The EESC welcomes the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to simplify the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Increased transparency and legal certainty should go hand in hand with a reduction in red tape for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations. A simplified CAP needs to be implemented as soon as possible and farmers should be provided with necessary information and education-based support. For the EESC, it is particularly important to look into the consistency of current requirements, including their impact on the environment, food safety, food availability and job creation.
On 15 December 2015, the President of the Committee took part in the European Parliament Conference of Committee Chairs held in Strasbourg.
In his speech, Mr Dassis set out the EESC's positions on migration and asylum, stressing the prominent role of civil society. Turning to sustainable development and climate change, he spoke about the need for a new governance model in order to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and the Paris Protocol.
The EESC president also stressed the need to "parliamentarise" Economic and Monetary Union, which should listen more to civil society, and called for interinstitutional cooperation to introduce a social protocol paving the way for a levelling up of the Member States' social systems.
On 5 December 2015, the Workers' Group of the EESC organised a conference in Paris on the margins of COP21 during which a study was presented on "Combating climate change: putting a price on carbon on the basis of economic and social criteria". This study was carried out by Syndex experts at the request of the Workers' Group.
The document on a new agenda on EU migration published by the Commission should be considered as one of the most important documents of recent EU history regarding the establishment of a minimum common migration policy, for economic as well as for international protection reasons.
The Workers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee organised a High Level Seminar on "How fit is EU legislation for the digital age?"
The EESC's opinion criticises the Commission's proposal for lacking a social dimension, since evolving business services and models will lead to profound changes in the labour market. The EESC believes that there will be many potential risks and challenges, particularly in the field of security, work organisation and social security, and that the social dimension, with all its implications for employment, should form the fourth pillar of the European Digital Single Market Strategy.
We are pleased to announce that Ricardo Serra Arias has joined the Employers' Group. Mr Serra Arias is the president of the Spanish farmers association ASAJA-Sevilla and ASAJA-Andalucía. He is also a vice-president of COPA-COGECA EU and a vice-president of ASAJA Nacional, with responsibility for international relations.
On Monday 14 December, the European Economic and Social Committee, partnering with the United Nations, hosted a screening of the film "El desorden de los sentidos" (Disorder of the senses), featuring two young cyclists from Spain with disabilities, Gerardo and Antonio (represented by his father Javier Luque). The special screening was opened by George Dassis, President of the EESC.
The signing of the first ever global climate change agreement is a historic moment. It represents an important milestone in the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
This agreement would not have been possible without the unprecedented mobilisation of civil society, towns, cities and territories, a mobilisation in which the EESC participated extensively.
Whilst the agreement only partially meets our expectations, it includes a number of significant steps forward in terms of ambitions, revision mechanisms and funding.
This is a historic moment and so too are our responsibilities. Now is the moment that the future will be determined, by implementing the agreement, honouring the commitments made and transitioning towards fairer economies.