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Highlights of the European Economic and Social Committee's 27-28 April plenary: 27 April, 5.30 pm - Conference on the Future of Europe  •  28 April, 10.00 am - Adina Vălean, European commissioner for transport, on an EU strategy for sustainable and smart mobility  •  28 April, 11.00 am - Nicolas Schmit, European commissioner for jobs and social rights, on the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, ahead of the Porto Social Summit next month and the planned EU Action Plan for Social Economy.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a slowdown in the activity of many economic sectors and, at the same time, is giving rise to a significant shift in the global balance of power. In this context, the EU is looking for an appropriate strategy to strengthen its role as a global economic player, with policies aimed at boosting the international role of the euro, strengthening the resilience of EU financial market infrastructures and improving the implementation of sanctions imposed on third countries.


Europe and the world have to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. COVID-19 has made things more difficult, but it has also created an unprecedented opportunity: to use the EU recovery funds to revitalise the economy and at the same time ensure that the EU becomes climate-resilient and fully adapted, while achieving climate-neutrality.


Digitalisation is key to letting EU citizens contribute their knowledge and expertise to services of general interest, but this process must be inclusive, reveals online seminar co‑organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).


Hailed as ambitious and holistic, Europe's new plan for beating cancer has met with applause from cancer organisations and civil society. Now, as the pandemic is taking a heavy toll on cancer detection and care, the plan needs to be urgently and properly implemented. So much is at stake – without decisive action, Europe may face a cancer tsunami, with the disease projected to become the leading cause of mortality in just under 15 years.


The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted on 12 April the 7th meeting of the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum, an online event that gathered civil society representatives to discuss on labour-related issues, including working hours, civil dialogue and the state of play of the implementation of international standards and conventions (ILO). Participants also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).


At its March plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion drawn up by the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) which proposes more precise and operational governance arrangements and instruments for the implementation of the new battery regulation, with involvement of all stakeholders, as this could contribute to developing a Union framework covering the entire battery life cycle in the EU.


COVID-19 has blatantly exposed all the cracks and fissures in the European health systems and shown the EU to be unprepared for dealing with major health emergencies. But the first building blocks of the future European Health Union, recently proposed by the Commission, look promising and may give the EU the right weapons to fight pandemics in the future


At its March plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion issued by the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) which proposes supporting investment in the exploration and extraction of critical raw materials, as well as in the use of secondary materials from wastes, as this is essential to the green transition in the EU.