At its plenary session on 22 February, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a debate that warned about companies' growing struggle to get a skilled workforce and pointed to the pressing need for an all-encompassing skills strategy at all levels. The debate saw the participation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD), SMEunited and Social Economy Europe.
At the February plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Belarusian democratic movement, called on the European institutions to support the Belarusian people in their fight against authoritarianism. Belarus must not be Putin’s consolation prize: it deserves to be part of the European family. This will only be possible with the active support of all EU institutions.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Single Market, the EESC held a debate about the future of the world's largest trading bloc with Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager. The Single Market is widely considered the EU's greatest achievement, but has also shown its limitations in the face of current crises.
On Tuesday 24 January, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held an exchange of views with Guillaume Lafortune, Vice-President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN), on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The debate revealed that the EU is failing to meet the objectives of the UN's 2030 Agenda. Yet, there is hope. The EU has the opportunity to take the lead, including through financial support. The EESC plays an important role in monitoring progress.
The January plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) featured a debate during which the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs, Jessika Roswall, presented the priorities of the new presidency of the Council of the European Union.
At the European Economic and Social Committee plenary session on Wednesday, EESC members discussed the EU's response to geopolitical challenges with Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. The presidents of both institutions agreed that competitiveness, together with more strategic autonomy, is crucial in the current challenging times.
At its December plenary, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed the issues affecting young people in the labour market in the context of the 2022 European Year of Youth and the 2023 European Year of Skills. The Committee advocates for a long-term strategy for youth engagement and recommends that the concept of European Years go beyond mere promotional activities and contribute towards clear plans. The needs of refugees and our Ukrainian neighbours must also be a priority of the European Year of Skills.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) today awarded prizes to six civil society organisations for their outstanding projects, which are shining examples of civil society's commitment to creating a better future for Europe's young people and to easing the plight of Ukrainians suffering as a result of Russia's brutal invasion of their country.
The European Economic and Social Committee held a plenary debate on the role of finance and public recovery policies in promoting gender equality and the economic empowerment of women in the EU. The discussion was linked to the adoption of two opinions: one on a gender-based approach to budgeting and investing and the other on how Member States can improve the way in which the direct and indirect measures proposed in their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) affect gender equality.
The December plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) featured a debate on the reconstruction and resilience of the Euro‑Mediterranean region following the COVID-19 pandemic.