On 22-23 May, the Various Interests' Group held a conference on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Indeed, embarking on a "collective journey…to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty…(delivering a) new universal Agenda …(which will) realise the human rights of all" are very ambitious objectives. However, moving from declarations to concrete action is even more ambitious and hence, the effective governance of the 2030 Agenda is of paramount importance. Without doubt, it will only become a reality if citizens actively support the necessary transitions and if civil society is directly involved throughout the process.
The CSP complements the political bodies existing within the framework of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement, and it allows civil society organisations from both sides to monitor the implementation process and prepare their recommendations to the relevant authorities both in the Republic of Moldova as well as in the European Union.
The EESC has set up a permanent study group on Roma inclusion which will be monitoring the implementation the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies from the point on view of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Anti-gypsyism and discrimination are important barriers to Roma enjoying full rights and this hearing plans to map possible avenues for redress for Roma, including equality bodies. The hearing will allow for the exchange of best practices on how Roma can address violations of their rights.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the European Economic and Social Committee and the EU project Responsible-Industry organized a conference “Responsible Research and Innovation in the Health Industry” held at the EESC premises, in Brussels, on 18 and 19 May 2017.
The conference discussed how Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) can help to boost innovation in biomedicine and health with a special focus on Information and Communication Technologies. It was asked how social values and needs can be “integrated from scratch” and which drivers and obstacles RRI encounters when implemented in companies.
The 4th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform took place on 18 May 2017 in Brussels. During the meeting, a debate was held assessing the state of play in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and two reports, prepared by both sides, were discussed and adopted.
The event focused on the response of European civil society to the insecure situation of migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe. The focus was on two issues: preventing the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance and introducing humanitarian admission programmes. As regards the first, panellists presented cases and testimonies of people and organisations punished for offering help to irregular migrants in need. The second panel looked at current practice and initiatives to promote access to Europe on humanitarian grounds or via resettlement. Participants shared their views on the European legislation in place at present and suggested how both public and private actors can give migrants and refugees in need a helping hand.
The European Union is the world's biggest producer of beet sugar and the principal importer of raw cane sugar for refining. EU sugar policy today is supported by three pillars: production quotas, a sugar reference threshold and trade measures (border protection). Production quotas will cease to exist as of 1 October 2017, which means that one of these pillars will fall. Another pillar – border protection – is looking increasingly shaky.
Under the auspices of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organises meetings with ACP and EU economic and social interest groups. This role has been confirmed by the Cotonou Agreement, which mandates the EESC to organise consultation sessions and meetings of ACP and EU economic and social interest groups (Protocol 1).
Within this framework, the EESC organises general meetings in Brussels every three years, with delegates from the 78 ACP countries, together with representatives of the EU institutions, national economic and social councils, the secretariat of the ACP Group of States, EU and ACP states' diplomatic missions, NGOs and other interested parties. These general meetings are in addition to the regional seminars, which take place in the ACP regions once a year.
The EESC is drawing up an opinion on the Commission's recent communication dedicated to waste to energy. This public hearing aimed at gathering stakeholders' views on this critical aspect of the waste management and the transition towards a circular economy.
The European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee held a joint workshop on "the impact of digitalisation and new technologies on social economy". The workshop was was be organized around 4 panels. This joint event's purpose was to contribute to the work of the permanent study group on "Social Economy Enterprises", but also to strengthen synergies between the EESC and the Commission in promoting the social economy agenda.