Frans Timmermans meets European youth leaders at the EESC

Cillian Lohan, Frans Timmermans, Stefan Rahmstorf and Youth representatives

The EESC opinion on structured youth engagement on climate and sustainability in the EU decision-making process proposed the establishment of a Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Table, to be hosted by the EESC in conjunction with the European Commission, European Parliament and youth organisations.

The Commission welcomed the initiative as a useful tool to strengthen the EESC's consultative role and give the younger generation an opportunity to share its views on the European Green Deal. The first meeting, with 11 youth representatives, took place on 13 July 2021, attended by Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

"Thanks to you, the sense of urgency in our population is greater. We all have to work hard without expecting it to be for our own benefit, but rather for that of future generations. Some of you may think that we are not doing enough, but I promise I'm pushing as far as I can, and hopefully we can find some common ground to fight the good fight", emphasised Vice-President Timmermans.

During the meeting, the young representatives presented Mr Timmermans with a paper, initiated by Generation Climate Europe and the European Youth Forum, with specific proposals relating to the EU economic system, including the EU's management of natural resources and progress indicators.

Cillian Lohan, EESC Vice-President concluded: "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redress systemic inequalities and transition away from unsustainable practices. However, young people need support. The ecosystem of activism needs encouragement, nourishing, and real space in the EU policy arena. Spaces for dialogue are only valuable if they are followed by action. Let's do it!" (mr)