The EESC presents an Action Plan for Europe - Five years to save the Union!
At a time when public trust in the European Union has reached an all-time low of 31% and worries about unemployment and the economic situation are dominating public debate, it is vital to respond not with nationalism or populism but with genuine European action.
At its 498th plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted its Action Plan for Europe . The plan focuses on three pillars - an economic union, a social union, and a democratic and civic union. This threefold focus highlights the weaknesses inherent in the European Union as it currently operates and the action plan proposes ways forward on each of the fronts:
-An economic union: the EESC strongly believes that a genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) must be created a matter of urgency, since the EU's fundamental problems still remain. Key cornerstones here include a joint European investment programme, better coordination of fiscal policies, the creation of a common system of automatic stabilizers and the completion of the single market.
-A social union : economic growth has to go hand in hand with social progress. Europe needs a stronger social fundamental rights agenda and a comprehensive new social agenda. We need a fair Europe.
-A democratic and civic union: to support active citizenship and democratic innovation, the EESC is proposing that a European Convention on Participatory Democracy and Active Citizenship be held in 2015.
European action means a long-term and sustainable plan for a better Europe. Its basic tenet is solidarity between Member States and civil society. It therefore requires dialogue and interaction between countries, civil society organisations, generations, groups and citizens. " Solidarity is not a one-way street. Getting all Europeans on board is ultimately a win-win situation for all. " So said Cristian Pirvulescu , a Romanian EESC member and rapporteur for the Action Plan for Europe. " We need to give a clear and comprehensive response to the European public's fears, outlining the necessary and sometimes difficult steps ahead. With this year's elections in sight and a new Commission in the offing, this is the right time to act. We have five years to rebuild the European Union, to make it a competitive and fair place to live that has at its heart the welfare of all generations. "
The European Union is based on fundamental values that are indivisible and universal - respect for human dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity and diversity. These are the guarantors of peace. " Seventy years of peace do not come by chance, " said EESC president Henri Malosse , as he expressed his hope that the European Action Plan would be the blueprint for the years ahead and the lynchpin by which European priorities are set.
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The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the EU decision-making process. The Committee has 353 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.