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Dear readers,

I am excited to be taking on this role as Vice-President of the EESC in this new mandate. I was delighted to be elected to the position by my colleagues. I feel the role of communication is essential in any organisation.

I have always been impressed by the work carried out on a day-to-day basis by the staff and members of this Committee. A new mandate provides an opportunity to take stock and look at everything again with fresh eyes. Our limited ability to travel, due to COVID, is a further reason to grasp the opportunity to reassess.

Diary Dates

Recovery funds and the budget cannot be held hostage!

On 18 November, the respective presidents of the EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC), the EESC Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO) and the EESC Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law, Aurel Laurențiu Plosceanu, Stefano Palmieri and Cristian Pîrvulescu, issued a joint statement expressing great concern over the stance of two governments who threatened to veto the EU Budget if it remains tied to respect for the rule of law.

The EESC has already given strong support to the Commission's proposal on the Next Generation EU package, which should – together with the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and for a total amount of EUR 1.82 trillion – cushion the blows of the COVID-19 crisis and enable EU economies to make a quick recovery.

According to the statement, making the use of EU funding dependent upon Member States' respect for the rule of law should not be controversial as it is one of the core values upon which the EU was built.

Read the full statement here: https://europa.eu/!cH83Bj

One question to...

One question to…

In our section "One question to…" we ask EESC Members to respond to a topical question that seems to us to be particularly relevant.

We have asked Mr Stefano Palmieri, the President of the Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion section (ECO) to answer the following question:

"What is your view on the blockage of the long-term EU budget and the recovery package triggered by three Member States? Looked at from different points of view, is it one of the biggest institutional and political crises facing the EU?"

Stefano Palmieri, President of the ECO section

I was genuinely shocked when I learned that after the encouraging news we heard on 10 November, when the negotiating teams of the European Parliament and the Council ...


A prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Europe at the heart of the EESC's new presidential programme

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has released the full programme of its new president, Christa Schweng, for her 2020-2023 term of office. It is now online and is available in all EU languages.

Ms Schweng's programme offers a bold vision for a stronger and more resilient post-COVID-19 Europe and envisages a powerful contribution from the EESC to Europe's recovery and participatory democracy.

European Circular Economy Platform set to move up a gear as it enters second term

In an annual conference held entirely online on 3-4 November, the EESC voiced its determination to help make the Circular Economy Platform a real hub of the collective effort to build a circular economy in Europe.
EESC president Christa Schweng opened the event together with Commission executive vice-president Frans Timmermans, looking back on the Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform's first three years as a database of best practices and a discussion forum for practitioners, and then forward to the term now beginning under the EU's new Action Plan for the Circular Economy.

The EESC addresses shortcomings in the integration of migrant women and children

The specific needs of women and children striving to overcome discrimination or obstacles to their integration are not always fully taken into consideration in the integration policies of EU Member States. The EESC has put forward ways to address these shortcomings in an exploratory opinion presented at the October plenary session.

No way out of the crisis without a boost in public and private investment, says the EESC

Taking into account the disastrous social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the EESC has outlined in two opinions its views on the current economic crisis and on recovery perspectives in the EU. On the one hand, the advisory body considers the Commission's proposals for a Next Generation EU plan to be both welcome and timely. Any undue delay in approving and implementing the plan risks severely undermining the EU's economic recovery.

EESC-Cedefop forum points to the need for an urgent and coordinated response to low skill levels in Europe

On 5 and 6 November, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) held the Third Policy Learning Forum (PLF) on upskilling pathways. It brought together social partners and government and civil society representatives relevant to this area, who warned that the current pandemic might further accelerate the changes in the world of work already brought about by the digital revolution, making upskilling and reskilling ever more relevant.

EESC calls for enhanced social dialogue in the EU

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) threw its support behind fostering effective social dialogue in EU Member States as it plays a key role in shaping economic, labour and social policies that create better living and working conditions across the EU. It is thus necessary for promoting and achieving economic sustainability.

Social justice for migrants and ethnic minorities key to addressing structural racism

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has called on the European Union and the Member States to take a holistic approach to promoting diversity and inclusiveness in their societies and to step up legal and political efforts to tackle rising racism and xenophobia in Europe.

With the volume of attacks and hate speech directed at migrants and ethnic minorities on the rise, and with the current pandemic exacerbating the structural discrimination they face, the EU urgently needs to do more on this front, including by promoting diversity management.

EESC debates the challenges for the EU steel industry

On 9 November, the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) met for a remote debate on the EU steel industry. The debate,  chaired by Pietro Francesco De Lotto, the new CCMI president,  focused on the issues of overcapacity and decarbonisation in the international steel industry. The speakers addressed the challenges facing the European steel industry: the post COVID-19 recovery plan, decarbonisation of production processes, EU safeguard measures and trade.

The surprise guest

We now have a new section.

Each month we introduce you to our surprise guest. This will be a well-known European cultural figure who has been in the news and who will give us their take on the world: a breath of fresh air to broaden our horizons, inspire us and make us happy.

Pierre Kroll

For this first piece, our surprise guest is the distinguished Belgian cartoonist Pierre Kroll of the daily newspaper Le Soir, known for the humour and unique style of his cartoons in which he gives an original and unusual perspective on European and global affairs.

In response to our request for a comment on the most burning issue of the day, Pierre Kroll kindly gave us the following cartoon. (ehp)



News from the Groups

Forecast: Economy might be harder hit than predicted by the European Commission forecast

By the EESC Employers' Group

In response to the European Commission's recently published Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast, the Employers' Group issued a statement on the initiative of its president Stefano Mallia. The Group concurred with the European Commission's Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast, which stressed that Europe's economic rebound has been interrupted by the resurgence of the pandemic.

Challenges facing Europe and priorities of the Workers' Group

By the EESC Workers' Group

The preservation of workers' rights must be a top priority in any recovery and reconstruction plan in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with solidarity as its guiding principle. To distil this into concrete priorities and actions, the Workers' Group organised an extraordinary meeting on 24 November.

Séamus Boland is the new president of the Diversity Europe Group

By the EESC Diversity Europe Group

With the start of the EESC's new term of office (2020-2025), Séamus Boland took over the presidency of the Diversity Europe Group. The Group confirmed his new role during its first meeting of the new term held on 27 October.


Soon in the EESC/Cultural events

The Refuge expo is on in the EESC for the month of December!

The EESC is hosting a photography exhibition by the French photographer Bruno Fert entitled “Refuge: Private worlds in exile”.

It comprises a series of panels with portraits and testimonies, together with images of interiors in refugee camps and makeshift shelters in Greece and France, including the “jungle” in Calais.

The exhibition is being organised by the Directorate for Communication and Interinstitutional Relations in partnership with the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) to highlight the work done by the EESC on migration policies, also in relation to the EU Migration Pact.

Due to the pandemic the exhibition is being presented 100% virtually. Don't miss it!

Please follow this link to access the exhibition:

https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/agenda/our-events/events/refuge-private-worlds-exile  (ck)