EESC Plenary: Closing the EU's Italian presidency and welcoming the Latvian presidency on 21-22 January 2015

Source: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) i, published on Monday, January 19 2015.

On Wednesday 21 January at 3 p.m., the EESC plenary will take stock of the achievements and results of the Italian presidency.

On Thursday 22 January at 10 a.m., Ms Zanda KALNIŅA-LUKAŠEVICA, Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, will present the working programme of the Latvian presidency of the EU. Representatives of Latvian civil society and EESC members Mr Vitālijs GAVRILOVS (GRI), Mr Pēteris KRĪGERS (GRII) and Mr Andris GOBIŅŠ (GRIII) will take the floor to respond and share their views on the topic.

Following this debate, Ms Vaira VĪĶE-FREIBERGA i, former President of the Republic of Latvia, will address the EESC plenary on economic growth and solidarity in Europe.

Please register here to attend:

EESC Plenary Session - 21 and 22 January 2015

Charlemagne building (European Commission), De Gasperi room (3rd floor), Brussels

Watch the plenary session here - The full agenda is available here

Opinions to be discussed and put to the vote during the plenary session:

  • Towards a thriving data-driven economy (Rapporteur: Ms Nietyksza) More.

Broad dissemination of information technologies in all areas of society and the economy, culture and education will provide enormous development opportunities, but it is necessary to support IT-related research and development in the technical, economic and social sciences. In this opinion, the EESC regrets the substantial reduction in funding for the financing of digital infrastructure under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and strongly advocates drawing appropriate conclusions. A new investment plan presented by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker i in December 2014, aimed at mobilising at least EUR 315 billion in the form of additional public and private investment in key areas such as digital infrastructure, is in this context a welcome policy response.

  • The situation after the expiry of the milk-quota system in 2015 (Rapporteur: Mr Walshe) More.

The abolition of the milk-quota system is a fundamental change for milk farmers. To avoid a shift in milk production from small farms to bigger farms - with smaller farmers abandoning dairying - and to support smaller farmers especially in disadvantaged areas, the EESC strongly suggests using Pillar II provisions of the CAP 2014-2020 and the Milk Package to ensure that dairy farms can stay in business.

  • Situation and operating conditions of civil society organisations in Turkey (Rapporteur: Mr Metzler) More.

This own-initiative opinion is partly based on a fact-finding mission to civil society organisations in Turkey in 2014. The recommendations of the opinion provide guidelines to the other EU institutions on how to better support Turkish civil society organisations and improve their working conditions. Particular attention should be paid in the EU-Turkey dialogue to the effective implementation of basic rights, including freedom of expression, media freedom, freedom of association and assembly, women's rights, trade union right and the rights of minorities (religious, cultural and sexual).

  • The review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy - a civil society contribution (Rapporteur: Mr Peel, Co-rapporteur: Mr Fornea) More.

Promoting deeper EU relations with the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) is one of the foreign policy priorities of the Latvian EU presidency. Priority areas for economic cooperation are, among others, energy and transport. An opportunity for EU engagement lies in the field of education and media presence. Considering the geostrategic position and importance of these five countries, the EESC highly recommends reinstating the post of EU Special Representative.

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EESC Press Unit


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