The Grassroots View - S3 Episode 21 – The Organic Awards and the state of organic food in Europe

In this episode we explore organic farming, production and eating through the lens of the first EU Organic Awards.These were handed out in September 2022 to eight European organisations excelling all along the organic food chain: from Best Organic Farm and Region, to best Organic SME and Restaurant. 

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Dear readers,

I would like to use this platform to flag up two forthcoming EESC initiatives, which will address the biggest issues the world is facing today: the climate emergency and the war in Ukraine.

Diary Dates

26-27 October 2022, Brussels

EESC plenary session

6-18 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh

The EESC at COP 27

24-25 November 2022, Zagreb

Connecting EU Seminar: "Geopolitical turmoil at Europe's door: the perspective of civil society" (more info below)

To the point

Under this heading, we invite members of the Committee to draw attention to topics that are of particular interest to them, that are at the heart of their activities. For the third time since 2017, the European Parliament is organising a European Gender Equality Week from 24 to 30 October. This topic is a priority for the EU as a whole, and especially for the Committee, which advocates for equal rights. Maria Nikolopoulou, president of the EESC Equality Group, points out the elements that link the two institutions, how the Committee wants to get involved in this project, what issues need most attention, and what concrete actions will be implemented in the EESC during the Gender Equality Week.

Maria Nikolopoulou: European Gender Equality Week in the EESC

For the second year running, the EESC is liaising with the European Parliament and replicating the European Gender Equality Week initiative. The idea is to include a gender perspective in debates as part of our regular work.

Imagine Ukraine...

In this column, we publish photos showing the war in Ukraine and its aftermath. It is often journalists who provide such evidence because they are the ones who go where we cannot to record events and save them from oblivion.

One question to...

"One question to..."

In the section "One question to...", EESC members are invited to explain why a proposed opinion is important for European legislation from the point of view of organised civil society. This time we spoke about this issue with Tomasz Wróblewski, the author of the opinion on Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP).

Tomasz Wroblewski: What are SLAPPs and how can they be defended against?

Freedom of expression and freedom of public debate are at the heart of modern democracies. The ability to provide information, express opinions and present views is crucial for the development of an informed civil society. These core values guide action to prevent strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs).

The surprise guest

The Surprise Guest

In the Surprise Guest column, readers will find opinions and commentary from people whose attitudes, actions and engagement command public interest. In this edition, we are publishing an article by Jowita Kiwnik-Pargana, a Polish journalist and European Union correspondent.

Jowita Kiwnik-Pargana: "My Ukrainian heroes"

It started with the border. Shortly after the war in Ukraine began, I went to the border crossing point, not to work yet, but to bring humanitarian aid. At that time, a stream of people, mainly women and children, was flowing across the border, all the plans they had made becoming obsolete from one day to the next.


EESC debate hails priority given to SMEs in forthcoming EU measures

A debate on challenges and prospects for SMEs in the EU hosted by the EESC welcomed the measures announced in the State of the Union address and discussed EESC proposals to make business transfers easier amid concern over their growing number. 

The EESC calls for the introduction of a European Youth Test for all future legislation

During its September plenary, the EESC adopted an own-initiative opinion on the EU Youth Test. For years, young people have demanded that their voices be heard in decision-making processes. With this opinion, the EESC becomes the first EU body to support their call for a mechanism to assess the impact of future legislation on youth.

A climate adjustment fund to ensure a swift response to crises

In an own-initiative opinion, the EESC proposes creating a climate adjustment fund (CAF) to ensure a rapid response to new climate and energy crises. The CAF would complement existing EU policies and ensure a more effective use of existing funding.

The EU needs to put the spotlight on social sustainability

In an own-initiative opinion adopted in September, the EESC has asked the Commission to describe the provisions required to extend the EU sustainability taxonomy to social objectives. The Commission is mandated by the Taxonomy Regulation to publish a related report, but has so far failed to do so.

Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law: time to move from recommendations to action

On 26 September the EESC held a conference on the European Commission's latest Rule of Law Report to discuss ways to ensure that the recommendations made in the report would result in tangible improvements in Member States.

EU Organic Awards 2022: from Germany, Belgium and Sweden the best SME, food retailer and restaurant

On 23 September, the European Economic and Social Committee announced its winners in the first ever EU Organic Awards, co-organised with the European Commission and other partners to reward excellence along the European organic value chain.

Deploying carbon removal technologies in industry is key to achieving Green Deal goals

In its September plenary, the EESC adopted an own-initiative opinion on the EU industry decarbonisation technologies.

Energy: the EESC warns against creating new dependencies

In a recent opinion, the EESC has backed the European Commission's REPowerEU Plan to wean the EU off Russian gas and oil, but has pointed out that many of the problems now being addressed as a matter of urgency could have been avoided or curbed by reducing dependency on energy imports a long time ago and completing the energy market, as urged by the EESC for years.

The EU needs more public investment in energy infrastructure to fight climate change

The EU needs to address the climate crisis through a threefold approach: mobilising funding, engaging citizens and the private sector, and exerting strong political leadership. This was the message conveyed by an EESC own-initiative opinion adopted at the September plenary.

Affordable quality healthcare for all Europeans: "a model for the society we stand for"

In a debate with Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas at its September plenary session, the EESC urged the Commission to be ambitious in implementing the new European care strategy. The EESC put the focus on health workers and their skills, education and working conditions and singled out the building of trust as a prerequisite for the success of the European Health Data Space.

Fighting energy poverty should top the policy agenda of EU countries

With the number of EU households unable to heat their homes likely to grow, and annual energy inflation hitting over 40%, the EESC in a recent opinion has called on the EU and the Member States to urgently implement measures to prevent and tackle energy poverty.

Commission's employment guidelines for Member States adequately address the most urgent challenges

The EESC has recently given a favourable assessment of the European Commission guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, describing them as appropriate since they address the most urgent issues in the labour market.

News from the Groups

Ageing Europe needs more successful business transfers

By Mira-Maria Kontkanen, Member of the EESC's Employers' Group

Compared to start-ups, businesses that are successfully transferred perform better in terms of survival, turnover, profit, innovation and employment. While there is good reason to support Europe's start-up entrepreneurs, business transfers need to be equally promoted on Europe's path to recovery and growth.


Decent Work Worldwide: Fighting forced labour and improving working conditions in European supply chains

By the EESC Workers' Group

We firmly support the Commission's advancement of decent work, but are concerned that gaps in current proposals may lead to sub-optimal implementation.


We need care and healthcare systems that are focused on people, their rights and their needs

By Danko Relić, member of the EESC Civil Society Organisations' Group and rapporteur for the opinion SOC/720

To develop strong and resilient health and care systems in the European Union, we need an educated, skilled and motivated workforce. We need care and healthcare systems that are focused on people, their rights and their needs.

Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

"Connecting EU 2022" to address war in Ukraine

The EESC's annual seminar for civil society communicators, taking place in Zagreb on 24-25 November, will zoom in on the impact on the EU of the war in Ukraine, addressing three thorny issues.

Creativity in times of COVID-19: the case of the music industry

The EESC's website is hosting a series of video interviews with music professionals looking into how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their work.


An EESC exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of Europe's common currency

"The Journey of the Euro" consists of a series of images charting the euro's history, combining material from the Historical Archives of the European Union, information provided by the European Commission and exhibits from the Croatian National Bank.