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Editorial

The summer holidays are here! An ideal moment to wind down and recharge our batteries, but also an opportunity to broaden our horizons - crossing borders, discovering new cultures, learning new languages or finding new sources of inspiration.

And then back to work, with new prospects all round such as the arrival of the new European Parliament and European Commission.

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Diary Dates

In short

Civil Society Prize in 2019 dedicated to the empowerment of women

The EESC dedicates its flagship Civil Society Prize in 2019 to the empowerment of women and fight for gender equality. Applications for 2019 are now open.

 

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EESC hosts EU-China meeting on lift safety standardisation

At the initiative of EESC member Antonello Pezzini, the Committee hosted a delegation of representatives from the regulatory bodies of the People's Republic of China on 9 July 2019.

 

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New publications

EESC achievements 2018 – looking back, looking forward

The "EESC achievements 2018 – looking back, looking forward" brochure sets out some of the highlights of the European Economic and Social Committee’s work in 2018.

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EESC News

Finnish EU presidency presents programme based on sustainability and wellbeing

The 18 July plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) played host to Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, who presented the programme of the Finnish EU presidency. This includes a special focus on sustainability and the wellbeing of citizens. Ms Pekonen also highlighted enhancing the rule of law and EU values among the presidency's other priorities. 

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Conny Reuter: "We are here to promote civil dialogue of a progressive and inclusive Europe"

At its plenary session on 18 July, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a debate with Conny Reuter, co-chair of the EESC's Liaison Group with European civil society organisations and networks. Mr Reuter presented the conclusions and the recommendations of the 2019 Civil Society Days, which took place in mid-June in Brussels, exploring the theme of sustainable democracy.

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Without a strong European battery industry, car manufacturers may leave the EU

The EESC backs the EU action plan on batteries put together by the European Commission but points out that it needs to be stepped up and implemented swiftly. There is a real risk that very large parts of the European automotive industry will relocate their production to regions close to battery cell production units, mainly in Asia.

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Circular Economy: time to unleash the power of consumers

So far, actions to boost the development of a circular economy in Europe have centred on production, getting industries to introduce circular business models and bring circular options to the market. Now conditions are ripe for getting consumers involved, and empowering them to make sustainable purchasing choices in their daily lives, says an EESC report adopted in July.

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European agriculture should move in the direction of agroecology

The EU needs to place greater emphasis on short supply chains and agroecology in farming in order to preserve its agriculture and make it more resilient to new challenges such as climate change. Agroecology is also a way of securing our food supply and of making our food healthier, thus raising its value. Short supply chains will help smaller farms to increase their income and enliven rural areas.

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Framework for a renaissance of Europe's manufacturing industry must be based on SMEs' real needs

According to the EESC, the European manufacturing system can only make an effective and competitive transition to a cutting-edge digital and environmentally-friendly economy when it is ready for significant investment in innovation. The steps planned by the EC to facilitate better development of the manufacturing system should therefore be based on a real awareness of companies' – especially SMEs' – needs. 

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European Semester and a new governance approach are crucial for future EU economic policy

The EU should renew its system of economic policy coordination and governance based on a new EU strategy post-2020 for sustainable development, to increase the efficiency of actions and the sustainability of results, says the EESC.

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EESC makes recommendations for future EU economic policy and EMU governance

In July, the EESC presented proposals for the economic agenda of the upcoming legislative period and recommended that they should form the basis of a new EU economic strategy.

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EESC calls on Commission to better reconcile its industry and energy legislation with its climate policy

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) calls on the Commission to reflect in more depth on policy options that help both to reduce greenhouse gases, thus fighting climate change, and to maintain competitiveness.

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Energy Union must become part of Europeans' daily life

The EESC's annual opinion on the State of the Energy Union takes stock of progress so far and calls on the European Commission to focus more on social aspects. "The Energy Union is not a reality yet. It may be a reality in terms of EU policy decisions, but it is still not a reality in the daily lives of European citizens."

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EESC calls for European action to ensure participatory development of blockchain technology

Originally associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are in fact very versatile and can be usefully applied to the social economy. However, it is important to regulate them properly and gear them towards delivering benefits for all, allowing everyone to participate, says the EESC in a report issued at its July plenary.

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News from the Groups

Employer's Group will meet twice in Finland to discuss on artificial intelligence and a business-friendly EU

by the EESC's Employers' Group

The EESC Employers' Group will be hosting two conferences in the country of the current European Council presidency – Finland. The first event will take place at the end of August and will focus on a smart and intelligent Europe.

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Workers' Group statement on the criminalisation of solidarity

by the EESC's Workers' Group

In the light of the desperate humanitarian situation in the Mediterranean, characterised by a lack of respect for EU principles and values and worsening in recent weeks, the Workers' Group maintains...

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Diversity Europe group goes to Helsinki to sustainable growth and ways of boosting EU competitiveness

by the EESC's Diversity Europe Group

On 16 and 17 September, the Diversity Europe group will host an extraordinary meeting in Helsinki. In line with Finland's priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the EU, "Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future", our group has chosen to concentrate on three pillars that facilitate sustainable growth and thus boost EU competitiveness: bioeconomy and a climate-neutral Europe, digitalisation, and infrastructure.

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