Mr Ostrowski, EESC member, participated in the conference on the Urban Agenda for the EU, organized under the Polish Presidency in Visegrad Group held on 27th October in Warsaw
Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section and Mr Haken, vice-president of the ECO Section, represented the EESC at the Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for urban policy which took place on 30 May 2016 in Amsterdam. After decades of working together towards a common European urban project, it is within this context that the 28 Ministers, along with representatives from other EU Institutions, cities and urban authorities agreed on the "Pact of Amsterdam" which sets out the principles of the EU Urban Agenda.
Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section, attended the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters which took place on 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg. Topics raised concerned the possible added-value of small and mediums-sized cities in cross-border regions, the progress towards the EU Urban Agenda, the urban challenges of the refugee situation and most importantly the Luxembourg Presidency Conclusions, a document which sums up the high-level representatives’ declared opinion on the aforementioned matters (see below). This meeting was an essential milestone towards the EU Urban Agenda, a brand new initiative which the EESC has requested for years.
The EESC is convinced that islands, mountainous regions and sparsely populated areas face significant challenges and that there is a solid legal basis that obliges the EU to take action in order to tackle these challenges. In this context, the organised civil society has an important role to play and through this debate, the aim is to find the best practices and solutions so that these regions can perform better and recover from the multiple crises. Therefore the EESC- ECO section has decided to organise this public debate in the framework of the EESC own-intiative opinion on "Main challenges that EU islands, mountain and sparsely populated areas face.
Insularity is considered to be a permanent and unchangeable geographical feature which involves additional costs (transport, energy, waste management, public services, necessity goods and services) that hamper the development and competitiveness of the islands, while particularly exposing them to biodiversity loss and climate change. The organised civil society has an important role to play and tackle all these challenges and through this debate. The aim is to find the best practices and solutions so that EU islands can preform better and recover from the multiple crises.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be producing an own-initiative opinion on the main challenges faced by EU islands and mountainous and sparsely populated areas, which is scheduled for adoption at the EESC's September plenary session. In this context, the EESC, along with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and the North Sweden European Office (NSEO), will be holding a public hearing in Umeå (Sweden) on 4 May 2023 entitled "Challenges and opportunities that the digital and energy transitions present to the northern sparsely populated areas and islands. How can these regions become drivers for growth and development?". The hearing is an event under the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
On 17th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the Aegean islands (EL), with the objective to learn about the islands' production of energy.
On 27th June 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, with the objective to evaluate the solutions developed to develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the population.