The European Economic and Social Committee shares the opinion of many experts and a large proportion of Europe's society that the 28 Member States would not have done so well individually had they not decided to work and act together in the European Union (EU). The EU has become a place of economic and social welfare and the place with the best protection of human rights and human dignity in the world.

In truth, the EU has been a success. However, a union of 500 million people with 24 different languages, cultures, histories, democratic developments, economies and social systems is bound to suffer setbacks over the course of time. It is up to the 28 Member States and their civil societies to solve these problems and overcome obstacles, both internal and global, together – and this will make Europe even stronger.

The serious challenges, such as climate change and migration, that we are currently facing cannot be solved by any of the Member States alone. The countries of Europe now need to work more closely together than ever. 

The EESC is convinced that the EU is the only solution to the challenges ahead.

This is why the EESC will dedicate its 13th Civil Society Media Seminar to the role of civil society in communicating the European Union.

Simultaneous interpreting will be provided in EN, ES and FR

Thursday, 10 October 2019

8.30 – 9:30 a.m.  Registration & Welcome Coffee

9.30 – 10.10 a.m. Welcome session

Welcome speech:

  • José Ángel Narváez Bueno, Chancellor of the University of Malaga

Chair and introduction:

  • Isabel Caño Aguilar, EESC Vice-President

Speech on behalf of the European Parliament:

  • Maria Andrés Marin, Head of the European Parliament's Liaison Office in Spain


  • Francisco de la Torre Prados, Mayor of Malaga

10.10 – 10.30 a.m.  Key note and introduction to the seminar

  • Verónica Fumanal, President of the Association of Political Communication (ACOP)

10.30 – 11.00 a.m. Coffee break

11.00 a.m.  - 1 p.m. Panel I – Europe equals hope - 60 years of achievements and the way forward

Moderated by: Maroun Labaki, journalist

Introduction to the topic:

  • Jacek Krawczyk, President of the EESC's Employers' Group

L'Europe c'est l'espoir – Europe that's hope (EP elections 1979)

This was one of the slogans for the 1979 European Parliament elections. Today, too, the EU means hope for many, and it should be the hope for all Europeans.

The 60 year-long success story of the EU has not been a bed of roses. Many hurdles have had to be cleared and many divisions healed– if only thinking of the lifting of the Iron Curtain and the EU accession of former Communist countries. We have done well so far, and now we need to smooth the path further.  

In this panel we will look at the EU's achievements, what is needed to make the future similarly successful, and how to communicate this more effectively.


  • Maria Freitas, senior policy advisor, Foundation for European Progressive Studies in Brussels
  • Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, journalist, Brussels correspondent of French newspaper "Sud-Ouest", editor-in-chief of the blog B2 - Bruxelles2
  • Cristina Marconi, freelance journalist and writer
  • Kiran Klaus Patel, professor and chair of European History, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich

1.00 – 2.30 p.m. Lunch

Malaga Museum -  La terraza de la Aduana, Plaza de la Aduana

2.30 – 4.30 p.m. Panel II – Together for Europe - Joining forces to make Europe a lasting success

Moderated by: Jorge Valero, journalist

Introduction to the topic:

  • Oliver Röpke, President of the EESC's Workers' group

Juntos para Europa – Together for Europe (EP elections 1989)

This was one of the slogans for the 1989 EP elections. The more people support the idea of a common and sustainable Europe, the more successful it will be.

While young people are showing more and more of an interest in politics, particularly when it comes to fighting climate change, climate sceptics are becoming more aggressive in their denial of global warming, vilifying green movements in the face of the manifest need for our economies and lifestyles to shift towards greater sustainability.

In this panel, we will look mainly at what communication strategy we need to follow to convince all Europeans that solving problems such as climate change, migration and many other challenges will only be possible through the joint efforts of politics, media and civil society.


  • Álvaro Gallego Peris, cabinet of the Spanish High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda
  • Marie-Isabelle Heiss, lawyer and EP candidate for the pro-European movement VOLT Europa
  • Silviu Mihai, freelance journalist, researcher and producer
  • Helena Seibicke, senior researcher, ARENA - Centre for European Studies, Oslo

4.30 – 5.30 p.m. Networking and exchange of views with press officers from civil society organisations

8.00 – 10.00 p.m. Networking dinner

AC Hotel Málaga Palacio (Fórum B), Calle Cortina del Muelle, 1, 29015 Malaga, Spain

Friday, 11 October 2019

9.30 – 10.00 a.m. Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.15 a.m. Opening session

  • Isabel Caño Aguilar, EESC Vice-President
  • Inmaculada Postigo Gómez, Dean of the Faculty of Communication Science, University of Malaga

10.15 – 12.15 p.m. Panel III – Democracy brings us together
How to reinforce trust in the EU through transparency, ethics in politics and respect for European values

Moderated by: José Manuel Sanz, journalist

Introduction to the topic:

  • Jane Morrice, member of the EESC Diversity Europe Group

Demokratie führt uns zusammen - Democracy brings us together" (EP elections 1984)

This was one of the slogans for the 1984 EP elections. Today, too, democracy should be the glue holding the Union together.
However, lack of transparency, unethical practices and departures from the fundamental principles of European democracy have generated distrust in politics and political legitimacy in the EU, and thus in democracy. 
Speakers and the audience will debate how to restore confidence in European democracy, focusing on what is needed for it to be resilient.
The role of journalism as the watchdog of democracy

Participants will also discuss the specific role of the media as a last bastion of democracy, addressing freedom of the press and the democratic function of cross-border investigative journalism and, on the other hand, the role played by social media in democratic processes.


  • Tina Bettels-Schwabbauer, European Journalism Observatory
  • Mar Cabra, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
  • Elina Makri, journalist and media project manager
  • Pauline Adès-Mével, Reporters without Borders, spokeswoman, head of European Union & Balkan desk
  • Maciej Zakrocki, Polish radio and television journalist

12.15 – 12.30 p.m. Close

  • Isabel Caño Aguilar, EESC Vice-President