On May 3 we participated in a hearing by the European Economic and Social Committee on the Commissionâ€™s proposal for the next 'Europe for Citizens Programme for 2014-2020'. The Platform is funded under the current programme. '
The rapporteur Mr Andris Gobins presented his draft opinion, all related documents can be found here on the EESC website. Pierre Baussand, Director of Social Platform intervened with the following key points:
- The Commissionâ€™s proposal is in line with the objectives of the Platform as defined by our 46 pan-European networks of social NGOs; our work shows several examples of how our funding enables us to work as interlocutors to the EU institutions were we provide a structural dialogue (in line with the Treaty Article 11) for our members with various Commissioners and the Council etc.
- We call for a clear link to be made between our work and broad EU policy making, supported by the EESC rapporteurs opinion and the proposal by the Commission stating â€˜the commission shall ensure the coherence and complementarity between this programme and instruments in other areas of Union action (Art 11)'
- Our members have members at the national level who represent the 'grass roots'; vulnerable groups and minorities who's voices need to be heard but whom also should be able to participate themselves in policy-making
- We share the concern of the EESC rapporteur on the risk of the Commission's annual work programme setting the agenda as it should be set by civil society organisations themselves
- It is crucial that the programme does not become the only answer to structural dialogue with civil society; making up 0,2 per cent of the total EU budget this is of course not sufficient - other efforts to involve and support civil society by linking to other programmes must be made
The Commission's proposal for a Council regulation establishing for the period 2014-2020 the programme 'Europe for Citizens' (COM(2011) 884) has the purpose to 'build capacity for civic participation by
- Develop civil society capacity to participate in the Union policy making process;
- Develop supportive structures to channel the results of such debates to policy-makers at the relevant levels;
- Offer additional opportunities for individual citizens to participate in debates and discussions on Union-related issues.
Tentative timeline for decisions
- May 10: first discussion in the Council
- mid July: the opinion in the EESC is going to be voted on
- mid July: the Parliament is going to present its draft report