The plenary session is over. A large number of opinions were adopted and it’s always invidious (and dangerous for an SG!) to start singling out any particular opinion for special note, but here goes – just one or two to give a taste. One exploratory opinion (which means that the Swedish Presidency asked the Committee to draft it), on social inclusion (rapporteur: Brenda King, Employers’ Group, UK), was closely linked to the previous debate on the Lisbon Strategy. The words still ring in my ears of a Finnish colleague who pointed out that some victims of economic crises – the poor, the old, the low-skilled – can easily become permanent victims, who never manage to join the productive economy again. the opinion quite rightly argues that we must be particularly attentive to this risk.
Another, own-initiative opinion (which means that the Committee itself decided that it should draw attention to a particular issue) on the impact of social networking sites on citizens and consumers (rapporteur: Joao Pegado Liz, Various Interests Group, Portugese) coined a new term or, at least, new to me; ‘poor digital literacy’. This closely-argued and well-documented opinion demonstrates just how inadvertently vulnerable we can all be to exploitation of various networking sites; it’s not just those who are poor in digital literacy, though they are of course most at risk.