28 May 2009
EEA Consultative Committee recommends setting up a Baltic Sea Civil Society Forum and promotes green jobs
On 26 May 2009, the EEA Consultative Committee (EEA CC), meeting in Brussels, recommended setting up a consultative "Baltic Sea Civil Society Forum"; the objective is to ensure the involvement of civil society and social partner organisations, including Iceland and Norway, in the EU's Baltic Sea Strategy. The Consultative Committee also highlighted the devastating impact that climate change and the recent financial crisis have had on our economies and societies and underlined the importance of combating both crises simultaneously.
Two resolutions were adopted at the meeting. The first resolution highlights the vital role of civil society organisations and social partners in implementing the EU's Baltic Sea Strategy . The external relations dimension of the Strategy should be linked to cooperation within the EEA and the EU's Northern Dimension policy. Russia's active participation and commitment to Baltic Sea cooperation is also of crucial importance here. Implementation of the Strategy would require the establishment of a separate budget; otherwise the strategy would be no more than a political statement and would not achieve its aims.
The second resolution underlines the potential of green jobs in helping to complete both the environmental and social/employment agenda. However, this requires greater efforts to close existing skills gaps, to develop skills for future green jobs, and to train, retrain and educate people for the transition into green jobs.
Mr Matthias Brinkmann , European Commission, representing the President-in-Office of the EEA Joint Committee, and H.E. Stefán Haukur Johannesson, Ambassador of Iceland to the EU, representing the Icelandic Presidency of the EEA EFTA States , briefed the meeting on the state of play with the EEA Agreement and exchanged views with Committee members, Mr Per Sanderud , President of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, and Ms Stine Andresen , Director of the Financial Mechanism Office.
The EEA CC noted that in the coming days the Icelandic parliament will start procedures with a view to grant the Icelandic government a mandate to apply for EU membership. The aim of the Icelandic government was to submit a formal application to the Swedish EU Presidency in early July. The Committee appreciated greatly Icelandic Ambassador's openness and will closely monitor developments in Iceland.
In addition, the EEA CC discussed the globa l economic and financial crisis, with speeches by the following participants: Mr Anthony Whelan , Head of Private Office for Commissioner Neelie Kroes , DG Competition, EESC member Mr Thomas Delapina and Ms Cinzia Alcidi, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) .
The resol utions referred to will be published on the following link: