Christa Schweng: "The input of civil society is a must to shape Europe for the better"

Christa Schweng made her first appearance as newly elected president of the EESC at an inaugural debate with the EU's top leaders the day following her election at the October plenary.

The debate, which took place online, focused on the Recovery for the future of Europe, with contributions from the presidents of all the main EU institutions, who reflected on the role that civil society can play in tackling the challenges currently facing Europe and the whole world.

Christa Schweng, the newly elected EESC President, said that the Committee plays a key role in making the voice of organised civil society heard at European level.

"Thanks to the input of organised civil society", she said, "European policies can reflect the situation on the ground more accurately and can be implemented more effectively at national or local level".

This role, according to Ms Schweng, is not only positive, but indeed necessary: "Employers', workers', consumers', farmers' and NGOs' hands-on experience is a must to shape Europe for the better. We act as a bridge: we need to deliver on that role, and I am convinced we can".

The newly appointed EESC Vice-Presidents also took part in the debate. Giulia Barbucci, Vice-President for Budget, recalled that the EU has done a great job on tackling the current crisis, but what is still missing is the fundamental involvement of the citizens, and the EESC can play a very important role on this.

Cillian Lohan, Vice-President for Communication, stressed that EESC members have a unique perspective on the EU's impact on the daily lives of different sectors of society.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen also took part in the debate with a video message, joining European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli, European Council President Charles Michel and the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, in wishing Christa Schweng all the best for her term in office. All of them expressed great appreciation for the EESC's contributions and outlined the need to take into account the voice of European civil society. (dgf)

Watch a video message of the EESC President: