Today, once again, we stand together in solidarity to remember the innocent victims and their families, who were struck by the devastating terrorist attacks in Brussels three years ago. It is with great sadness and grievance that we prepare to mark the anniversary of this barbarous attack.
Speeches & Statements
Today, on the European Day of Remembrance for the victims of terrorism, we stand together in solidarity. It is with great emotion and compassion for the victims and their families of terrorist attacks that I write those lines. We remember all those who have lost their lives and those who have lost their loved ones in a terrorist attack. The EESC firmly supports the fight against crime and terrorism and emphasises that progress in fighting terrorism and crime in the EU must be consolidated. There must be effective cooperation and coordination between Member States with regard to law enforcement, intelligence and judicial matters.
On the occasion of Women's Day, a beautiful date to celebrate as it marks the victories of long battles fought by the generations of women who came before us, we should renew the commitment to walk the walk on gender equality.
The creation and emergence of Industry4Europe in the European political arena shows the strong capacity we have when we need to deliver. You have done it well! I refer to your extremely concrete joint call to the candidates for the 2019 European elections. In it, you are rightly calling the future Parliament and the future European Commission to put industry at the top of the European political agenda. The manufacturing sector weighs for more than 20% of the European GDP and it is an essential driver of employment.
The project of accelerating the circular economy transition has been an excellent example of EU synergy in action. The ambitious circular economy initiatives adopted by the Commission, coupled with our Committee's access to a widespread civil society network, are paving the way toward a more sustainable European economy. We believe that the Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is a powerful living bridge, linking the EU institutions with grassroots civil society organisations, promoting and sharing circular economy solutions for all citizens, for the well-being of present and future generations.
This is an important day. We are gathered here a little over ninety days before the European elections to ask the question: are we brave enough to grasp the urgency of the moment?
As British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a new attempt by a cross-party group of MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit and enable parliament to force ministers to seek a delay if there is no deal in place, we believe that the UK Parliament must make one last-minute effort to find common ground on the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard Brexit.
I have been following closely the latest developments and I fully support the swift entry into force and full implementation of the Prespa Agreement between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the change of name of the latter into Republic of North Macedonia. I hope that the resolution of this long-standing issue, which is an example of reconciliation for Europe, will pave the way for the opening of the EU accession negotiations with this Western Balkans country in June 2019, as foreseen by the Council Conclusions adopted in June 2018.
I welcome the much-awaited reflection paper of the European Commission "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030". I wish to congratulate First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen for this result. Now there is another window of opportunity to further push the sustainable development agenda, which must become the EU's top priority for the next decade. Let us be clear though: this is only the beginning of the road towards an ambitious and successful implementation of the sustainable agenda.