This week, I exchanged views with representatives of national parliaments and Members of the European Parliament on the future of Europe as we have a co-responsibility in carving the narrative on the European Union. I presented what the Committee has done on the future of Europe and our plans ahead of Sibiu and the EU elections. Drawing conclusions from the wealth of activities, it is clear that whatever the Future of Europe will be, it will have to be citizens-driven.
The President's blog
On behalf of the EESC, I would like to congratulate Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations for launching a strategy aimed at financing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. We fully endorse Agenda 2030 as this is a win-win strategy: it is good for economic growth and competitiveness, it is good for companies and it is good for workers, and it is good for the planet.
The summer is a good time to look back and reflect on the good work that the Committee has done in many fields since the beginning of the year. One that has drawn my attention is the very interesting study commissioned by the EESC's Employers' Group.
Civil society's contribution to the Energy Union initiative by Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
The energy transition offers huge potential for cities and regions to pursue new, innovative and effective policies at regional level and is a terrific opportunity to put the EU on the right track to achieving faster sustainable economic and social development. European organised civil society can play a significant role in transforming the way people think to help them embrace change.
The European Union has already seen the dire consequences of those policies in the past, and has learned its lessons. We ought to be careful not to respond to aggressive behaviour with aggressive behaviour. That is what I told reporter Lee Jeong-ho from the South China Morning Post in an interview ahead of the 20th EU-China Summit in Beijing.
Last week will remain engraved in our memories. TV channels around the world broadcast images of children separated from their parents at Texas borders and here in Europe the conflict over migrants and refugees has reached the highest possible level of confrontation. Have we lost our humanity? Have we forgotten our values?
Millions are fleeing war or persecution worldwide. As we commemorate their strength and courage on World Refugee Day, we try to be calm quoting the record high number of 68.5 million displaced people - 3 million higher than the total population of the UK - 25.4 million refugees, 40 million internally displaced and 3.1 million asylum seekers.
When we talk about inequality, we should remind ourselves that a good slice of Europe's economy is making profits for people other than investors or owners. Cooperatives, mutual societies, non-profit associations, foundations are part of this very vibrant community that makes the social economy.
The EESC, our 'House of European civil society', took part in this campaign, the aim of which is to bring together proposals from European citizens concerning the future of Europe. We can be proud of having inaugurated this new format – the citizens' consultation on Europe – based on our experience as the voice of civil society in Europe.
This new culture of dialogue should be developed for a number of key areas that also form the main priorities of my mandate, namely: sustainable development, culture, peace and youth.