On December 9-10th, the 512th plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee was held. The event was attended by president of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski and Vicepresident Janusz Pietkiewicz.
In remembrance of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, President of the Committee Georgios Dassis opened the meeting with a minute of silence in commemoration of the victims.
Like other EU institutions, the EESC took up the issue of terrorism and the recent influx of refugees to Europe.
The Committee worked on a resolution on this topic and discussed opinions on the following matters:
The plan of action for more just taxation for entrepreneurs, the strategy for a unified digital market and the simplification of the common agricultural policy will also be discussed.
The following documents were presented in the course of the session:
For the seventh year running the Committee will award the Civil Society Prize for “extraordinary achievements in fostering civil society”. Every year, the award focuses on a different aspect of the EESC activities. In 2014, it was the integration of Roma communities, This year, the focus is combatting poverty: poverty among working people and children, financial exclusion, debts, homelessness and a lack of access to energy.
The Committee chose seven initiatives from over a hundred and distinguished them for their creativity and efficiency in combatting poverty:
• Centrum Integracji Społecznej (Poland) – provides schooling and vocational training to the long-term unemployed, including the handicapped, ex-prisoners, refugees and addicts.
• Armut und Gesundheit in Deutschland (Germany) – provides the homeless and otherwise vulnerable with healthcare services.
• Fáilte isteach – a Third Age initiative (Ireland), where senior volunteers help migrants and refugees settle in Ireland and offer them English classes.
• Y-Foundation (Finland) – promotes healthcare and social work, as well as provides people who struggle with finding flats on the open market with reasonably priced access to flats to let.
• Uniterres, an A.N.D.E.S. initiative (France) – supplies charity shops with fresh, high quality local produce – fruit, vegetables and eggs.
The first place was awarded ex aequo to organizations from Germany and Finland. Initiatives from Ireland, France and Poland shared the second prize.