The fifth SME Assembly took place on 18-20 November in Luxembourg. This well-organised, high-level event brought together some 300 participants from across Europe. Amongst them were SME representatives, high-level EU officials, and representatives of NGOs, academia, media, etc.
Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section, attended the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters which took place on 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg. Topics raised concerned the possible added-value of small and mediums-sized cities in cross-border regions, the progress towards the EU Urban Agenda, the urban challenges of the refugee situation and most importantly the Luxembourg Presidency Conclusions, a document which sums up the high-level representatives’ declared opinion on the aforementioned matters (see below). This meeting was an essential milestone towards the EU Urban Agenda, a brand new initiative which the EESC has requested for years.
The European Economic and Social Committee has made working with young people one of its priorities.
Your Europe, Your Say! is one of the initiatives that the EESC has been organising for young people since 2010.
Three students from each of the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) and the five candidates countries for EU accession (Albania, Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), together with a teacher, are invited to Brussels to discuss migrants in Europe – the topic of Your Europe, Your Say! 2016.
They will have a chance to speak to policy-makers about better asylum rules and to make practical suggestions regarding integration that could be taken up in their own community.
Following the violent terrorist attacks which took place in Paris on Friday, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (COR) observed a minute of silence today to show solidarity with the victims and their families. The two institutions' Presidents, Georges Dassis of the EESC and Markku Markkula of the COR, addressed Members and staff. Mr Dassis gave a moving speech on compassion and human solidarity. In his words, "These despicable murderers obsessed with hatred, attack the people, democracy and fundamental values of the French Republic. In this way, they attack the people, our democracy and fundamental values in Europe because they are one in the same."
Brussels, 14 November 2015
In the name of all my colleagues, members of the European Economic and Social Committee, who represent before the European Institutions all the major employer, trade union and citizen-based organisations in the European Union, I would like to express our indignation and outrage on the cowardly and barbaric attacks which have been committed in Paris this night.
Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends, the French people and their institutions with whom we express our complete solidarity.
En marge de la réunion du Bureau du Comité économique et social européen qui s'est tenue ce mardi 10 novembre 2015 dans les locaux de la Cour de justice de l'Union européenne, le président du Comité a eu l'occasion de rencontrer le Dr Koen Lenaerts, président de la Cour.
Social dumping in the road transport sector and problems with cross-border infrastructure were the main topics at the transport conference held by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Economic and Social Council of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on 11 and 12 November. The conference was attended by François Bausch, Luxembourg's Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure; Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment and MEP Jutta Steinruck from the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
European industry needs an environment conducive to innovative activity. We must strengthen investment in innovation and foster business dynamism. Investment is needed not only in scientific R&D but also in areas that are becoming key features of corporate success, such as design, software, data, firm-specific skills and marketing. These are some of the ideas that emerged from the conference on the Reindustrialisation of Europe: Food Manufacturing, Innovation and Circular Economy, which took place on 27 October in Milan. The event was hosted by the Employers' Group, together with Coldiretti and Confindustria.
EESC member Carmelo Cedrone takes part in an international conference in the US
On 2-3 November 2015, a conference to discuss the relations between the Eurozone and the Americas was held at the University of Texas at Austin. The conference brought together representatives of several universities in Europe, North and South America, the European Parliament, the US Senate, etc. They addressed very interesting questions, in particular the problem of debtor-creditor relationships in the modern world, the Eurozone matters, its economic and political governance, etc. The EESC was represented by Carmelo Cedrone, vice-president of the ECO section.
The members of the European Economic and Social Committee, my colleagues for over ten years now, have just done me the honour of electing me to be their new president. As a labour activist and representative of civil society within the EESC, I have always fought to make Europe more democratic and more socially cohesive.