15-16 July 2009: 455th EESC Plenary Session

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Guests of the Committee

At its plenary session of 15 and 16 July the Committee was pleased to welcome:

Mr Borg's address prompted replies on behalf of Group II from María Candelas Sánchez Miguel, Edgardo Maria Iozia and Hans-Joachim Wilms, and the addresses of Antonio Marzano and János Tóth from Giuseppe Iuliano.

Replies of Group II members to the Swedish presidency

In response to Mr Littorin's address concerning the intentions of the Swedish presidency, George Dassis, president of Group II, noted that while those intentions were very laudable, they had yet to be translated into concrete action. Employees expected the presidency to make every effort to ensure that decisions were approved by all 27 Member States, even where national competence obtained, so that the European Union spoke with one voice in all international bodies and so that Sweden could press the other Member States to adopt social policies.

Leila Kurki, Group II member and president of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship, welcomed the Swedish presidency's manifest sympathy for the plight of workers and their families affected by the economic crisis. The cost of the crisis must also be calculated in terms of human suffering. She pointed out that the social effects of the crisis were only just starting to be felt, and that those effects would appear after a time lag. Greater efforts were therefore needed – both at national and at European level - to boost employment, tighten social security networks, avert job losses, prevent lay-offs, combat artificial restructuring, promote training and ensure universal social integration. If the Swedish presidency intended to convey a message of hope, it could count on the support of the Committee and workers' representatives, who wished it every success.

Lars Nyberg, Group II member, began his reply by remarking that the two main priorities of the presidency, the economic crisis and climate change, were well chosen. He urged it to ensure that the Commission proposals on regulation of the banking sector were adopted without delay. As for the most problematic issues, the economy and unemployment, he pointed out that at the time when Europe's economic recovery plan was adopted the extent of the crisis was not yet realised. Strong measures were needed and the recovery plan must be reviewed. Finally, Mr Nyberg mentioned certain specific directives requiring particular attention. Should European society allow employers to evade their obligations or would worker representation be safeguarded? Would measures be taken to ensure that the social partners could have their say on the draft directive concerning seasonal workers from third countries?

New member officially joins Group II

The assembly officially accepted Dörthe Weimann (United Kingdom) as a member, replacing Marge Carey.

Opinions adopted

The opinions adopted on 15 and 16 July 2009 include four own-initiative opinions presented by Group II rapporteurs.

All the opinions presented by Group II rapporteurs were adopted.

The opinions whose rapporteur was a Group II member are listed below.

The components and downstream markets of the automotive sector (own-initiative opinion)
CESE 209/2009 fin
Rapporteur: Mr Gustav ZÖHRER (GRII-AT)

What future for non-urban areas in the knowledge society? (own-initiative opinion)
CESE 706/2009 fin
Rapporteur: Mr Sergio SANTILLÁN CABEZA (GRII-ES)

Proposal for a Council Directive concerning mutual assistance for the recovery of claims relating to taxes, duties and other measures
COM(2009) 28 final – 2009/0007 CNS
Rapporteur: Mr Sergio SANTILLÁN CABEZA (GRII-ES)

Proposal for a Council Directive on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation
COM(2009) 29 final – 2009/0004 CNS
CESE 757/2009 fin – 2009/0007 CNS, 2009/0004 CNS
Rapporteur: Mr Sergio SANTILLÁN CABEZA (GRII-ES)

Adaptation to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny – Part Five
COM(2009) 142 final – 2009/0048 COD
CESE 1013/2009 fin – 2009/0048 COD
Rapporteur-General: Mr Daniel RETUREAU (GRII-FR)

Regional integration for development in ACP countries (communication)
COM(2008) 604 final
CESE 293/2009 fin
Rapporteur: Mr Gérard DANTIN (GRII-FR)
Co-Rapporteur: Mr Luca JAHIER (GRIII-IT)

Urban areas and youth violence (own-initiative opinion)
CESE 679/2009 fin
Rapporteur: Mr José María ZUFIAUR NARVAIZA (GRII-ES)

Minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers (recast)
COM(2008) 815 final/2 – 2008/0244 COD
CESE 420/2009 fin – 2008/0244 COD

Criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible - international protection
COM(2008) 820 final – 2008/0243 COD
CESE 443/2009 fin – 2008/0243 COD

Emissions from road transport – concrete measures to overcome stagnation (own-initiative opinion)
CESE 315/2009 fin
Rapporteur: Mr Edgardo Maria IOZIA (GRII-IT)

European rail network for competitive freight
COM(2008) 852 final – 2008/0247 COD
CESE 685/2009 fin – 2008/0247 COD
Rapporteur: Mr Dumitru FORNEA (GRII-RO)

Rights of passengers in bus and coach transport
COM(2008) 817 final – 2008/0237 COD
CESE 524/2009 fin – 2008/0237 COD
Rapporteur: Mrs Anna Maria DARMANIN (GRII-MT)