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This year's Civil Society Days will take place right after the plenary session at which the European Economic and Social Committee celebrates its 60th anniversary.
The focus of this Civil Society Days will be on fostering the current debate about the future of Europe and on highlighting the role across Europe of the civil society organisations which come together in the EESC to represent "Europe at work".
In line with this twofold emphasis, the CivSocDays 2018 will address Europe at work in relation to a dimension which has permeated our everyday working and living environment and will affect and shape our future, as well as the future of Europe: the digital world.
The European Economic and Social Committee is holding a public debate to explore and propose indicators that are suited to European civil society's needs for monitoring the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 16th EU-China Civil Society Round Table will take place in Varna, Bulgaria from 28 May to 29 May 2018.
The topics of the Round Table meeting will be the following: Social security and social solidarity mechanisms, and trade and investment as part of EU-China relations. In the fringes of the Round Table, a tripartite seminar on EU-China Tourism Year 2018 will be organised.
The European Economic and Social Committee is organising a hearing as part of its work related to its own-initiative opinion on Artificial intelligence: anticipating its impact on jobs to ensure a fair transition.
The main objective of the hearing will be to debate the impact of artificial intelligence on different sectors of work and to discuss how to anticipate these changes and developments in order to reduce the negative impact on workers, businesses and consumers, and to ensure a fair transition.
While the environmental benefits of the transition to low-carbon energy supply systems have been widely discussed, economic effects have only been touched upon in a piecemeal fashion, e.g. through employment in the renewable energy sector, the increasing cost competitiveness of energy from renewable sources, or the rise of energy poverty. In particular, it remains unclear how the economies of Europe's diverse regions are affected by the shift to decentralised, low-carbon energy supply. As recent political initiatives in relation to coal regions and islands however show, Europe's energy transition has a distinctively regional dimension. The EESC is currently working on an own-initiative opinion on "The effects of a new carbon-free, decentralised and digitalized energy supply structure on jobs and regional economies". In this opinion, it seeks to take stock of existing economic analyses on the regional effects and develop an assessment framework.
The EESC Study Group on the Inclusion of the Roma will be organising a public hearing on the issue of early school leaving within the Roma community. Education is considered the key for a better future. Yet the social exclusion they face, as well as certain regulatory measures, amongst others factors, affect negatively the education they receive.
This hearing will highlight the current situation with regard to early school leaving amongst the Roma. It will seek to identify factors which trigger this phenomenon and feature a discussion on initiatives and good practices which are being undertaken by civil society organisations as well as recommendations on how early school leaving can be prevented.
The EESC has been working on the topic of Social Economy Enterprises for the past decade and a dedicated permanent study group has been created in 2016. In view of the success of the European Day of Social Economy Enterprises in 2016 and 2017, it is proposed to organise a third edition of this event.
The European Year of Cultural Heritage is an excellent opportunity to understand how Europe’s rural cultural heritage is a prized asset which needs to be showcased alongside our urban heritage. The EESC opinion on the "Contribution of Europe’s Rural Areas to the 2018 Year of Cultural Heritage" will consider what measures are necessary to ensure sustainability of landscapes, habitats, species and human imprints. It will look at how to ensure initiatives that will add today's creativity to our heritage and improve co-operation between the rural and the urban, not least through promoting rural cultural tourism. It will also explore how innovation and digitalisation can contribute to capturing and promoting this heritage for all citizens and communities within and beyond Europe.
In September 2016, the EESC adopted an own-initiative opinion on "The rights of live-in care workers". It was a first policy document at the European level dealing with the sector of live-in care work in Europe. As follow-up to this initiative, the EESC will carry out 5 country visits to countries of origin and destination of live-in care workers (United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Poland) to deepen the research on labour and work conditions of these persons and the quality of care delivery. The findings will be presented in a report to be released by the EESC later in 2018.