The Information Report lays out the results of visits to 12 Member states, seeking policy input from organised civil society to the Semester process. It describes how the consultation in the Member states is often inadequate and tries to remedy this by direct, on the ground-contacts between the involved parts of civil society and the European level. It also argues why this novel way of working is a success, which should therefore be continued beyond the 12 Member states examined so far.
The European Union is greater than the sum of its Member States operating within the single market.
Since the Bratislava Declaration and Roadmap, and even more since the Rome Declaration, EU firms' and citizens' support for the EU has improved, thereby helping the EU leaders to achieve their essential objective of regaining business and citizens' trust: new sound ideas to foster incrementalinnoation in EU manufaturing must be elaborated and tested before the special summit on the Future of Europe debate, due to take place in the Romanian city of Sibiu on 9 May 2019.
In response to the Commission's request for civil society's contribution to the evaluation of the directive, the EESC has consulted CSOs in the Member States. The Committee's conclusions address the directive's transposition, scope, effectiveness and potential revision.
In each of the 27 EU countries, there are laws or organisational arrangements which exclude some voters with disabilities from participating in EP elections. If the best practices from across all countries were implemented, an ideal system would emerge in which every EU citizen with disabilities not only would have the full possibility to vote but also would be able to choose for themselves the most convenient way in which to vote.
The EESC regularly produces information reports to be presented at the yearly Euromed Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar institutions. In 2018, based on feedback from the previous summit, the Euromed Follow-Up Committee decided to focus on the topic of education and vocational training (VET) in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Cuba poses a major challenge to relations between the European Union and Latin America. The European Union has maintained diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba that have been the focus of special attention, in particular by the European Parliament, since the changes initiated by Raúl Castro's government from 2010 onwards. Among other things, these changes affect the organisation of work, the trade union movement and civil society organisations. The EESC is increasingly engaged with issues of bilateral cooperation, especially with those parts of the world experiencing transformations that bring local organised civil society into the framework of official cooperation relations with the EU. In this regard, the EESC has set itself the aim of ensuring the greatest possible participation by civil society.
In its evaluation of the implementation of EU directives on legal migration from the perspective of organised civil society in selected Member States, the EESC considers the impact of these directives to be generally positive, albeit partial and fragmented. It also notes the impact of irregular migration on the directives' applicability.
The EESC provides a series of recommendations, covering the design of wider legal channels for labour migration; the role of the social partners and other organisations in this field; a simplified implementation of the directives and the modification of some of them; fact-based discourse to better inform the general public, integration and the fight against discrimination.
The EESC has been asked by the European Commission to contribute to the EC's mid-term evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme. In this context, two questionnaires were widely disseminated by the EESC in the member states and four fact-finding missions have been organised. The EESC also held an expert hearing to collect the views of specialised civil society organisations. An information report has been drafted containing the results of this exercise, accompanied by a detailed technical appendix containing important data on the awareness and perception of the programme. The aim of this evaluation was to provide information to the EC on the experience of civil society organisations with the enlarged and improved programme.