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The principle of gender equality must play a role in our budget choices

Budgets are not neutral. They can be indicators of the commitment to meeting women's needs, for example, and to achieving gender equality. Therefore, the EESC’s Commission for Financial and Budgetary Affairs, which I preside over, has decided to make an in-depth analysis of Gender Budgeting and look into how it could potentially be applied to the EESC budget in future.

Diary Dates

From Ukraine, on the road to...

Kolya has been living alone with the family’s cat in his apartment, partly destroyed by Russian Air Strikes right in the centre of Irpin. His family fled to France, but he chose to stay, saying that he had to defend their home and their belongings. He proudly showed us the photographs of his children, their medals in ballet and taekwondo, and told us that he is sure he will reunite with them soon, "once this is all over".

"To the point"

In our "To the point" column, EESC members share their views on important issues on the European agenda. Alena  Mastantuono is one of the rapporteurs for the opinion on the security of energy supply, REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy, adopted by the EESC at its May plenary session.

Europe on Russian roulette

The Kremlin's threat to cut off Russian gas bypasses Europe. As well as Poland and Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have joined the list of countries who have fallen foul of the Russian government and seen their gas supplies cut off.

One question to...

One question to…

In this section we invite EESC members to answer a question on a subject they consider to be high on the European agenda.

Luca Jahier: The National Recovery and Resilience Plans are making good progress

EESC info: What is the state of play of the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans in the Member States?

Luca Jahier: One year ago, we were at the very beginning of the process of implementing the Recovery and Resilience Facility, with only very few countries having made progress in the preparation of their national plans. 

The surprise guest

The surprise guest

Each month in this column, we introduce a public figure whose work and commitment are a source of inspiration. Their courage, strength of character and determination to take action set a shining example and their bravery deserves respect. Our guest this month is Kostas Onisenko.

Objectivity or morality? The media's dilemma in reporting the war in Ukraine

Since the Vietnam war, the international journalistic community has gravitated towards objective war reporting, in other words not showing support for either side. This new practice was considered a sign of massive progress in the direction of objectivity, in contrast to the previous practice of embedded journalism where reporters were attached to a country's military. Naturally, this was made possible thanks to the economic growth of the media, but also due to the fact that most conflicts were being fought "away" from the headquarters of the big media companies. These were "foreign" wars so it was relatively easy for journalists to distance themselves emotionally. The war in Ukraine dented this theory and is likely, in the near future, to bring about significant changes to the overall functioning of the media and to their relationship with society and the state.


Charles Michel speaking at the EESC calls for a European Geopolitical Community including Ukraine

Opening the May plenary session, the EESC president Christa Schweng stressed: "United we must face the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the geopolitical challenges ahead. Europe must evolve from a champion in crisis management to a world champion in shaping the future".


A holistic and cohesive migration system can arm Europe against dictators' threats and refugee crises

Responding to the state-sponsored instrumentalisation of migrants at the EU's external borders, the EESC held a conference on this topic, highlighting the momentum behind the Europeanisation of migration policy. So far, authoritarian leaders have instrumentalised humanitarian suffering to blackmail Europe, as they are aware of the gap on migration policy on the continent.

There can be no place for the repression of civil society dialogue in the EU

The European Economic and Social Committee has urged the EU institutions to adopt zero tolerance towards Member State attitudes and practices that hamper the work of civil society and shrink its space in Europe.

Recovery will only succeed if European civil society is systematically involved

The EESC has adopted a new resolution on the involvement of organised civil society in the implementation and monitoring of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs). A recent consultation shows that, contrary to regulation, organised civil society is not involved enough in these plans.

War in Ukraine poses major challenge to EU cohesion policy

Cohesion policy is key to recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing disparities in Europe. A recent EESC opinion cautions that its most serious challenge for the foreseeable future is the war in Ukraine.

EESC calls for an open and secure Schengen area

The war in Ukraine, which has caused an unprecedented flow of refugees to seek shelter in the EU, points to an urgent need for effective, humane and humanitarian common European regulations on migration and asylum in an open but equally secure Schengen area, according to an EESC opinion adopted at its plenary session in May.

The EESC welcomes the long-awaited Social Economy Action Plan

Stronger measures in four specific areas would make it more effective according to the EESC, which is otherwise happy to see that many of its proposals have been taken on board.

