Click here if you are having trouble viewing this message.
Cliquez ici pour accèder à la version française de la lettre d'information.
Liaison Group with European civil society organizations and networks
The future of Europe
We have discussed the Europe of the future, the one we dream of, the one we insist on, the one for all so many times during the European Civil Society Days and during the last 15 years. We can build upon this for the contribution to the Future of Europe conference announced by the new President of the European Commission. It may be a Convention without being called a Convention. However, the advice would be not to focus on the institutional side and the desired and useful Treaty changes. The focus should rather be on the orientation of Europe, on which civil society has a lot to say. Therefore, the involvement of civil society through the EESC and through the European networks is key to increase the trust and confidence of citizens.
If the result of the procedure is not only that citizens and their organisations feel that Europe cares, but that it is able to tackle the major challenges of inequality and climate change then there is a chance for a renewal of the European project that would be more than just a new narrative. So let us seize the opportunity!
Writing this also gives me the opportunity to express my gratitude for the readiness and openness that I was able to experience in my role as co-chair of the Liaison Group. The trust and confidence of my CSO peers in the European networks was an enormous asset that gave my role legitimacy and representativeness. It was exciting to have contributed to several opinions as an expert for group 3, and I thank the former and current Presidents (Luca Jahier and Arno Metzler) for their confidence in me.
After having served for 13 years as SOLIDAR Secretary General, I am now moving over to the Progressive Alliance, the worldwide network of social democratic and socialist parties, as the new coordinator.
I wish you all success in your mission to make the voice of civil society heard and to make Europe a better place for its citizens. I expect that my successor as co-chair will continue to promote the Liaison Group and prevent any confusion of roles that may be provoked by existing or new structures outside of the EESC. The future of Europe is what we make it!

Conny Reuter
Co-Chair of the Liaison Group
News from the CSO members of the Liaison Group
📝 SAVE THE DATE for the next Civil Society Days: EESC, Brussels, 22-23 April 2020
The preparation of the 2020 edition of the EESC Civil Society Days is underway.
The six workshops will cover topics like the four dimensions of sustainability (social, environmental, economic and democratic), education, inclusion, rural areas, development, young people.
Follow us on Twitter @EESC_LiaisonG for regular updates on title, workshops and speakers. #CivSocDays


LLLP position paper: 21st century learning environments
In the 21st century, "learning can happen anytime, anywhere, and the spaces where this learning occurs are incredibly and increasingly diverse". The Lifelong Learning Platform has issued its 2019 position paper on 21st century learning environments. From non-formal and informal learning to the role of educators, and from digital spaces to validation, this paper opens up ambitious scenarios for lifelong learning in Europe. Read it here.


EDRi: Privacy Camp 2020, Brussels, 21 January 2020
On 21 January 2020, the 8th annual Privacy Camp will bring together civil society, policy-makers and academia to discuss existing and looming problems for human rights in the digital environment. This year's edition will explore the significant role digital technologies play in activism. Participation is free of charge and registration is open until 13 January. Find more info here.

CONCORD: Inequalities Unwrapped: An urgent call for systemic change
Rising inequalities are among the most complex and pressing issues of our century. Protests around the world show the urgency of the matter. How can we tackle this multidimensional problem to ensure no one is left behind? CONCORD's new report calls for a systemic approach and puts forward concrete solutions which should guide EU leaders to reduce different forms and drivers of economic, social, environmental and political inequalities. Read the report here.


CONCORD: AIDWATCH 2019 – Leaving no one behind
EU aid decreased in 2018, continuing the downward trend from 2017. Despite the well-received 25% reduction in inflated aid, EU aid is still decreasing after discounting these components. As the CONCORD AidWatch Report 2019 reveals, this means that, at the current rate of growth, the EU will only meet the 0.7% ODA/GNI target in 2061. Today, less than €1 in 10 reaches countries which need it the most. Looking into the Leave No One Behind principle and how to actually implement it, the AidWatch report shows that the current EU ODA allocation is not guided by the high levels of poverty and inequality in some regions of the world and therefore asks for a total shift to ensure we leave no one behind! Read the AidWatch 2019 report here.

Front Line Defenders: 2019 Sakharov Prize
Front Line Defenders welcomes the awarding of the European Parliament's 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Uyghur professor and human rights defender Ilham Tohti, who has spent 6 years behind bars serving a life sentence. Front Line Defenders calls on China to immediately and unconditionally release Ilham Tohti, and, pending his release, ensure his physical and psychological integrity in detention. Read more here.

