Dear readers,

It is a pleasure for me, as the new EESC vice-president for Communication, to open this special issue of our newsletter dedicated to the mid-term renewal of the EESC's most senior positions.

At its April plenary session, the EESC elected a new leadership to steer its work over the next two and a half years, with Luca Jahier as its president. In this supplement, we present to you the names and faces that will represent European civil society at the highest level and express your views, deliver your expertise and voice your concerns in Brussels in the thirty months to come.

This will be no easy task as daunting challenges loom ahead: the 2019 European elections will be a major test of strength and the EU will need all the energies and synergies it can muster to win out over the Eurosceptic forces that have been gathering momentum since the crisis. At the same time, the divorce bill with the UK needs to be negotiated and a new Multiannual Financial Framework drawn up for this new scenario. We will indeed have a lot on our plate.

As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, there are many other women besides myself in the new leadership. Hopefully, we will bring fresh perspectives, new strengths and novel solutions to help face Europe's many challenges, keeping an eye on social cohesion, which is at the heart of the EESC's concerns.

Communication will be an essential part of Europe's toolkit. Developing a counter-narrative of Europe's true achievements and strengths and deploying it patiently and systematically to beat the Eurosceptics' blame game will be our task as communicators in this challenging context.

We will do our outmost to rise to the task, and I wish all my fellow members a fruitful two and a half years serving European civil society.

Isabel Caño Aguilar

EESC Vice-President for Communication