The responses to the multiple crises that the European Union has been confronted with have increasingly led European citizens to become disenchanted not only with the European Union itself but also with democratic institutions in general – both at the European and national level. There is a serious risk of EU citizens no longer seeing the added value of the EU for their living and working conditions as well as for their future perspectives and those of their children and for losing a common sense of belonging.
Anniversaries are a time for celebration. For togetherness and joy. A moment to pause, to look back and take stock of achievements which will drive our future. We are here to dare the future of Europe.
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.
The subject of Culture is close to my heart– it is one of the four priorities of my presidency alongside peace, sustainable development and youth. These are the pillars of the new European Renaissance we must urgently strive for. Culture is not only a driver of economic growth and social cohesion, it has been one of the drivers of European identity for many centuries.
EESC President Luca Jahier participated in the 129th plenary session of the Committee of the Regions. In the debate about "Regions and cities - Key drivers for reinforcing the European identity through culture" the participants highlighted that cities and regions reflect Europe's cultural diversity and are best placed to turn Europe's cultural heritage into a strategic asset.
News article: The success of the accession process of the Western Balkan countries needs “meaningful involvement” of civil society organisations in the integration process, Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), told EURACTIV.
Read the full article here.
The EESC is hosting today its first high-level conference to discuss the proposal for the next “Multiannual Financial Framework” (MFF), covering the period 2021-2027, on the basis of the European Commission's proposal of 2 May. We are only at the beginning of a process, with the ball now being with the Council and the European Parliament that will, hopefully, in early 2019, adopt an MFF that will allow the EU to move forward. The EESC will thoroughly analyse the Commission´s proposals and will draw up an opinion on this important package by September.
The European Union and the Western Balkans have a shared interest in working more closely together to guarantee all our citizens economic and social development, as well as security. The future of the region is a European future. The EU and the Western Balkans economies have benefited from closer integration as trade doubled in the last 10 years. The EU is today the first trading partner of the region, the biggest investor and the most credible and reliable political and geostrategic partner.
As Tocqueville used to say, our identity is first a democracy respectful of the individual, of minorities, and fundamental rights. Over the weekend of 5-6 May, we witnessed a beautiful exercise of democracy, which can only strengthen our European identity.