COVID-19 has affected all aspects of economic and social life and its impact on democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law will certainly be long-lasting.
Fundamental and Citizens Rights - Related Events
To improve the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights it is necessary to empower civil society organisations, rights defenders and justice practitioners, and strengthen people’s awareness of their rights under the Charter. CSOs and social partners are operating at grassroots levels and can help spread awareness and foster implementation. Moreover, the social partners have a special role in contributing to the implementation and defence of socio-economic fundamental rights.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has proved to be an endurance test for human and social rights, democratic values, the rule of law and economic resilience in the EU. While navigating stormy waters, organised civil society is playing a key role in coping with the countless pandemic-related challenges at European, national, regional and local level.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a public hearing on "The rule of law and its impact on economic growth" on Tuesday, 8 September 2020, from 2:30 p.m.
The event brought together a wide range of civil society organisations to discuss the economic importance of the rule of law and other fundamendal values of the EU, based on the findings and recommendations of an EESC own-initiative opinion.
The incoming Croatian Presidency has requested the EESC to draft an opinion on the topic of "The effects of campaigns on participation in political decision-making".
In view of the European elections and campaigns aimed at informing European citizens conducted by the institutions of the European Union and the Member States, a public hearing will be held in the morning of Wednesday 5 February, at the EESC. The aim of the hearing is to examine the current state of play and lessons learned from the May 2019 elections, and to look at the ways forward, i.e. how to enhance participation and disable disinformation of European citizens..
In July 2019, the European Commission published a Communication entitled 'Strengthening the rule of law within the Union – A blueprint for action', which details actions on the promotion, prevention, and response aspects. The EESC, on its side, made proposals in a series of key Opinions over the past years, and has set up a transversal Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FFRL) in 2018. The FRRL Group leads country visits and seeks to provide a forum for European CSOs to share their assessment on the state of fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law in the Member States.
The EESC hosted the presentation of the study "Integrating the European Pillar of Social Rights into the roadmap for deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union" on Thursday 4 July 2019, in meeting room VM3 in the VMA building. This study on behalf of the Workers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee explores the possibility of establishing three policy instruments to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and rebalance the economic and social dimensions of the E(M)U.
The Civil Society Days 2019 will take place at a crucial moment for Europe, namely after the Sibiu Summit and the European elections and ahead of the constitution of the new European Parliament and European Commission.
Current pressures on our democratic systems are threatening fundamental values (respect for human rights, individual liberty, equality, the rule of law) and the civil society space within the European Union. The alarming consequence is an erosion of democracy and restricted civic space in several parts of the EU.
Against this backdrop and in consideration of the transformation processes the EU is facing, namely on economic, energy and ecological, social, and democratic and participatory level, this year's Civil Society Days will focus on two main pillars, Democracy and Sustainability, and will explore their links and interactions.
The year 2019 marks a new step in the life of the European Citizens' Initiative. In March, the European Parliament voted on the final text of the new ECI Regulation, which proposes a series of administrative simplifications and procedural changes to make this tool more citizen-friendly and less burdensome for the organisers. ECI Day 2019 was the first to present you with the final text of the new Regulation and explored further how it was intended to benefit active citizens wishing to influence the EU's agenda. This year, the theme of the conference was Digital Voices, reflecting the ongoing changes in the global trends in voting and citizens' active participation. Digital natives no longer wait for elections to express their preferences; they voice their concerns at all times and at every opportunity. The ECI Day explored these new digital trends in the particular context of the European elections.