EESC should go back to basics and promote European integration, says its President Georges Dassis

13/11/2015 (Agence Europe) – The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) should go back to its primary role, namely expressing the views of civil society and advising the other European institutions on the best ways of encouraging European integration, which could include drawing up a plinth of European social rights, as desired by the European Commission.

Poverty in Europe is getting worse, not better

Euractiv, 30/10/2015 – Member states have committed to lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020. But this has been hard to do in a time of economic recession, writes Georges Dassis, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).The record number of entries for the 2015 Civil Society Prize of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the theme of “Combating poverty” shows the problem is getting worse, not better. Nearly one in four EU citizen (about 120 million people) faces the risk of poverty. The European Union member states are committed to lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020.

EU Council | The Valletta summit on migration

12/11/2015 – “One of our biggest responsibilities is to address the root causes of the movements we are seeing. It is our job, as leaders, to ensure that people do not feel the need to risk their lives to achieve their aspirations,” in opening address to EU and African leaders” said today EU Council President Donald Tusk at the Valletta summit on migration between EU and African countries. EAPN welcomes these positive words, but the concrete action remains too limited. It should also be mroe focused on guaranteeing human rights,  through tackling the sources of poverty and inequalites in Africa, with civil-society involvement, reinforcing effective humanitarian aid and support, particularly at the point of entry and re-location, building safe and legal access, and well as investing in integration as a positive force for Europe. The role of civil society in the design of policies as well as the delivery of services is crucial, particularly ensuring the voice of migrants.

Schulz: Refugee crisis can only be tackled if all EU countries commit to it

12/11/2015 – Martin Schulz called on member states to step up their efforts to relocate refugees from EU countries faced with a heavy influx. “European solidarity can work if we all commit to it, but not if we let a small number of countries do all the heavy lifting,” the EP President said at an informal meeting of leaders of EU countries in Malta on 12 November. The meeting took place following the Valletta summit on migration to discuss collaboration with other countries.

EP | Mass surveillance: EU citizens’ rights still in danger, says Parliament

29/10/2015 – Too little has been done to safeguard citizens’ fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge the EU Commission to ensure that all data transfers to the US are subject to an “effective level of protection” and ask EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden, as a “human rights defender”. Parliament also raises concerns about surveillance laws in several EU countries.