrest by an officer of the Minneapolis Police Department. As the shocking images of this brutal arrest of an African-American citizen spread across the world, a growing wave of protests in the USA and beyond shook people's consciences.

Investment Plan must live up to Green Deal ambitions

All EU institutions and Member States should deploy a rapid and aligned solidarity-based response to the coronavirus pandemic, adopting additional measures to promote sustainable investments with a view to funding the European Green Deal, advised the EESC in a recent opinion package.

Coronavirus response: EESC backs Commission proposal to adjust EU banking prudential rules

The EU's banking prudential rules need to be temporarily amended so that resources can be freed up and used as effectively as possible to address the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the EESC asserted in one of its latest opinions.

Next Generation EU recovery plan – An example of solidarity in times of uncertainty

On 2 June, a few days after the European Commission presented its proposal for a major recovery plan to face the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EESC organised an online debate to assess whether the plan rose to the challenge. All participants agreed on the importance of this ambitious initiative as an example of solidarity between all EU Member States in times of uncertainty.

Could COVID-19 be a game-changer for migration?

On 20 May, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Luca Jahier, hosted a webinar entitled Migration in times of COVID-19, the unforgotten tragedy, waiting for the new EU Pact.

Time to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy

The EESC welcomes the conclusions of the European Council of 23 April and supports the resolution by the European Parliament to place the European Green Deal at the heart of the upcoming EU recovery and reconstruction package.

News from the Groups

Businesses will play a key role in tackling the coronavirus crisis

By Employers' Group member Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala

The coronavirus crisis has changed the operating environment of businesses in a radical way. Businesses have experienced liquidity problems, disruptions to supply chains, and obstacles to the free movement of people, goods and services. Yet when the worst of the crisis has been overcome, it will be businesses that will boost the recovery of the EU economy. Tackling the coronavirus crisis will thus involve a joint effort on the part of the public and private sectors, one which calls for close cooperation.

EESC resolution for a post-COVID-19 recovery: the perspective of the Workers' Group

By the Workers' Group

The EESC resolution clearly indicates the need for our society to be rebuilt based on solidarity: solidarity with care providers, with all the workers who have made huge sacrifices to support society in this difficult time, with people who have lost their jobs, but also with employers who are struggling to save businesses and jobs; solidarity with the parts of the public and private sectors that need immediate aid; and above all solidarity between EU countries, which have a common economic and social objective.

After the coronavirus crisis: recovery through reconstruction

By Jan Dirx, member of the Diversity Europe Group

The European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council President Charles Michel, among others, advocate for a green recovery and reconstruction for the EU after the coronavirus crisis. Lobbyists of the old economic order argue, however, that now is not the time for innovation, but rather to invest in restoring the old system.