Social Committee teaches Van Rompuy a lesson

Staffan Nilsson, EESC President (left) and EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy, discuss vividly during the plenary session of 16-17 January 2013. (EESC photo library)

Staffan Nilsson, EESC President (left) and EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy, discuss vividly during the plenary session of 16-17 January 2013. (EESC photo library)

During this months’ European Economic and Social Committee’s plenary session, EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy and EESC members held a very important debate on the current guidelines of the European Council and future efforts to reinforce the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Obviously the EESC members wanted to cover the gap of total absence of any reference to such matters, whenever the main EU decision-making bodies, like the Council and the Commission are tackling burning issues like the austerity programmes.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body of the European Union, regrouping employers, workers and other interest groups.  As a principle EESC tries to contribute and strengthen the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the European Union by enabling civil society organisations from the Member States, to express their views at European level. It is questionable however if it arrives even remotely to influence the EU decision-making procedures.

Of course this is so not due to any eventual shortcomings of the EESC proper, but rather it must be attributed to lack of willingness of the EU heavyweights to really hear the voice of people, as expressed by real economy men and women in the employers and workers organisations.  So, as a rule the views expressed by the EESC are not only neglected by the main EU institutions, but they are also poorly reported by main stream media.

Returning to EESC’s last plenary session, the main theme on the agenda was nothing less than the social dimension of the entire package to reshuffle the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Incidentally the most important part in that package is the austerity programmes imposed on a number of EU countries. On the other side of the fence an entirely different and overly generous policy is followed, when it comes to the needs of the banking industry. Huge piles of money are reserved for bankers by governments and the monetary authorities (European Central Bank).

As a result in the fifth year of this crisis, brought about by bankers, every citizen knows very well that the EU dignitaries have only words to offer, when it comes to problems like unemployment, social exclusion, unequal opportunities and the quickly degrading quality of a wide range of social services. It was exactly like that when Van Rompuy intervened in EESC’s last plenary session.

According to the press release of the EESC the President of the European Council said: “One thing we must never lose sight of when implementing our economic policies is the social dimension”. He then highlighted a range of aspects such as employment, social protection, education, public health, the challenge of an ageing population and the fight against poverty and exclusion.

Of course after some minutes he left to attend his other business. Fortunately the experienced members of the Committee didn’t miss the opportunity to be heard by the President of the EU Council. Unanimous in their assessment, the presidents of the three EESC Groups (employers, workers and various interests) recalled the pressing obligation for national governments to take responsible decisions also towards European institutions to enter into a genuine dialogue with European citizens, who felt that their needs and demands were not sufficiently taken into account and, in spite of encouraging statistics, failed to perceive any improvement in the situation. They urged the European Council to think beyond growth and stability, putting solidarity first.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

Mergers: Commission clears Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania, subject to conditions

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

Aidex: the Global Humanitarian and Development Aid Event

A quarter of Americans have no retirement savings

Myanmar and UN agriculture agency agree framework to improve nutrition and food security

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

A Sting Exclusive: Disaster risk resilience, key to protecting vulnerable communities

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

The global suicide rate is growing – what can we do?

India and the US: 5 ways the countries compare

Draghi sees inflationary bubbles

UN Security Council condemns Taliban offensive as a blow against ‘sustainable peace’

Drone regulation is necessary to democratize the sky for humanity

Australian homes are turning to solar power in record numbers

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

2021-2027 EU Budget: €378,1 billion to benefit all regions

Youth leaders share positive visions of the future, as Guterres launches UN75 in New York

ITU Telecom World 2017: exploring smart digital transformation

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of DSME by HHIH

Universal Health Coverage in the EU: Are we really leaving no one behind?

Civil society organisations disenchanted with “Youth Guarantee”

Mergers: Commission prohibits Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom

Here’s why e-mobility must be at the heart of the green recovery

EU plans pan-European network of cybersecurity services

AI will drive the societies of the future. Will the governed consent?

European Business Summit 2014 Launch Event: “Energising Industrial Growth”

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

Brexit: Is there anybody supporting a non-violent separation?

Migration: Commission steps up emergency assistance to Spain and Greece

Three UN workers killed following Benghazi car bomb attack, as Security Council meets in emergency session, honours their ‘ultimate sacrifice’

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

This Chinese megacity is building a massive car-free district

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

How do we design an inclusive energy transition?

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Stigmatized, shunned and shamed, International Widows’ Day draws attention to their unique needs

Protection of transported animals: Parliament establishes inquiry committee

Non-performing loans: banks need to mitigate the risk of potential losses

Rohingya crisis: EU strengthens humanitarian support with €10 million

How do we upskill a billion people by 2025? Leadership and collaboration will be key

South Asia can become an innovation hub. Here’s how

Brexit: Citizens’ rights remain a key priority for MEPs

Inaction over climate emergency ‘not an option’ says UN Assembly chief

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

Boris as UK Premier to be cornered if attempting a no-deal Brexit

Electronic cigarette – is it really a safer alternative to smoking?

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

What does global health translate into?

These countries have the highest minimum wages

Reforms in Latvia must result in stronger enforcement to tackle foreign bribery and subsequent money laundering risks

Texting is a daily source of stress for 1/3 of people – are you one of them?

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

Why practicing medicine privately at home is still a (difficult) option?

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

EU mobilises emergency assistance following floods in Ukraine

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s