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Dear readers,

This October marks a new beginning for the European Economic and Social Committee, with more than 40% of members being new to the Committee.
The new members have been appointed and the next five-year mandate of the EESC is about to begin. The arrival of new members, with their unique expertise and fresh enthusiasm, has always been a major source of inspiration for the EESC.

This new political term starts at a time when the challenges facing Europe and the European Union are greater than ever. The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to wreak havoc across the continent, causing major health, social and economic crises. To add to this, the EU is also facing an extremely challenging geo-political environment.

Diary Dates

In short

Come & visit us… virtually!

The EESC launches EESC online talks as an alternative to on-site visits

Every year, the EESC visitors' service welcomes thousands of visitors from all over Europe and the rest of the world, presenting the Committee's activities and the functioning of the European Union to a very diverse audience.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the EESC is temporarily closed to external visitors.

The EESC is therefore launching EESC Online Talks as an alternative to traditional visits.

During these virtual meetings, visitors will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the functioning and role of the EESC in the EU decision-making process.

If you would like to book an EESC Online Talk for members of your organisation or other relevant stakeholders, please send us an email to: visitEESC@eesc.europa.eu

We look forward to hearing from you soon! (cl)

EU-Africa: towards a more equal partnership

In March 2020 the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the new strategy on Africa aimed at reshaping relations between the EU and African countries. Ahead of the eagerly awaited EU-Africa Summit, the EESC has gone a step further by proposing a sustainable EU-Africa partnership based on universal human rights, democratic structures, long-term investments in infrastructure and the full inclusion of organised civil society.

The EESC warns of the risk of a "green" trade war

Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, various jurisdictions throughout the world have implemented Emissions Trading Systems (ETSs). The EU ETS is the largest and longest-standing, and is to be overhauled in line with the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework. In an opinion adopted at its September plenary session, the EESC provides an overview of the EU ETS and of other ETSs globally, and outlines approaches to regulate trade in this new deal for carbon markets.

New publications

"Dessine-moi… " online NOW!

The brochure "Dessine-moi…" is the result of 43 testimonies collected from EESC members from across the 27 EU Member States between April and September 2020. With the phrase "Dessine-moi…", borrowed from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), we asked members to tell us about "the invisible". Through their stories, the members have taken us on a journey into their private worlds, offering us a mosaic of landscapes, images, colours and sounds. We encourage you to explore these authentic stories, which are all the more important because they were lived with great intensity.


EESC term of office kicks off with over 40% new members

137 out of the European Economic and Social Committee's 329 members will be new to the EESC as it begins its 2020-2025 term of office in October.

Members starting out at the EESC will begin their term under the constraints of COVID-19, with social distancing and hybrid meetings still being the rule in Brussels as infection rates spike across Europe.

The EESC concludes its term of office taking stock of its contribution to the European project

On 17 September, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted its end-of-term ceremony during the last plenary session before the its next term in October. Luca Jahier, EESC president since April 2018, expressed his gratitude to all of the members and highlighted the important contribution of the civil society organisations represented at the EESC to the European project.

COVID-19 is a ticking time bomb for Europe's tourism industry

The Coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on Europe's tourism sector. In six months' time half of the businesses may be gone unless the EU steps in quickly, says the European Economic and Social Committee in a new opinion.

EESC gives its say on the need for an EU instrument for minimum wages

The European Economic and Social Committee has adopted an opinion on Decent minimum wages across Europe in which it gave its contribution to the ongoing EU-wide debate on the subject.

This exploratory opinion was requested by the European Parliament, following the Commission's  announcement that it was considering proposing a legal instrument to ensure that every EU worker is entitled to a minimum wage allowing a decent standard of living.

After the youth climate strikes it's time to give youth a seat at the table

The climate emergency the world is facing today has mobilised millions of young people around the world, many of whom are profoundly affected by the threat it poses for their future. At the same time, it is young people who have repeatedly demonstrated their energy, creativity and motivation to challenge current unsustainable models and spur decision-makers to adopt ambitious policies. A wide gap nevertheless remains between listening to them, and actually acting upon what they say.

