For the second consecutive year, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) opened its virtual doors and celebrated Europe online with a dedicated website, underlining that, now more than ever, civil society organisations are playing an essential role in Europe, from their involvement in the recovery to their vital work in dealing with our day-to-day challenges.
It was online Europe Day this year at the EESC, the home of EU organised civil society! Hosting a range of activities on its website, the Committee celebrated the European Union and the 71st anniversary of the Schuman Declaration – the starting point for European integration – by showcasing the key and unique role played in Europe by civil society organisations in these times, from their involvement in the recovery to their vital work in dealing with our day-to-day challenges.
Welcoming the virtual visitors, Cillian Lohan, EESC vice-president for communication, said:
Every year, on 9 May, Europe Day marks the date of the Schuman Declaration, when today's European Union all began. Europe Day is first and foremost a celebration of peace and unity in Europe: it is an opportunity to feel a sense of togetherness and being part of something bigger, but also the chance for all of us to reflect on what solidarity has built and what we hope to achieve in the future. The greatest challenges that we face as a society require us to work together in solidarity.
The wide-ranging agenda for the day included online talks, a 360° virtual visit of the Committee's premises and other interactive activities enabling visitors to discover more about how the EESC works, its advisory function in the EU decision-making process and its members' activities.
In addition, the Committee organised a webinar on "Participatory democracy: a key pillar of the Conference on the Future of Europe", moderated by Mr Lohan, in which EESC members Milena Angelova, Tatjana Babrauskienė, Miroslav Hajnoš, Violeta Jelić and Elena Sinkevičiūtė discussed how civil society organisations could play a more prominent role at European level and make their invaluable contributions even more effective.
Capitalising on the success of last year's first ever online Open Day, EESC Europe Day 2021 also offered our online visitors the chance to:
1. Discover what EESC members do back home: Civil society against COVID-19 – stories from our members' organisations working in the field to help citizens recover from the crisis.
2. Visit the EESC Culture Corner: to discover the EESC's various virtual exhibitions in an interactive and attractive way with a 360° virtual visit.
3. Take part in many live activities: online games and other activities such as a digital photo booth and a picture competition where, after giving pictures some EU flair, participants were able to share them with us by tagging @youreurope on Instagram. A tree was planted for each picture received!
We are already looking forward to next year, when the EESC Open Day may be back at its official premises, the Jacques Delors building in the EU district in Brussels!
For more information on the event, please visit our website.