The involvement of organised civil society is far from satisfactory in most EU countries, warned the EESC at the annual conference of its European Semester Group, held remotely on 31 May.
The conference on Building a resilient Europe – Civil society and the National Recovery and Resilience Plans saw contributions from key speakers from EU institutions, National Economic and Social Councils, think tanks and EU civil society organisations. It focused on three topics: the involvement of organised civil society in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs), the just transition towards a green, digital and sustainable European economy and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Committee president Christa Schweng opened the debate by stressing the challenge of transforming this crisis into a set of new possibilities. One particular challenge is to successfully unlock the potential of the Recovery and Resiliency Facility: "Most Member States did not engage in sufficient consultation with organised civil society, or did so too late", noted Ms Schweng. "The situation now is a series of National Recovery and Resilience Plans that vary substantially in quality and methodology and we really wonder whether the plans are actually meeting the needs on the ground".
Tiziano Treu, president of the Italian National Economic and Social Council (CNEL), said that the role of the Conference on the Future of Europe was to outline a new form of European governance, which needs to be simplified and made more effective, and must include proper rules to ensure the involvement of organised civil society.
European Semester Group vice-president Luca Jahier said: "A stronger 'Citizens' Pillar', encompassing organised civil society and regional and local authorities, in an alliance with national parliaments, will be crucial to ensure that reform processes and investments are properly monitored and bring about the necessary involvement of legitimate stakeholders". (na)