On the 6th november 2014, the European Economic and Social Committee unanimously adopted its contribution to the European Commission's 2015 work programme. This 15-page document is full of very specific proposals and suggestions for improvement, and clearly sets out the areas where civil society expects the new team heading the Commission to be active in the coming year.
As part of a cooperation agreement, the European Economic and Social Committee undertook to send the president of the European Commission a contribution to his work programme, in order to highlight in advance what the priorities were for civil society stakeholders as a whole. This document thus represents the culmination of a series of discussions and consultations that revealed the primary expectations of the people of Europe.
Employment continues to be a key concern. The crisis in 2008 put several groups of people into a much more precarious position: this includes young people, more than half of whom are unemployed in some Member States, and also women, who are already the group principally affected by precarious employment – the gap between unemployment levels for men and women has been widening constantly since 2009. Some of the issues where our Committee is calling for real progress to be made include developing apprenticeships, supporting entrepreneurship – particularly social entrepreneurship in the "green" sector – and also giving the banking sector back its role in financing the real economy.
From the digital market, via consolidation of the single market, to European immigration policy, the EESC has used the ten key areas presented by Jean-Claude Juncker as a basis for suggesting improvements that could put Europe more in tune with its citizens.
The EESC's contribution will be officially presented to the president of the European Commission in the next few days.