The five winning initiatives present snap-shots of what is being done by thousands of voluntary groups and NGOs across Europe. Each of the projects tackles the 2015 theme “Combating poverty” in its own way and demonstrates that poverty undermines all aspects of well-being in society, including education, long-term health, housing, access to employment and family relationships.
The EESC did not merely come up with the idea of the European Year for Development (EYD) 2015, it has also contributed to its success. Several initiatives designed to reach a wider audience – business groups, trade unions, NGOs – were organized throughout the year to explore how to streamline and coordinate this policy more efficiently and effectively.
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.