SOLIDAR: Silver Rose Awards 2020
Since the year 2000, SOLIDAR has organised its Silver Rose Awards annually in the European Parliament in cooperation with the S&D Group: An occasion to celebrate civil society organisations and individuals whose extraordinary struggles contribute greatly to social justice and solidarity throughout the world. The 2020 Silver Rose Awards Ceremony will take place in the European Parliament on 23 June 2020. The call for nominations will end on 31 December 2019. Read more here.

COFACE: Tell us your Toy Stories – the first Europe-wide survey on #ToysandDiversity

For the Universal Children's Day, COFACE Families Europe is launching Toy Stories, the first Europe-wide survey on toys and diversity, highlighting the need to give children the space to play for full creativity, imagination, learning development and fun. With just a month left before Christmas, COFACE Families Europe is launching a survey in 13 languages to better understand what influences family and friends when buying toys. More info on this initiative here.


Culture Action Europe: Securing a sustainable future for the European non-profit cultural sector
Culture Action Europe is calling for support for non-profit organisations active at the local, regional, national and European level that wish to work in a European context and contribute to building a stronger European Union. The key messages put forward by Culture Action Europe are that non-profit cultural organisations should be considered important stakeholders at the EU level, that the new application of financial assessment rules actively prevents organisations in the cultural and creative sectors from accessing EU funding and, finally, that due to their non-market oriented and mission-driven engagement – which is vital for creating and fostering the non-economic value of culture – non-profit cultural organisations require public support above all. Read more here.
Past events
LLLPlatform: Lifelong Learning Week, Brussels, 2-6 December
The 9th edition of the LLLWeek, iconic event in the European education and training landscape, took place in Brussels on 2-6 December on the topic “Learning Democracy, Values and Participation”. It was preceded by the LLLWeek Reception on 2 December, where NGOs gathered to assess civil society contributions to European democracy. See here programme and more details:

Volonteurope: Annual Conference 'Taking democracy, European Values and Participation to a new level through European Programmes', Brussels, 28 November
This annual conference brought together participants from across civil society, academia, think tanks and EU institutions and was delivered as an engaging, interactive and informative event, themed around the topic of “Taking Democracy, European Values and Participation to a new level through European Programmes”. To find out more, click here


FEANI: Expert hearing Engineers for Europe, EESC, 28 November
Within the framework of the European Engineers Advisory Group, established by FEANI on 11 September 2018 together with ten other partner organisations, the project Engineers for Europe (E4E) was developed. The project aims to address the growing challenge in meeting the demand for future engineers. To this end, an expert hearing was organised on 28 November 2019 at the EESC premises. More information on the EEAG consortium can be found here.


Volonteurope: EVS seminar on youth inclusion and mobility, Brussels, 26-27 November
Volunteering Matters (UK member of Volonteurope) hosted this final EVS Seminar on Youth Inclusion and Mobility, before Volonteurope celebrated its 28th Annual Conference on 28 November 2019. The EVS Seminar used project successes to lead discussions on how young people and themes of inclusion, solidarity and social justice must not disappear from political agendas.
In the evening of 27 November, Volonteurope invited members and colleagues from Brussels and beyond, to join an award ceremony where the winner of Volonteurope’s “Innovation in Volunteering Award 2019” was announced. More info here

ACE: Conference "Perspectives", Barcelona, 23 November
On 23 November 2019, the Architects' Council of Europe organised a conference in Barcelona with the title Perspectives, inviting young architects from all over Europe to express their views on the profession and their visions and aspirations for the future. The ACE statement summarises the contributions received from the speakers of the conference. Read it here.

SOLIDAR: Presentation of Social Rights Monitor, Brussels, 12 November
In mid-November, SOLIDAR presented its 2019 Social Rights Monitor to the EP in the presence of Commissioner-designate for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, Green MEP, Katrin Langensiepen, S&D MEP, Agnes Jongerius and various representatives from CSOs. The Social Rights Monitor provides an insight into the state of social rights in 16 European countries in terms of equality of opportunities, fair working conditions, social protection, inclusion and civic space. Read more here.

ECAS: Online Disinformation Conference, Brussels, 12 November 2019
ECAS held a conference to present the outcomes of the Smart eDemocracy Against Fake News (SMART eD) project. The event also served as a platform for policy-makers, media, citizens, and civil society organisations to engage in an EU level dialogue on online disinformation, its challenges and tools to tackle it.
News from the EESC
2019 CIVIL SOCIETY PRIZE "More women in Europe's society and economy"
The EESC is pleased to announce the five winners of the 11th edition of the Civil Society Prize, which rewards initiatives aimed at raising awareness of and fighting for gender equality in the EU: the Bulgarian Fairy Tales project, the Finnish #mimmitkooda (Women Code), the Polish Women's Strike, The Brussels Binder from Belgium and the Italian Women's Toponymy.
Read more about the winner associations here



We warmly welcome you, civil society organisations, to come visit us and find out exactly who we are and what we do.
It would also allow us to find out more about your organisation and its specific needs.
You can schedule a visit by contacting us here:
Looking forward to communicating with you!


