The 2nd meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform took place on 11 February 2016 in EESC premises in Brussels. During the meeting, a debate was held assessing the state of play in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and two reports, prepared by both sides, were discussed and adopted – on energy policy and on the rule of law, with a focus on fight against corruption. A Joint Declaration was adopted at the end of the meeting to be forwarded to the EU-Ukraine Association Council, the Association Committee, the Parliamentary Association Committee and other relevant bodies both in Ukraine as well as in the EU.
The EESC's engagement with civil society organisations in Russia is governed by the five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations agreed between EU foreign ministers and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One of these guiding principles is "support for people-to-people contacts".
Dialogue and the exchange of experiences between civil society representatives from the EU and Russia contribute in a significant way to the continued implementation of the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership. The EESC has adopted a two-stranded approach to its relations with Russian civil society in order to engage with as wide a range of civil society representatives as possible. On the one hand, it maintains relations with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, its official Russian counterpart, and organises – amongst other things – annual joint seminars on topics of interest to civil society on both sides. The EESC's other partner is the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which brings together a different set of civil society organisations.
The EU-Russia Follow-up Committee is an internal EESC body, which acts as a steering group, and is responsible for developing and maintaining relations and organising meetings and joint seminars with civil society in Russia.
The Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) meeting, devoted to youth, education and training, will be marked by the participation of DG Education and Culture Director General Martine Reicherts. Specific debates will be held on Education and Training 2020 Joint Report and EU Youth Report 2015.
The European Economic and Social Committee and Cultura contro camorra are jointly organising a Series of Conferences, Debates and Events which will take place between 16-19 November 2015.
What is the role of civil society in the fight against organised crime?
How can we increase the use of confiscated assets for social and cultural purposes?
How can we combat the involvement of organised crime in trafficking of human beings?
The week for fighting organised crime aims to provide an answer to these questions through conferences, debates and cultural events with the participation of policy makers and representatives from European and national authorities and civil society.
With the SOC Section's support, EAPN will present its assessment of the 2015 NRPs and debate with 150 stakeholders two key questions:
- What needs to be done to ensure that the European Semester delivers on its Europe 2020 commitments to reduce poverty and promote participation?
- How to help the EU move forward on a social, sustainable and democratic strategy that could give hope and restore faith in the EU?
Speakers: Commissioner Thyssen, Outi Slotboom (DG ECFIN), Raquel Lucas (Commissioner Dombrovskis Cabinet), Sergio Prieto (MEP) and Tom Dominique (SPC Chair).
The event gathered all main national social partners (business federations and trade unions from the 28 Member States) for a full-day debate on the opportunities and challenges of TTIP for the social partners. The meeting allowed for discussion on concrete topics via plenary sessions and parallel panels. The overall objective of the conference was to inform social partners at the national level about the different aspects of TTIP, to promote a balanced exchange of views and experiences between these different national groups aimed at reaching some common understanding on the TTIP and its repercussions.
In March 2014 the 1st meeting of the EU-Africa economic and social interest groups network took place in Brussels. Following negotiations with the EESC, this meeting was funded by the Commission's DG DEVCO with the main objective of introducing an 'organised civil society pillar' into the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The network was kicked off just in time to offer input to the Africa-EU Summit of April 2014.
The EESC has an interest to keep this network alive in order to contribute and follow up into the JAES from the perspective of organised civil society. Politically the best timing for organising meetings of this network is ahead of relevant summits between EU and African heads of state and/or government.