The Grassroots View
S2 Episode 7: European Year of Youth 2022: climate action is where youth empowerment should begin
As the European Year of Youth 2022 begins, we ask three leaders what they want most from this year. For all of them, a seat for young people at the table where adults make decisions that will make or break the climate would be the real measure of success. Adélaïde Charlier, one of the leaders of the School Strike for Climate movement, has no doubt: the European Year of Youth must not fail in this, while EESC Vice-President Cillian Lohan and European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius pay tribute to European youth for their eye-opening protests which have shot this burning issue to the top of the EU agenda.
S2 Episode 6: Keeping humans in command. Why the EU must ensure that the use of Artificial Intelligence respects its fundamental values
AI has been advancing in leaps and bounds over the last few years and AI applications have crept into our lives almost without us noticing it. The EESC was the first – back in 2017 – to make the case for Europe-wide regulation based on an ethics-focused, "human-in-command" approach. Now, as the EU sets about adopting the first-ever AI legislation in the world, EESC AI expert Catelijne Muller, NRC journalist Reiner Kist, and KU Leuven researcher Valerio De Stefano discuss the merits of this legislation, as well as the dangers associated with some of the uses that would be allowed under the Act.
S2 Episode 5 : Without media freedom, there is no democracy
The EU may still enjoy the status of the safest place for journalists in the world, but this may easily change as the current worrying trend of intimidating, harassing and even killing reporters seems to be on the rise. Our guest is investigative journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia, whose mother Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally murdered in 2017 trying to expose corruption in Malta. Julie Majerczak, head of the Brussels office of Reporters without Borders, told us the murders of journalists – with 16 killed in the EU since 2015 -- were just a tip of the iceberg, as they are increasingly the victims of different forms of pressure, abuse and censorship. We asked EESC member Christian Moos why defending media freedoms was of such importance for the EU.Is there something the EU should do and should budgetary sanctions be applied to governments who stifle critical voices and press liberties? Our guests tell it all in our latest episode "Without media freedom, there is no democracy".
S2 Episode 4: The National Recovery and Resilience Plans: three recipes for success
What can be done to make the National Recovery and Resilience Plans a success? The EESC's trio of group presidents have some answers! Listen to the insights of Employers' leader Stefano Mallia, Workers' helmsman Oliver Röpke and Diversity Europe chief Séamus Boland. A successful roll-out of these plans will enable the European Union to emerge stronger and more cohesive from the crisis.
S2 Episode 3: A new narrative for Europe
The COVID-19 crisis has shown the importance of solidarity among EU Members States, EU institutions and citizens. In this podcast we discuss the reasons why the Conference on the future of Europe is a new and important step in thinking together about our common European future. EESC President Christa Schweng believes people must be persuaded to engage in shaping Europe's future and that they need to see their ideas turn into action. Guy Verhofstadt, MEP, member of the CoFoE executive board and former Belgian prime minister, who in 2001 proposed the Laeken Declaration which created the momentum for the European Convention, stresses that Europe is at a crossroads and that it must chart its future path together with its citizens. Lorenzo Consoli, EU correspondent and an outstanding expert in European affairs says in his 30 years' experience in Brussels he has never seen the EU engage in such an ambitious pan-European democratic exercise.
S2 Episode 2: Without solidarity where would you be now? Civil society against COVID
This time last year, the health services of the Italian city of Bergamo were sinking under the burden of COVID-19, as we hear from EESC member Giuseppe Guerini when the NGO Emergency stepped in to manage a field hospital set up to cope with the huge influx of patients. As we hear from medical director Oliviero Valoti, their help was providential. This life-saving role in the crisis has earned Emergency the EESC Civil Solidarity Prize. EESC Vice-President Cillian Lohan explains the philosophy behind this one-off award while Emergency president Rossella Miccio tells us what recognition from Europe means to her organization.
S2 Episode 1: MFF: the good, the bad and the ugly
"The Grassroots View" podcast opens its second season with an episode dedicated to the new European Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Our four guests tell us what is the good, the bad, and the ugly in this long-awaited agreement. Jan Olbrycht, MEP and co-rapporteur on the MFF for the European Parliament, explains why the negotiations were so difficult and also underlines the importance of the new EU4Health program. Stefano Palmieri, president of the ECO section at the European Economic and Social Committee, sees the opportunity for modernizing the European economic and social system. He sets out the vision of civil society together with two other speakers: Gabriella Civico, member of the Steering Committee of Civil Society Europe (CSE), and Zsuzsanna Szabó, journalist and member of Res Publica Nowa Foundation. They share similar concerns about the European Union's new own resources and the weakness of the new Rule of Law conditionality mechanism.
Episode 9: La communication pendant la crise (FR)
Dans ce dernier épisode de la série, réalisé en français, Isabel Caño Aguilar, vice-présidente du CESE responsable pour la communication, parle de l'expérience de la COVID. Elle nous décrit comment la pandémie a modifié tout le travail de communication du CESE en faisant de la solidarité et de l'engagement les mots-clés de tout son travail et de toutes ses initiatives, à commencer par le Prix de la solidarité civile 2020. Pour la Vice-Présidente, "rien ne sera plus comme avant après cette pandémie. Mais nous avons la responsabilité de réagir, de faire une Europe plus forte. Les citoyens et les citoyennes européennes nous demandent de le faire".
Episode 8 : When the world of work comes tumbling down
When COVID-19 struck Europe, it not only brought hospitals to the verge of collapse but created havoc in its wake on many different fronts: European GDP slumped, industrial production plummeted and thousands lost their jobs. The future does not look rosy either. In episode 8 "When the world of work comes tumbling down", we look at what the EU could do on the employment front, where it has only limited powers. We spoke to Professor Caroline de la Porte from the Copenhagen Business School who gave us a brief overview of the employment guidelines, a tool that enables the EU to help coordinate the Member States' employment policies. EESC member Ellen Nygren told us about the EESC proposal on how the employment guidelines should be revised in the face of the COVID-19 crisis so to make sure that the Member States, among other things, help self-employed Europeans – such as Portuguese musician Tiago Rodrigues, who shared with us his story of how he and his 5EX Band became jobless overnight.