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19 March 2013

Energy dialogue, youth unemployment and the EU's outermost regions at the EESC

At its upcoming plenary session on 20-21 March, the European Economic and Social Committee will host a debate with Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy, on the occasion of the adoption of an opinion on public involvement in energy policy. Another highlight of the session will be a discussion with Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, President of the Committee of the Regions, who will present his views on the role that EU regions should play in European economic governance.

488th EESC Plenary Session

20-21 March 2013

Charlemagne building, room S3, Brussels

You can watch the plenary session live at:

The full agenda is available here.

During the plenary session, EESC vice-president Anna Maria Darmanin will announce the winners of the 2013 edition of the Europe Past Forward video challenge.

Opinions to be discussed and voted on at the plenary session include:

European Energy Dialogue

In its opinion on the needs and methods of public involvement and engagement in the energy policy field, the Committee is likely to call for the establishment of a European Energy Dialogue. It envisages this dialogue as a coordinated multi-level, action-oriented conversation on energy policy within and across EU countries. Funded by stakeholders in the energy chain, it would provide a "negotiation space" where policy choices could be discussed against a background of societal impact and acceptance, investment and resource strategy.       

Moving Youth into Employment

While the EESC welcomes the core elements of the Youth Employment Package, its opinion on the topic will reiterate its concern regarding the catastrophic youth employment situation and call for a real growth strategy at EU and national level to support the creation of more and more stable jobs. The EESC will support the implementation of the youth guarantee scheme, although it underlines the inadequacy of funding and the need for greater involvement from social partners and youth organisations in designing, implementing and monitoring the scheme.

Outermost regions: Smart Growth

At the March Plenary Session the EESC will adopt an opinion on "Outermost regions: smart growth", calling on the European Commission to draw up and publish an analysis of the application of the derogations and special measures foreseen for the outermost regions (ORs) in Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The opinion also calls for the POSEI, the programme that regulates EU aid to agriculture goes beyond traditional products and covers all the ORs' products, both agricultural and non-agricultural. These and other measures related to cohesion funds, European networks and trade agreements will be proposed by the EESC to help the ORs to meet the EU2020 strategy objectives.

Prevention and reduction of food waste

The EESC wants the prevention and reduction of food waste to be given a key place on the political agenda. As a result of the economic crisis, food banks are declining and their needs rising sharply: 79 million EU citizens live beneath the poverty line while 50% of food gets wasted every year.

7th Environment Action Programme (EAP)

In the EESC's view, the 7th EAP does not take a clear enough position on the economic and social changes needed to achieve the environment policy goals. An effective 7th EAP must describe much more clearly the path away from conventional environment policy focusing on end-of-pipe technology and towards sustainable development. 

Employee involvement

The EESC is convinced that sustainable business management must be built on greater employees' involvement and participation. With an own-initiative opinion, the Committee intends to launch a discussion on the "sustainable company" as a business management concept, which entails that the voice of employees is respected in decision-making process.

The role of business in education

To create jobs at European level we need active cooperation between businesses and other labour market actors. The Committee welcomes the active approach taken by employers and businesses to a Europe-wide move supporting the development of skills and their adaptation to the needs of the labour market in order to rekindle growth and jump start employment.

The internal market and state aid for the regions

The Committee will call on the Commission to make EU policies more consistent with competition policy, so that competition policy does not thwart the harmonious, integrated development of Europe's regions but instead provides an opportunity for re-launching regional economies in the single market after the crisis.

The External Dimension of EU Social Security Coordination

In response to the European Commission's consultation on its Communication "The external Dimension of EU Social Security Coordination”, the EESC will discuss its opinion, which agrees with the Commission on the importance of a common European strategy for coordinating social security agreements concluded with third countries. The Committee also supports the external dimension of coordination rules set out in the Commission’s Communication advocating complementarity between national and EU approaches in order to avoid imbalances and loopholes.

For more information, please contact:

Karin Füssl, Head of the Press Unit


Tel.: +32 2 546 8722

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