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A lot is already happening on the ground for the implementation of the SDGs – both as top-down goals with governments and institutions providing the driving force and as bottom-up initiatives by non-state actors and civil society. National and local sustainable development strategies, which are successfully involving civil society, were presented at one of a series of events on this topic at the EESC last week. However, an overarching European strategy, which would provide the coherence and guidance needed for the implementation of the SDGs at national and local level, is still missing.


Although industry 4.0 is still a relatively new concept, many experts are already announcing a fifth industrial revolution that will bring about a new paradigm of cooperation and interaction between humans and machines. This is one of the main conclusions of the conference on industry 5.0 organised by the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 22 November.


Statement by Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
On 25 November the EU Heads of State signed the Withdrawal Agreement after nearly two years of exhausting and complex negotiations. They agreed on a compromise based on a balance of rights and obligations, and close cooperation, that takes due account of the unique relation between the United Kingdom and the European Union after over 45 years of integration.


The 12th Civil Society Media Seminar on Reasserting Europe's values, held in Athens, started on 22 November. It gathered more than 150 participants from the three Groups of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) together with press and communication officers and journalists from the Greek media.


The EESC holds a conference in Bucharest on the importance of a serious dialogue about the EU with Europe's young generation

On 13 November, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a conference entitled "Let's talk Europe! Communicating the EU to young people". The conference was held in conjunction with an EESC extraordinary Bureau meeting in Bucharest ahead of Romania taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.


The EU and Japan signed on 17 July 2018 an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will boost growth and create a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers. This is the first EPA signed by the EU which includes specific commitments related to the fight against climate change, and the EESC and its Japanese counterparts will be responsible to monitor its social and environmental impact.


The "LEONARDO: rEUnaissance today" project will be launched on 16 and 17 November in Rome. The project is a concrete expression of the slogan of the Presidency of Luca Jahier: "rEUnaissance" which is closely linked to one of the Presidency priorities: Culture. In a challenging time in European politics, and before the crucial European elections of May 2019, the EESC President looks to the Renaissance era for an inspiration for a positive narrative for the European Union of today. 


Rudy De Leeuw, member of the EESC, rapporteur of the opinion on the European finance-climate pact voted in the plenary session in October 2018, affirmed during a meeting on 8 November with journalists that Europe needs to do more in terms of budget and investments to fight the climate change and its effects. But far from being a burden, this challenge has also a positive side: "The finance-climate pact is a necessity, but also an opportunity for Europe". 


Interview by Luca Jahier to SERVIMEDIA

El presidente del Comité Económico y Social Europeo (CESE), Luca Jahier, destaca que “gracias a la ONCE, las personas con discapacidad han dejado de ser receptoras de ayuda para convertirse en protagonistas de su futuro”, un modelo que “la hace pionera en Europa, y que después tantas otras organizaciones han copiado”.


At its last plenary session, held on 17 October 2018, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion aiming to improve the EU space programme's outcomes and raise its profile. The EESC supports the EU's efforts to remain a major independent space power, but calls for more investment in research, start-ups and business incubators as well as for a consistent application of the "European preference" principle. Clear emphasis should be placed on space mining research and the benefits that space activities could provide in terms of sustainable development.