Europe must strongly combat the spread of hate speech and hate crime

The EESC supports the European Commission initiative to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech in an opinion adopted at its May plenary, and encourages the Council to take on this proposal.

Decent work: Business should never be done at the expense of people's dignity and freedom

A steep rise in child and forced labour as well as continued exploitation of workers across the globe make EU action on decent work increasingly more urgent.

The EU must break down barriers to employment for young people with disabilities

An EESC hearing held on 8 April, which brought together leading actors in disability policy, including social partners and civil society organisations, points to the need to increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities, especially young people. Despite legal efforts, data shows that many of them are still facing discrimination in the world of work due to stereotypes portraying them as unproductive.

New funding sources for EU budget must be stable, fair and business-friendly

The Committee is calling on the European Commission to carry out more targeted impact assessments of its proposals for new EU budget funding sources to repay NextGenerationEU debt.

Competition policy should match the EU's new ambitions

Merger, antitrust and State aid control rules should be overhauled to serve the Union's climate and digital ambitions and help achieve strategic autonomy, all of which will require massive investment. Two new EESC opinions explain how this overhaul should be done.

A sustainable packaging industry would be a pivot point in protecting the planet

In an opinion, adopted at May's plenary session, the EESC recommends that the European Commission and national governments, in consultation with all stakeholders inside the packaging industry, take the necessary steps throughout each product's life cycle to increase the industry's sustainability.


Restoring sustainable carbon cycles: EESC supports European Commission's view

In an opinion adopted in its May plenary, the EESC supports the European Commission's communication on sustainable carbon cycles and says it believes that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must provide the strategic framework paving the way for a low-carbon transition in agriculture.

EESC says secure and affordable energy supply is a priority

Energy independence is key for Europe's future: the EU needs to secure its energy supplies as soon as possible, breaking free from Russian gas and drastically accelerating the transition to clean energy. This is the main takeaway of the opinion "REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy", drafted by Thomas Kattnig, Alena Mastantuono and Simo Tiainen, and adopted at the May plenary session.

The EESC calls for more concrete action to support and protect independent Belarusian journalists

Since August 2020, the authoritarian regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko has carried out a mass attack on civil society, independent journalists, bloggers and writers in Belarus. The EESC published an information report on the media situation in the country, making recommendations on how to assist Belarusian media companies and journalists who have fled the country and those who are left behind fighting the regime.

Western Balkans Youth need tanglible policies for their future

Participants in the hearing "Youth Policy in the Western Balkans (WBs), as part of the Innovation Agenda for the WBs", held by the EESC, reaffirmed the importance of young people for the future of the region. They also pointed to the "brain drain" problem and how transforming this into "brain circulation" could stimulate economic growth and development in the Western Balkans.

Running for Ukraine

On behalf of the EESC, vice-president Giulia Barbucci participated in the 42nd edition of the Brussels 20-km run on 29 May, along with representatives of other EU institutions, including Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament.

News from the Groups

The European Chips Act – an important initiative with some question marks

By Heiko Willems, EESC Employers' Group

Semiconductors are an essential component of many different economic sectors and areas of life – both for industry and consumers. Moreover, the green and digital transition targets cannot be met without semiconductors. The European Chips Act, presented by the European Commission on 8 February 2022, should guarantee the EU's security of supply, resilience and technological leadership in semiconductor technologies and applications.

Ensuring citizens' demands are followed up on after the Conference on the Future of Europe

By the EESC Workers' Group

After a year of intense work, the Conference on the Future of Europe has finally issued its recommendations, presenting a set of ambitious proposals for a fairer, stronger Europe put forward by citizens from all over Europe, working together with social partners and other actors.



Civil Society Organisations' Group is the new name of the EESC's Diversity Europe Group

By the EESC Civil Society Organisations' Group

On 18 May 2022, the Diversity Europe Group (Group III) of the European Economic and Social Committee decided unanimously to change its name to "Civil Society Organisations' Group". The change of name enters into force with immediate effect.

Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

Biodiversity: artists take action

A new generation of artists are placing biodiversity and nature at the heart of their creative activity. The online exhibition "Biodiversity: artists take action", highlights the connection between humans and nature in a truly unique way. In conjunction with the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, it will run from 20 May to 20 June 2022.