Your Europe, Your Say! 2020, Brussels, 19-20 March 2020

For the 2020 edition of YEYS, young people will come from all over Europe to talk about a topic that everyone has in mind: the climate. 33 schools from different countries will be coming to Brussels to discuss the future of the climate. On 3 December, the EESC published the list of schools selected for the event. Consult the list here, more info will be coming up soon.
Past EESC events
Combining circular economy principles with GHG-reduction strategies, Madrid, 11 December
The event demonstrated how countries can consider these fundamental and systemic changes in the next iteration of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and find more comprehensive solutions to meet the 1.5ºC goal. It provided examples of CE good practices and a forum for discussion to help CE practitioners deal with challenges they come up against. More info here.


Leaving no one behind in the transition to climate neutrality, Madrid, 11 December
At this event, different stakeholders discussed the need for a fair and just transition and a European Green Deal that leaves no one behind. In the face of the climate emergency a just and fair transition towards carbon neutrality should be carried out in order not to leave anyone behind. Such a transition can only be delivered in full partnership with all members of society from regional and local authorities, civil society and young people.
More info here.


Social housing: a Service of General Interest to Guarantee Decent, Energy Efficient and Affordable Accommodation for All? Brussels, 4 December
This event discussed the need for social housing as a service of general economic interest. It is one of the European Pillars of Social Rights that those in need shall be provided with access to social housing and housing assistance. However, given the danger of significantly increasing housing costs, more segments of society are affected, which calls into question the purpose of restrictions on housing policy. More info here.


Future of Europe: the challenges ahead, Malta, 3 December

The event aimed to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the European Union in the post-2020 era. The discussions focused on the programme of the new European Commission. The speakers also exchanged views on a wide range of topical issues, such as the challenges posed by new technologies, Brexit, sustainable development and the development of the European Green Deal. More info here.


Artificial Intelligence, robotics and digital systems for the well-being of citizens, 21 November 2019
The aim of the conference was to discuss the opportunities and challenges provided by digitalisation, in particular cutting-edge digital tools, AI and robotics as well as the prerequisites to make this happen. It also addressed expectations for future steps of policy making on the European Level. More information here.


New role models of societies in Europe, 12 November 2019
This conference aimed to launch the discussion on interrelated topics with a forward looking and practical approach. The objective was to explore how to move from the personal experience to the Institutional, how to change mind-sets and overcome prejudices. More information here.

Fundamental rights and the rule of law. Trends in the EU from a civil society perspective, 5 November 2019
The EESC transversal Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FRRL) set up in 2018 organised its first conference with the aim: to build on the main findings of the FRRL Group country visits, to identify key trends and create a dialogue with all relevant stakeholders on transversal questions and to discuss avenues for solutions with key actors in the area of fundamental rights, as well as the role the EESC could play as a channel for European CSOs. Programme here.
EESC Plenary Session, December 2019
  • Debate on "From development to partnership", related to REX/516
  • Event for "2019 Award ceremony for the Civil Society Prize": "More women in Europe's society and economy" with Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality
  • Adoption of the opinions on:
    • Common minimum standards in the field of unemployment insurance in EU Member States - a concrete step towards the effective implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (SOC/583)
    • Shaping the EU agenda for disability rights 2020-2030: a contribution from the European Economic and Social Committee (SOC/616)
    • Populism and fundamental rights - suburban and rural areas (NAT/771)
    • Binding UN agreement on business and human rights (REX/518)
    • Evaluation on environmental crime directive (NAT/767)
    • External aid, investment and trade as instruments to reduce economic migration with a special focus on Africa (REX/516)
All the EESC opinions adopted can be consulted here.
Civil dialogue in the EU
EESC Podcast, Episode 2: Has the European Citizens' Initiative been an instrument of democracy?
The new episode of the EESC podcast series has been released last week. It is discussing the European Citizens' Initiative as an instrument of democracy. Listen to this very interesting podcast here.

FRA - the Fundamental Rights Platform for civil society

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights FRA works closely with civil society organisations active in the field of fundamental rights. The Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) is FRA’s cooperation network with civil society organisations from across the EU. Registering gives you privileged access to FRA’s work planning efforts, data and expertise, as you will be consulted on the agency’s annual work programme, and invited to contribute to the annual report on fundamental rights in the EU. The platform also provides opportunities for organisations to connect with other entities sharing similar interests and challenges. Register here

Links to our members' newsletters

European Economic and Social Committee
Rue Belliard 99, 1040 Brussels