While Europe and its societies are still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the Conference on the Future of Europe in its closing stages, the EESC will be holding its annual Civil Society Days in March 2022.
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The conference is being organised by the Diversity Europe Group, in partnership with Civil Society Europe and with the support of the EESC's Civil Society Liaison Group and the Associational Life Category.
Registrations for external participants are open on this page until 2 November 2021.
The conference will cover developments in the EU in the area of fundamental rights and the rule of law in 2020-2021. It will offer a space for dialogue amongst stakeholders, in particular the ones which contributed to country visits led by the EESC Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group in 2020-2021 and to the first two European Commission Rule of Law Reports published in 2020 and 2021. The discussions during the day, including in parallel breakout sessions, will focus on the four key themes which structure the European Rule of Law Mechanism: Justice, Media, Corruption, Checks and balances.
COVID-19 has affected all aspects of economic and social life and its impact on democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law will certainly be long-lasting.
To improve the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights it is necessary to empower civil society organisations, rights defenders and justice practitioners, and strengthen people’s awareness of their rights under the Charter. CSOs and social partners are operating at grassroots levels and can help spread awareness and foster implementation. Moreover, the social partners have a special role in contributing to the implementation and defence of socio-economic fundamental rights.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has proved to be an endurance test for human and social rights, democratic values, the rule of law and economic resilience in the EU. While navigating stormy waters, organised civil society is playing a key role in coping with the countless pandemic-related challenges at European, national, regional and local level.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a public hearing on "The rule of law and its impact on economic growth" on Tuesday, 8 September 2020, from 2:30 p.m.
The event brought together a wide range of civil society organisations to discuss the economic importance of the rule of law and other fundamendal values of the EU, based on the findings and recommendations of an EESC own-initiative opinion.
The incoming Croatian Presidency has requested the EESC to draft an opinion on the topic of "The effects of campaigns on participation in political decision-making".
In view of the European elections and campaigns aimed at informing European citizens conducted by the institutions of the European Union and the Member States, a public hearing will be held in the morning of Wednesday 5 February, at the EESC. The aim of the hearing is to examine the current state of play and lessons learned from the May 2019 elections, and to look at the ways forward, i.e. how to enhance participation and disable disinformation of European citizens..
In July 2019, the European Commission published a Communication entitled 'Strengthening the rule of law within the Union – A blueprint for action', which details actions on the promotion, prevention, and response aspects. The EESC, on its side, made proposals in a series of key Opinions over the past years, and has set up a transversal Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FFRL) in 2018. The FRRL Group leads country visits and seeks to provide a forum for European CSOs to share their assessment on the state of fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law in the Member States.