MCESD Chairperson James Pearsall and Executive Secretary Adriana Chircop attended and participated the annual meeting of the Presidents and Secretaries-General of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Bucharest Romania. The meeting focused on the role of organised civil society in addressing the early integrating needs of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict.
A discussion ensured on the Temporary Protection Directive and how this directive turned the rights given by the directive into reality. This directive helped to provide residence, access to housing, health care, education and work to Ukrainian refugees.
The discussion also centred on the EU’s open strategic autonomy. The Russian Federation’s military invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated Europe’s and the world’s energy crises, emphasising the necessity for the EU to maintain open strategic autonomy in the energy sector. This includes strengthening EU sovereignty, reducing EU reliance on untrustworthy suppliers or states that do not share EU values, and maintaining supply security at a cost that is “as cheap as feasible” for consumers and enterprises.
This discussion revealed that a strong participatory democracy in EU decision-making remains crucial for better connecting with EU citizens and including civil society in the EU legislative process. Civil society organisations are present on the ground and can identify what works and what does not.
The Malta Council for Economic and Social Development’s participation in this Annual Meeting strengthened its links with the EESC, to which it is affiliated.