Celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Bulgaria and the 60th anniversary of the European Economic and Social Committee: For the past 15 years the cooperation between our organisations has exemplary. The work of the EESC would not be possible without reliable partners such as the ESC of the Republic of Bulgaria.Today, our partnership is needed more than ever. A crucial step is before us: the European elections of May 2019. We must propose a mobilizing European project that will even make you dream!
Speeches & Statements
When we talk about Sustainability, Premature Obsolescence, dual-quality products and the rights of consumers in the Digital Economy, you will find the active voice of the EESC championing the way forward: for an empowered consumer, for a competitive business environment to serve those consumers, and for future-proof laws to protect EU citizens.
Thank you for granting the Aquí Europa-Vocento Award to the European Economic and Social Committee for its contribution to European integration. In the year in which the EESC celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, this award encourages us even more to continue our work of making the voices and interests of civil society heard in decision-making at European Union level.
What can be done to counteract shrinking civic space? And how can we do this? We must promote the culture of participation in all spheres of life to safeguard our democracies. This means supporting civic education, and helping CSOs providing this educational dimension. This implies encouraging creative education and the arts, which are shown to promote critical thinking and enhance participation.
Just like the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee has dedicated - and will dedicate - a great deal of attention to the European Pillar of Social Rights. Its implementation concerns us all. Since its proclamation, the Commission has launched proposals on work-life balance, on access to social protection, on transparent working conditions and on the labour market authority. The legislators are still struggling to achieve agreements on these dossiers, which would reinforce very concretely the social dimension of the European agenda. With only six months to go before the European elections, a strong agreement would send a positive message to European citizens.
On 25 November the EU Heads of State signed the Withdrawal Agreement after nearly two years of exhausting and complex negotiations. They agreed on a compromise based on a balance of rights and obligations, and close cooperation, that takes due account of the unique relation between the United Kingdom and the European Union after over 45 years of integration.
Reflection time is over. We have less than seven months to jumpstart a new narrative, secure what we have achieved so far, and continue building the European future. As you know, the EU has experienced many challenges much like our Member States. We live in a world that is increasingly diversified and we cannot go back to old national formats. Understanding and embracing change will allow Europe to move forward and shape the global order for the 21st century.
Europe, its institutions and civil society appear to be a laughably inadequate defence against this sea of troubles. We need to get a grip. The next, crucial stage is just around the corner: the European elections. We have to put forward a European project that galvanises people, one that even lets them dream.
The EESC has been and will continue to advocate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda at a European level and beyond, transitioning to a society that is sustainable in economic, social and environmental terms. It is essential that organised civil society is fully involved and mobilised in relation to a future EU Sustainable Development Strategy.