Dimitrids Dimitriadis (right)

This afternoon the EESC’s plenary session debated and adopted a major own-initiative opinion (the rapporteur is a former President, Dimitris Dimitriadis, Employers’ Group, Greece) on the promotion of representative civil societies in the Euromed region. Given all that has been happening in the region the opinion clearly could not have been more timely. The opinion argues that the EU should devise a diversified, flexible and intelligent response – and part of that intelligence should come from plugging into the existing expertise and links that exist between such consultative bodies as the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions which have both, in their different ways, been helping healthy civil societies to grow in the various countries. Since the EU is the biggest donor to the region it should put its clout to good use, in particular by putting clauses on democratic freedoms and individual rights into its bilateral agreements. The opinion further argues that the current waves of immigration towards the EU countries will only be steemed ultimately by helping these countries to raise their standards of living and to reinforce and consolidate their nascent democratic cultures.