Key messages on EU migration strategy from 11 fact-finding country visits and 180+ meetings with Civil Society organisations active in the field. Persecution, conflict and poverty drove more than one million people to seek safety in Europe last year. Significant numbers went missing or died (most drowned) making the arduous journey. The majority who reached Europe made their way across the Mediterranean, arriving mainly in Greece and Italy. For those who survived, arrival in Europe has rarely meant the end of suffering and harsh conditions.
The EESC supports cutting red tape and constraints on small, medium and micro-enterprises through better regulation, but at the same time this process should not mean complete deregulation, warned the EESC during the European Consumer Day on 10 March. Better regulation aims to make rules simple, workable and less costly for users and taxpayers but it is not a dispensation from complying with regulations designed to protect consumers and workers, or from upholding environmental standards.
On Monday 29 February, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Georges Dassis, met with the Greek Minister for Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity, Georgios Katrougalos. The president briefed the minister on the EESC's initiatives to uphold the Schengen Agreement and regarding the refugee crisis.
Yesterday 51 new and renewed delegates attended the first meeting of the EESC Consultative Committee on Industrial Change (CCMI) under the new EESC mandate. CCMI delegates represent the different economic and social sectors and civil society organisations who are affected by or involved in bringing about industrial change.
More than 122 million people in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion
The EESC today adopted a resolution in support of the Schengen Agreement, entitled "Free to move, Support Schengen". The representatives of European civil society are concerned about the pressure being put on the Schengen Agreement and its use as an easy scapegoat for all the shortcomings in the management of Europe's borders.
Investments and free flow of capital are essential for Europe's growth. However, the EU's capital markets are still underdeveloped and fragmented. Therefore, the European Commission adopted an Action plan on "Capital Markets Union" in 2015 aiming to create a true single market for capitals in Europe.
On Tuesday 9 February, Georges Dassis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, had an audience with Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic. Mr Pavlopoulos said that the European Economic and Social Committee played a special and historic role, noting that it had been "set up as a reminder of the social face of the European Union and was a fundamental pillar of the entire European edifice"
Georges Dassis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, will express the support of European civil society for the political priorities of the Dutch presidency during his visit to The Netherlands on Wednesday 10 February.
He is scheduled to meet with Ms Jetta Klijnsma, State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, to discuss the priorities of the EESC during the Dutch Presidency term, notably concerning a number of referrals for EESC opinions on Europe's social issues.
Georges Dassis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, reiterated European civil society organisations' support in this to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, when the two met today.