World Food Day: the EU must convert the Farm to Fork strategy into meaningful and timely actions, says EESC

The EESC has for years been at the forefront of promoting a comprehensive EU food policy, with the aim of providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems, linking agriculture to nutrition and ecosystem services and ensuring supply chains that protect public health for the whole of European society.

Clarity on workers' status can help ensure fair work in the platform economy

The European Economic and Social Committee has urged the EU and the Member States to work to clarify terms of employment in the platform economy, as a lack of standardised definitions of both workers' and employers' status can complicate the application of labour legislation and many labour protection rights.

Biodiversity is the missing piece in the EU's complex strategies puzzle

Since 1992, the EU has been trying to implement biodiversity strategies with no significant results. This is due mainly to poor implementation of the legal framework at national level, and to insufficient funding for the necessary measures.

The EESC welcomes the Commission's renewed commitment and efforts to develop a Biodiversity Strategy setting out targets to be reached by 2030, as one of the paths towards achieving the EU Green Deal. 

The EESC calls for an EU Action Plan to ensure fair and sustainable global supply chains

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has shown the fragility of global supply chains. It has also exposed the vulnerability of workers and the adverse social, health and safety impacts of business operations in today's supply chains. At a crucial moment for concrete policy action and decision-making, the German EU Presidency and the European Parliament asked the EESC for its recommendations. In two opinions adopted at its September plenary session, it calls on the European Commission to develop a European Action Plan and bring forward mandatory due diligence obligations in global supply chains.

EU raw materials sector: EESC calls for digitalisation of mining

Securing sustainable access to raw materials, including metals, industrial minerals and construction raw materials, and particularly critical raw materials (CRM), is of huge importance to the European economy, where at least 30 million jobs depend on the availability of raw materials. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the importance of digital transformation. 

Aviation - EESC urges Commission to adopt a comprehensive recovery plan

The EESC calls on the European Commission to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the recovery of European aviation as a whole, with specific resources to support all sub-sectors and their workforces.

The energy transition requires a clear vision for the future

The energy transition requires a clear political vision, as it is not just a technological issue but also a profoundly social challenge.In the opinion drafted by Lutz Ribbe and Thomas Kattnig and adopted at the Committee's September plenary session, the EESC stresses that the future energy system will need to have both centralised and decentralised elements, but that its organisation cannot be left to chance.

Future EU economic governance must mark a 'turning point', not a 'return to normal'

The European Commission's 2020 economic governance review is timely and should pave the way for a comprehensive reform, making a 'turn' to a revised and rebalanced framework instead of a 'return' to normal.

EU territorial agenda - New policies must consider consequences of the coronavirus crisis

The new revised EU urban and territorial agenda must address the effects of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and cohesion policy could be the right tool to deal with Europe's economic recovery. In two opinions adopted at the September plenary, the EESC takes stock of EU territorial policies and maps a way forwards.

News from the Groups

High-level responses to Employers' Group letter on EU recovery budget

By the EESC Employers' Group

The EESC Employers' Group received responses from the highest political level when calling for a swift agreement on an ambitious recovery budget. In June 2020, a letter on this topic was sent by the Employers' Group to the members of the European Council as well as to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.

World Day for Decent Work

By the EESC Workers' Group

This year, celebrating the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October was more relevant than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing flaws in our societies, particularly when it comes to decent work, pay and income. Yet again, certain people – who were already among the most vulnerable – have been disproportionately impacted: young people in precarious jobs, women overrepresented in the most affected sectors or staying at home to homeschool and care for family members, self-employed and platform workers, low-paid workers, migrants, and those in undeclared work.

What priorities for EU policies in the future?

By Simo Tiainen, member of the Diversity Europe Group representing the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) of Finland.

A better economic, social and regional balance in Europe and the competitiveness of EU industries and businesses, including farming, must remain priorities of EU policies. Our competitiveness should be based on sustainable production, employment and economic growth.Only an economically strong Europe can take on roles of leadership and responsibility. In trade negotiations, the principles of European food production, such as sustainability, high standards and food security, must never be compromised.

Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

Tom Hegen's Habitat exhibition lands at the EESC

Exploring the relationship between humankind and nature through aerial photography.

The EESC will host a photography exhibition entitled Habitat, featuring the work of Tom Hegen, an award-winning German photographer and designer from Munich.