For the fourth year running, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is offering an unique opportunity for secondary schools from across Europe to come to Brussels to debate, negotiate, stand up for their beliefs and try to find a consensus in a simulated plenary session.
The five ideas are a distillation of the dreams and aspirations encountered across Europe. Concrete proposals on democracy, employment, rights, education, and the European public sphere.
Language competences are vital in order to foster mobility of workers and students and ultimately to improve the employability of the European workforce. Thus it is necessary to work in all possible ways on improving the language competences of Europeans.
We need good language policies and practices which can lead to successful language learning. In recent years, the EESC has drawn up three opinions for the European institutions on Europe's multilingualism strategy. Also, multilingualism policy has always been part of the EESC's political priorities.
The EESC has called for a European stimulus package for the labour market policy, amounting to 2% of GDP. We recognise that the "Compact for Growth and Jobs" adopted at the European Council summit in June 2012 is a first important step in that direction. This must be further fleshed out to create the needed room for manoeuvre for sustainable growth and employment across the Europe.
In my work programme as the President of the EESC, my goal is to consolidate the social dimension of the EU: improve employment conditions and promote social integration, fighting the poverty and exclusion that are afflicting vulnerable groups across all of Europe.
A social Europe is a Europe with a society that combines economic growth with high living standards and good working conditions, or at least decent jobs and worthy living conditions for all. A social Europe is a society that cares about its most vulnerable.
Conference organised by the Various Interests Group of the EESC in Dublin to mark Ireland's 40 years of membership of the EU
Over the last 10 years, the EESC has proposed an important number of opinions on the ageing of the European population and issued opinions on issues such as: the needs of older citizens, funding health and pension systems, employing older workers, intergenerational solidarity, technological solutions to improve the quality of life of older persons, long-term care, etc.
The EESC has been particularly active during the European Year 2012. It created a group to coordinate activities related to the Year. This group has organised 5 public events on different themes.
The European labour market is facing major challenges. We need to tackle the persisting economic and social crisis, and at the same time we are facing a huge demographic challenge. We have an ageing workforce and the number of people in "employment age" will decrease in the years to come.