The EU and Japan signed on 17 July 2018 an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will boost growth and create a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers. This is the first EPA signed by the EU which includes specific commitments related to the fight against climate change, and the EESC and its Japanese counterparts will be responsible to monitor its social and environmental impact.
The "LEONARDO: rEUnaissance today" project will be launched on 16 and 17 November in Rome. The project is a concrete expression of the slogan of the Presidency of Luca Jahier: "rEUnaissance" which is closely linked to one of the Presidency priorities: Culture. In a challenging time in European politics, and before the crucial European elections of May 2019, the EESC President looks to the Renaissance era for an inspiration for a positive narrative for the European Union of today.
Rudy De Leeuw, member of the EESC, rapporteur of the opinion on the European finance-climate pact voted in the plenary session in October 2018, affirmed during a meeting on 8 November with journalists that Europe needs to do more in terms of budget and investments to fight the climate change and its effects. But far from being a burden, this challenge has also a positive side: "The finance-climate pact is a necessity, but also an opportunity for Europe".
Interview by Luca Jahier to SERVIMEDIA
El presidente del Comité Económico y Social Europeo (CESE), Luca Jahier, destaca que “gracias a la ONCE, las personas con discapacidad han dejado de ser receptoras de ayuda para convertirse en protagonistas de su futuro”, un modelo que “la hace pionera en Europa, y que después tantas otras organizaciones han copiado”.
At its last plenary session, held on 17 October 2018, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion aiming to improve the EU space programme's outcomes and raise its profile. The EESC supports the EU's efforts to remain a major independent space power, but calls for more investment in research, start-ups and business incubators as well as for a consistent application of the "European preference" principle. Clear emphasis should be placed on space mining research and the benefits that space activities could provide in terms of sustainable development.
Sovereign bond-backed securities (SBBS) can contribute to a greater diversification of and a risk reduction for sovereign bond portfolios held by banks and other financial operators. This could have a positive impact on the stability and resilience of the financial system and improve financial market integration.
Stakeholders from European level organisations and members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) gathered in Brussels on 29 October 2018 to take stock of the state of play of the health situation of the Roma and their access to healthcare, assessing in particular the situation of women and children. A number of issues were highlighted, such as discrimination in access to healthcare, differences in life expectancy between Roma and non-Roma people, poverty and its effects on their health and, regarding women and children, forced sterilisations, pregnancy, infant and maternal mortality, and the vaccination of children.
Despite welcoming the proposal for the new European Social Fund Plus due to its potential ability to promote social inclusion, the EESC criticises the fact that it will receive less funding under the new long-term EU budget
The 7th meeting of the EU-Serbia Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) that took place in Belgrade on 23 October gave an opportunity to civil society organisations from both sides to examine the state of play of Serbia's accession process. Although welcoming positive economic developments in Serbia, the JCC expressed in the joint declaration its concern about "the lack of progress in the area of freedom of expression" and encouraged the Serbian authorities to "redouble their efforts to ensure respect for the rule of law, fundamental rights, judicial reform, the fight against corruption and freedom of the press".
The European Union has committed itself in international agreements to working towards a low-carbon, more resource-efficient and sustainable economy, as well as towards social goals, as recently in the Gothenburg declaration on the European Pillar of Social Rights. Financing these commitments to sustainable growth, taking into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, constitutes an enormous investment challenge that exceeds public funding capacities and will require additional resources.