On 21 October 2013, the Workers' Group organised an extraordinary meeting on the themes of social cohesion and minimum income.
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Globally, inequality and poverty also have led to migration, fostering, inequality and tensions in the host countries.
Europe has reacted to these challenges by proclaiming the European pillar of social rights, a set of key principles aiming at a more social Europe. Its main purpose is to fight against inequality and poverty. The fight against inequalities is also linked to the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Dutch Presidency has requested an exploratory opinion about the shift from the traditional employment relationship to more non-standard forms of employment, introduced among others by online platforms like Uber. The EESC is to examine the link between new forms of employments relationships to a decent living wage and make policy recommendations as to how to take full advantage of digital innovation but regulate and mitigate the effects in terms of labour law protection and social protection.
In 2008, the European Commission proposed a Active Inclusion Strategy based on three strands: adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services for all. Since then, in the wake of the financial crisis, there was practically no progress in implementing it.
The EESC-Eurofound joint conference on 16 June 2014 at the EESC assessed the situation and proposed a better approach.
The EESC Sustainable Development Observatory has organised, together with ANPED, EEB and CIDSE a European civil society workshop on Sustainable Development Goals.
The aim of the workshop was to provide the space to advance the civil society discussion on SDGs in order to make concrete proposals. European representatives of UN Major Groups and EESC members have had the opportunity to influence the EU decision making process on SDGs and to identify how to influence the UN process.
The EESC has recently commissioned a comparative study on "EU Member States' legislations and practices on food donations", with the objective to provide an overview of current legislation and practices as well as to identify hurdles and best practices. On 7 July 2014 the outcome of the study will be presented during an event with the EESC President and will result in President's conclusions and recommendations from organised civil society to facilitate food donation in Member States
For the first time, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner paid visit to the EESC, the institutional representation of organised civil society in the EU institutional set-up.
On 28 May 2014 the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will organise a regional briefing and consultation on Sustainable Development Goals and the UN High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development. The event will provide briefing on latest news and developments from the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and give regional level Major Groups and other stakeholders the opportunity to contribute with their priorities and offer their regional perspectives.
In its own-initiative opinion, the EESC is looking at the efficiency of the efforts, funded from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), in tackling poverty and social exclusion in Europe – as one of the Europe 2020 strategy's most important goals.
The aim of this hearing is to collect specific observations and recommendations based on the experiences of civil society organisations with the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) for combating poverty and social exclusion.
Minimum income schemes are important tools to combat poverty and social exclusion, since they ensure personal security, play a significant role in redistributing wealth and guarantee more solidarity and social justice. This hearing will reflect on a better measurement of poverty and on the problems of adopting a European minimum income scheme. It will bring together experts and people involved in advocacy work to contribute to the EESC opinion.