18 April 2013
New presidency for the European Economic and Social Committee: Henri Malosse wants to put citizens at the heart of the public debate
Henri Malosse is kicking off a 2½-year tenure as head of the EU institution representing civil society. With the public increasingly at a loss to understand decisions taken by the European Union, the new president is determined to make the EESC once again a force to be reckoned with in the European debate. This is a priority, he believes, given the crisis Europe is now facing.
As he takes up office as the EESC's thirtieth president, Henri Malosse is keenly aware of the disconnect between Europe and its citizens, a fact again brought home by the Greek and Cyprus crises. Convinced that one of the answers lies in a rebalancing of forces in Brussels, he wants the European Union's second assembly to do more to embody people's real expectations in areas such as job creation, combating youth alienation, protection of savings and access to health care.
"It is the role of the Committee, on behalf of the various interests that make up our society, to engage with the other institutions on their strategies and hold them to account. The public will only be able to put their trust in us again if we do this." Henri Malosse, EESC president
To this end, the EESC will step up its capacity to anticipate developments, open up its work and scrutinise EU policies.
A French member of the Committee since 1995 and elected president of its Employers' Group in 2006, Henri Malosse has authored more than fifty reports, including a highly critical analysis of the Bolkestein Directive. Pragmatic and committed, he has played an active role in EU policies to promote SMEs. He will be assisted by vice-presidents Jane Morrice, former deputy-speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and an EESC member since 2006, and Hans-Joachim Wilms, European Affairs Officer, Trade Union for Construction, Agriculture and the Environment (IG BAU) and a German EESC member since 1994.
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The Committee's members elect the EESC president for a 2½-year term of office from one of its three groups on a rotating basis. He represents the Committee in its external relations, especially with the other European institutions, and is responsible for ensuring implementation of its remit.
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 Community decision-making process. The Committee has 344 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.