Tomorrow's EU-Western Balkans Summit can only underline once and for all that the effective enlargement of the European Union and the promotion of its values in the countries of the region ensure security, enhance social and economic development, consolidate democracy and the rule of law in Europe.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), representing the economic and social interests of organised civil society in the European Union (EU), has strongly and consistently supported the enlargement of the European Union to the six Western Balkans countries provided they fulfil all the necessary criteria for membership.
As the role and the voice of the civil society are vital for making any tangible progress on issues and values at the very core of the European Union, the EESC made the present declaration as its contribution to the political leaders participating to the Western Balkans Summit on 6 May 2020.
Statement by the members of the EU-Chile Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), who met via video conference on 15 May 2020
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and its study group on the inclusion of the Roma join the call of Members from EU institutions as well as civil society organisations to raise concern over the worsening situation of marginalized communities, amongst them the Roma, during this difficult and uncertain period. We praise the volunteers and employees of Roma organisations for the invaluable work they are carrying out to continue assisting the Roma community in this challenging time, during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The EESC and its study group on the inclusion of the Roma join the call of Members from EU institutions as well as civil society organisations to raise concern over the worsening situation of marginalized communities. We praise the volunteers and employees of Roma organisations for the invaluable work they are carrying out to continue assisting their community during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Yet their efforts cannot replace the governments' responsibilities for taking care of the whole population of their countries, including the Roma community.
Ahead of today’s vote in the European Parliament on a strong resolution to set the tone for the meeting of Heads of state and government next week and in light of the solid package of measures proposed on 9 April by the Eurogroup to support the European economy last week, I am confident the EU has now more than ever the chance and the obligation to rise from its ashes like the Phoenix.
The response to the COVID-19 crisis has had a negative impact on a number of fundamental rights. The unavoidable lockdowns have restricted our freedom of movement and cross-border travel. Freedom of association and assembly have been cut, so have privacy rights through data tracking systems. What has been put in place as a temporary measure cannot be instrumentalised to revert decades-long fights for freedoms and equality. We must get out of this crisis with our democracies – and our European Union – intact.
The CODIV-19 is forcing us apart with lockdowns, but at the same showing us that we must stick together if we want to defeat the pandemic. We must react jointly and swiftly to address this unexpected crisis both in Europe and in other regions of the world, because the virus knows no borders, skin colors or social status.
Ahead of the Eurogroup meeting on 7 April 2020, the European Economic and Social Committee has adopted a declaration calling for timely and urgent responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faced with the public health concerns and the political, economic and social consequences of the crisis, the EESC Members, as representatives of organised civil society, are united in stressing the crucial need for joint and prompt action. The Committee underlines that this pandemic is a test of solidarity in political, financial, social and scientific terms for the European Union.
In these difficult times, we must remember that we belong to a community of shared destiny. Only a European Union that upholds the principle of solidarity will be able to face the crisis, EESC Members stress.
The EESC is convinced that in these times of big uncertainty only a comprehensive European Economic Recovery Plan will enable the EU to rebuild a more sustainable and resilient European economy.
In this declaration the EESC gives clear guidelines for a joint effort to cope with the effects of this pandemic that affects enterprises, workers, civil society and everyone’s well-being.
I have always considered myself a proud European, today more than ever. Nevertheless, the current mood between the heads of State and Government, coupled with the persistent viral divisions, presents a lethal risk – not only to the European Union, but also to our ability to bounce back from this unprecedented systemic and symmetric crisis.