Europe is at a turning point – as regards its security, and from an economic, social and societal point of view. Confronted with the impact of the war in Ukraine, high inflation, a sharp decline in growth and an adverse dependence on certain countries for energy, raw materials, medicines and food, we all – individuals, businesses, civil society organisations – face enormous challenges. Against this backdrop, the EESC actively supports the implementation of clear priorities and actions at European and national level, to improve the EU's socio-economic outlook and its resilience.
I am also deeply convinced that appropriate policy measures can only be designed and implemented with the genuine and effective involvement of organised civil society. CSOs are best placed to know what is needed and to come up with ideas that can really work on the ground; they are of great help to society – and one example of this is CSOs' outstanding support to the millions of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the EU at a record rate. Civil society organisations also raise the alarm when problems occur and hold governments and institutions accountable.
A vibrant civil society is also a supporting pillar of democracy and of our common values, and I am very pleased that civil society organisations in the Liaison Group are organising the 2023 Civil Society Days on 1-3 March under the heading "Civil society organisations: a pillar of democracy and a key player to overcome current challenges".