In the context of the opinion on a "Union of equality: EU anti-racism action plan 2020-2025", the European Economic and Social Committee is organising a virtual public hearing on 18 March. The aim of the hearing is to gather the points of view of international organisations, European platforms for human rights and the fight against racism, and representatives of European institutions, on key measures of the action plan, and to discuss how to tackle racism and racial discrimination more effectively in the EU.
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For democracy to flourish, free media and civil society must be able to participate in an open debate, free from malign interference, and in an environment where facts are distinguished from fiction.
The hearing will feed into the EESC Opinion on the Democracy Action Plan which lays the ground for the adoption of measures concerning the promotion of free and fair elections (including democratic engagement beyond elections), the strengthening of media freedom, and the countering of disinformation.
Equality and non-discrimination are fundamental rights and core values in the EU, enshrined in its Treaties and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. "Equal opportunities" is also the first chapter of the European Pillar of Social Rights. However, the Council of the EU continues to block the 2008 Commission proposal for an Equal Treatment Directive, which covers discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Having requested a referral to produce an opinion on this strategy, the EESC is starting by organising a remote public hearing on Thursday 11 February 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. to evaluate how the LGBTIQ community continues to be discriminated against and to collect views on how to effectively tackle such discrimination – not only across all EU policies and funding programmes, but also at all other levels and in all domains. Only a cross-cutting approach will solve this problem.
As part of its work to prepare an opinion on 'Telework and gender equality', the SOC Section of the EESC is organising a virtual public hearing on Monday 15 January 2021, from 10:30 a.m. to 13:00 p.m.
A selection of stakeholders from all levels (institutions, agencies, social partners and civil society organisations) will be invited to share their concrete reflexions and recommendations on this vast subject. This includes for instance the factors and considerations for taking up telework, how to secure work-life balance while teleworking, ways to ensure gender equality throughout these processes and any other matters they believe to be of relevance in this context.
In an exploratory opinion requested by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council, the SOC Section of the EESC is organising a virtual/hybrid public hearing on 7 January to discuss the challenges of teleworking with a focus on organization of working time, work life balance and the right to disconnect. Due to Covid-19, working from home has become the norm for millions of workers. Early estimates suggest that close to 40% of those currently working in the EU began to telework fulltime due to the pandemic.
The input session will bring together stakeholders and EESC Members to discuss fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law aspects of the COVID-19 crisis.
A first session will cover the ongoing impact of the crisis on the fundamental rights of employers, workers and civil society organisations. A second session will discuss how fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law can play a key role in the design of a crisis exit strategy and in a post-COVID-19 recovery phase.
The EESC is organising a virtual hearing on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum on 26 November 2020. The aim of the hearing is to provide an understanding of the key elements of the Pact and evaluate its impact on the European migration and asylum framework. By including perspectives from relevant institutional stakeholders, think tanks, social partners and civil society organisations, it will explore whether the Pact brings about the systemic change necessary to overcome the current deadlock and develop a sustainable, rational and rights-based EU asylum and migration policy.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) played a central role in bringing the consensual views of organised civil society in the EU to the attention of policy-makers and contributing to the rapidly evolving economic policy response at European level.
In this regard, we believe that now is the time for the EU institutions to make decisive steps in approving swiftly the new Facility and putting in place the necessary implementation mechanisms at European and national level, so that the hardest hit Member States, citizens and businesses can benefit from the relevant EU funding when they need it most.
The EESC is organizing together with CEDEFOP a Policy learning forum (PLF) on 5-6 November 2020. The event aims at bringing together governments, social partners and civil society to help each other in the definition and implementation of the Council recommendation ‘Upskilling pathways: new opportunities for adults’ adopted in December 2016. This year's PLF follows on successful similar events of 2018 and 2019 being part of a series of events aiming to create a platform for mutual learning on upskilling adults with low level of skills.
Struggling to find your first job? The coronavirus pandemic has shocked young Europeans who are about to enter the labour market. Through this webinar, the trainees of the European Economic and Social Committee want to help increase the public and political awareness of the challenging situation of European graduates, apprentices, job entrants and young professionals during this exceptional time and the months to come. Let's discuss concrete strategies on how to succeed in the labour market despite the crisis, but also the broader political context. Join us live!