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Meeting of the Liaison Group, 5 november 2014

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EESC Liaison Group – 5 November

Audrey Frith represented EUCIS-LLL at the plenary meeting of the EESC Liaison Group with organised civil society on 5 November.

Henri Malosse stressed the importance of “giving a new breath” to the European project. The EESC supports the new Commission political prioritites and more particularly the Investment package, the European energy martket, coherent foreign policies, digital agenda and the push for a vision for the European single market. The EESC will contribute to this agenda but revising its own functioning for example by contributing via impact studies, thematic projects with the European Commission, the “Going Local” initiative and the renewed partnership with the Committee of Regions. The Liaison Group can also contribute to ensure the Commission reaches the goals set in the political guidelines.

Conny Reuter shared the challenge to ensure civil society voice is heard in those important debates. Key issues are to be tackled such as citizens’ participation in (European) elections and the raise of xenophobic feelings; the situation as regards the EU objective of social cohesion and convergence and more particularly at how the Investment Package will contribute to it; and migration – mentioning the commemoration of Lampedusa.

The Liaison Group adopted its 2014 activity report. Important dossiers takled were the contribution to the Europe 2020 mid-term review, the contribution to the European Commission work programme for 2015 and to the drafting of the Action plan for Europe. Cooperation with sections were also reinforced.

The Liaison Group adopted changes in its operating rules. Membership is now based on organisations (and not individuals); members who are not active can lose their membership and members have to sign a letter of commitment.

An NGO Forum is planned to take place in Riga on 2-3 March 2015 under the Latvian EU Presidency. Andris Gobins, member of the EESC, is working on the agenda with the Latvian government. The aim is to discuss article 11 implementation and reaching some agreements from the Council side.

For 2015 members discussed the Europe 2020 Review (EESC conference in Rome in December), employment and social services, the Investment Package, the shrinking space for civil society in Europe and the European Year of Development 2015. The next meeting of the OSC members to look at the proposals made to the 2015 Commission work programme and decide on what to work on.

The newsletter is now implemented. It’s the newsletter that is the most read in the EESC. Important to share information and ensure it’s a dynamic tool.

The Civil Society Europe initiative was mentioned. It is to be launched during a meeting in Rome in order to reinforce civil society’s capacity to have a voice at EU level in the same way social partners are. A new step in structuring civil society. Of course this does not questions the existence of the Liaison Group.

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