Long-term EU budget clinch, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and the conference on the future of Europe – these were the main topics of the discussion between the presidents of the European Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. Christa Schweng and Charles Michel met via video conference on Friday, 27 November.
President Schweng expressed the concerns of civil society organisations regarding the delay of the adoption of the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Recovery instrument. There is no time to lose for companies, workers and European citizens hit by the COVID-19 crisis. "We hope that all the obstacles to adopt MFF will be soon overcome but we would also like to stress that the principles of rule of law must be upheld", Christa Schweng said.
The discussion also focused on the conference on the future of Europe. The EESC president declared that the institution was ready to actively participate in the conference and provide concrete proposals on behalf of the European civil society. The EESC believes that the key for success of the conference is to be a wide, participative and bottom-up process involving a wide variety of actors.
Ms Schweng pointed out that recovery from the coronavirus crisis would only be sustainable if accompanied by a just green and digital transition of our economy and society. Civil society has an important role to play in this process. It can offer know-how, political support and assess the effectiveness of the implemented policies.
During the meeting, Ms Schweng elaborated on the political priorities of her presidency, namely a Europe that prospers economically, is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. Both presidents discussed how the EESC could cooperate more closely with the Council. She expressed the EESC's readiness to provide its opinion on issues where the Council finds such involvement relevant.