ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, gives an update on her work with the EESC.
Upcoming Plenary Session 26th-27th April
On the 26th and 27th April I will attend the EESC Plenary Session. I am particularly looking forward to hear Professor Dusan Sidjanski, Honorary Chairman of the European Culture Centre lead a debate on the future of Europe and the role of civil society on the evening of the 26th. It will be good to hear his thoughts on the role of civil society and third sector organisations in particular in improving societies. There will also be a chance to hear a debate on media freedom and human rights with Can Dündar, a Turkish journalist who has been nominated for the 2016 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
There will be a number of opinions to discuss at the plenary session, including a piece on women and transport and a chance to discuss clean energy and its beneficial impacts on public health.
Plenary Session 26th-27th March
The EESC Plenary Session at the end of March presented an opportunity to mark the 60th Anniversary of the European Union. The day 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome served as a moment to reflect on the EU’s achievements and the progress made and on how to build on these.
As a member of the UK delegation to the EESC I expressed my regret that the UK will be leaving the EU, but made it clear to our European colleagues that there will be no Brexit from solidarity.
EESC Meeting in Malta 23rd March
I attended the Various Interests group meeting in Malta on the 23rd March. The Various Interest group is made up of Third Sector representatives in Europe, of which I represent Scotland’s Third Sector. They discussed the role and capacity of civil society organisations to voice citizens’ concerns and ensure that they are better supported by public authorities.
In the morning, the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg welcomed the EESC members and representatives of Maltese civil society organisations, who gathered together to take stock of Malta’s major achievements during its membership of the European Union and paved the way for the challenges ahead.
The afternoon session focused on the provision of services and goods to citizens, namely the aptitude of SMEs and professionals to provide high-quality services to their clients, patients and customers. Representatives of liberal professions and SME organisations debated with consumer representatives and government authorities, amongst others, on ethical and safety requirements and the latest developments at European level in this field.
It was good to hear delegates confirm that there would be No Brexit from solidarity and that we must not build walls around European Citizens but rather work together against issues that connect citizens like anti-poverty frameworks ensuring a caring Europe able to support its citizens and an enabling Europe capable of opening new opportunities.
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