The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a conference on the prospects for the European economy in times of crisis. The event gathered high-level policy-makers, civil society representatives and economic researchers to see how the EU can tackle new dilemmas posed by low-growth prospects and record-high levels of inflation. All agreed that the war in Ukraine has only aggravated trends that have been going on for years.
The EESC held a debate in plenary on the growing importance of organised civil society and cities in Europe's ability to face asymmetric shocks and unforeseen crises. This was linked to the adoption of two opinions, on Flexible Assistance to Territories (FAST-CARE) and on the Ljubljana Agreement on the Urban Agenda of the EU. The Committee welcomes both initiatives, but finds they miss the bar in terms of properly empowering and involving organised civil society.
A resilient, sustainable and inclusive Europe is only possible if organised civil society is systematically involved in both national recovery plans and the Commission's new REPowerEU strategy. During its annual conference in June, the European Semester Group (ESG) renewed its call for a regulation or directive to ensure civil society participation, and proposed a permanent and common investment financing mechanism to enhance crisis preparedness and response capacity.
The European Economic and Social Committee is calling on the European Commission to carry out more targeted impact assessments of its proposals for new EU budget funding sources to repay NextGenerationEU debt. The EESC generally agrees with the proposed EU "own resources" revenues for the budget. However, they need to be stable and fair – and should not burden households or businesses.
The European Commission relaunched the public debate on the review of the EU economic governance framework in October 2021, almost a year after it was put on hold. Following up on this relaunch, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) held a joint online conference as part of the public debate.