EESC plenary: Prime Minister António Costa to debate priorities of Portugal's EU presidency

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PLENARY SESSION: 27-28 January 2021

EESC, Jacques Delors building and online

Highlights of the European Economic and Social Committee's January plenary:

  • 27 January, 4:00 pm The EESC will host a debate with European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on the Commission's 2021 Work Programme and Strategic Foresight Report.
  • 27 January, 5:30 pm Commissioner Ylva Johansson will discuss the Commission's New Pact on Migration and Asylum and hear the EESC's proposals for a consensual solution to a deeply divisive issue, featured in a report up for adoption hard on the heels of the debate (see below).
  • 28 January, 9:30 The EESC assembly will vote on a revised version of the EESC Rules of Procedure and Member Code of Conduct.
  • 28 January, 10.30 am. Michel Barnier, head of the European Commission's task force for relations with the UK, will present the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as its impact on business and consumers across the channel begins to show.
  • 3 December, 12:00 noon The EESC will hear UN special rapporteur Olivier de Schutter on the alarming spread of extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the human rights issues it raises.


Key opinions to be put to the vote:


  • A New Pact on Migration and Asylum (SOC/649, rapporteur José Antonio Moreno Díaz – Workers, ES; co-rapporteur Cristian Pîrvulescu – Diversity Europe, RO)

How to strike the right balance between effective and realistic migration management that is humane and sustainable while ensuring security and control of the EU's external borders? The EESC believes that the new European Commission proposals are important but insufficient to develop a common European framework for migration management that is both effective and in line with the EU's values and objectives. More

Climate Action

  • Stepping up Europe's Climate Ambition (NAT/803, rapporteur Arnold PUECH d'ALISSAC – Employers, FR; co-rapporteur Jan DIRX – Diversity Europe, NL)

The Commission's choice to increase the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030 to 55% is largely in line with the EESC's earlier opinion on the European Climate Law. Now it is urgent to come forward with the necessary detailed legislative post-COVID-19 recovery investments, combined with ambitious climate action that puts citizens at the centre. More

  • Application of the Aarhus Convention – Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (NAT/808, rapporteur Arnaud SCHWARTZ – Diversity Europe, FR; co-rapporteur Isabel CAÑO AGUILAR – Workers, ES)

Despite being a party to the Aarhus Convention since 2006, the EU is still not fully complying with its access to justice provisions. The EESC wants therefore to contribute to the Commission's proposal to revise the EU Aarhus Regulation in order to improve access to administrative and judicial review at EU level for citizens and NGOs, before the meeting of the parties to the Aarhus Convention in October 2021. More


  • EU strategy for energy system integration (TEN/717, rapporteur Lutz Ribbe – Diversity Europe, DE)

The EESC throws its support behind the European Commission's strategy for energy system integration, but warns that the issue of security of supply using low-carbon or carbon-free energy sources remains unsolved. More

  • Hydrogen strategy (TEN/718, rapporteur Pierre Jean Coulon – Workers, FR)

The Committee highlights that the COVID-19 crisis can only be overcome with a new model of society. To this end, a greener and more just economy is needed and the EU clean hydrogen strategy provides the right opportunity in this respect. More


  • Euro area economic policy 2021 (ECO/538, rapporteur Judith Vorbach – Workers, AT)

On 18 November 2020, the European Commission presented its autumn economic policy package, including the policy Recommendation for the euro area and the priorities that Member States should pursue in their Recovery and Resilience Plans. With the opinion adopted on 27/01, the EESC delivers the contribution of Europe's organised civil society to the ongoing debate. More

EESC plenary session – Jacques Delors building and online

27 January, 2:30 to 7.30 pm, 28 January, 9.30 am to 1:00 pm

Watch the plenary session here - The agenda is available here