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.
Youth unemployment rates are much higher than unemployment rates for all ages. More than 5 million young people in the EU are unemployed today. This means that one in five young people on the labour market cannot find a job.
As President of the European Economic and Social Committee, but also as citizen, I believe that we all must act for that our children can be better off than us. My generation did not get any problem to get a job. Our children meet problems now. It is a great concern for me as a person, as a father and as a grandfather, as well as President of the EESC. And Georgios Dassis, President of the Employees' Group in the EESC, shares this concern. This is the reason why we decided to gather here today. Georgios would agree with me that leaving the young people aside would mean compromising the future of the EU and of our children.
Inaugural speech by President Jahier entitled: "From Austerity to Growth and Recovery: Overcoming the Socio-Economic Consequences of Greece's Crisis" delivered at the Group III extraordinary meeting in Athens, on Thursday 20 March 20104.
The European Economic and Social Committee is very keen to engage with youth on sustainable development as we are preparing to give input and participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that will take place in 20-22 June in Rio de Janeiro. This Conference is a crucial opportunity to send a clear message for a global change towards a green and sustainable economy and poverty eradication.