The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and the European Youth Forum (YFJ) organised a joint event on youth employment on the afternoon of June 25th in the European Economic and Social Committee.
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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.
When it comes to Roma issues, the gender dimension has long been neglected. However, women have an essential role in Roma society and ensuring their participation is a key element in improving their situation. Romani women across Europe often face discrimination on multiple fronts: racism for being Roma, as well as gender discrimination.
It is not possible to speak about the inclusion of Roma if half of their community has little or no opportunity to express their needs and make their voice heard. Roma inclusion policy needs Roma women activists and advocates. The gender dimension can also play an important role in the success of National Roma Integration Strategies (NRISs).
Although the European Union does not have legislative powers in the field of housing, the housing policies of the Member States, including those on social housing, are involved in a growing number of European strategies and are affected - sometimes negatively - by decisions taken in other policy areas. The conference will discuss recent developments in favour of social housing and concrete proposals made by these organizations.
The EU-Africa strategy was adopted in 2007 and has become the main framework for inter-continental relations between Europe and Africa. Its goal is to develop a shared vision of the main global issues whilst simultaneously strengthening cooperation in a broad range of areas such as development, governance, human rights, trade, regional integration, food security and migration.
The EESC Employers' Group is organising a seminar on the future of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership in La Valletta, Malta. This event, which will be attended by representatives of the EU and US negotiators, local politicians, business representatives and EESC members, aims to analyze the possible effects of TTIP on Maltese businesses and citizens, as well as to give a platform for Malta's business and political world to speak out on their needs and expectations from these trade negotiations. During this debate, we will also focus on what TTIP can bring to Maltese SMEs and how it could significantly support the creation of additional growth and jobs in Malta.
On 7 July 2015, in collaboration with the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), Group III hosted a seminar to discuss the current situation in trade and agri-food products following the Russian restrictions on food imports from the EU. Since Russia banned the import of agricultural goods from the EU the situation for food producers has been very critical and has impacted several European countries such as Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia which export more than half of their agri-food export to Russia.
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.
This meeting of the Labour Market Observatory, which marked the beginning of a new term of office, was mainly dedicated to discussing the observatory's working methods for the 2013-2015 mandate, as well as its 2013-2014 work programme.
The meeting was also an occasion to listen to various external speakers from the European Commission and Eurofound who presented the state of play and the challenges facing European labour markets.
The public hearing will explore how sport can strengthen European values such as mutual respect, social integration and equality between men and women. Examples of initiatives, which use sport to bridge differences and foster a sense of community will be presented. The aim of the hearing is to draw lessons from such initiatives and suggest new ways to make sport a vehicle for integration in Europe.
In view of the ongoing TTIP negotiations, the EESC is organising a seminar, whose main purpose will be to be to assess the need for an energy chapter in the TTIP, in particular after the lifting of the US restrictions on crude oil exports and the impact that such a chapter might have on trade of energy goods and services, and on environmental and energy policies both in the EU and the US. Main topics: a) the impact of TTIP on the EU energy market and security of energy supplies; b) the possibility to foster a more transparent, predictable, open and non-discriminatory framework for traders and investors in energy and raw materials, by improving transparency and competition in the energy sector; c) an energy chapter in TTIP as a model to shape energy relations with other countries; d) the impact on trade in environmental goods, renewable energy and energy efficiency, aiming at contributing to the achievement of SDGs and climate change targets.