“Civil society against COVID-19" is the new dedicated section of the EESC website bringing together over fifty stories of recovery, solidarity and practical action in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Launched on 2 July 2020, it sets out initiatives on the ground undertaken by EESC members through their national organisations in their respective Member States, to deal with the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Isabel Caño Aguilar, EESC vice-president for communication, who initiated the project, said: “The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has closely followed the development of the pandemic, expressing strong solidarity with the victims of coronavirus and their families. What we are now doing is showing our members' daily commitment on the ground to take action to deal with the consequences”.
In welcoming readers to the new section of the website, vice-president Isabel Caño Aguilar explained, more specifically: “This website is dedicated to the work that the EESC, its members and the civil society organisations it represents have been doing to get through the crisis and prepare for the future. In our hospitals, our countries, our cities and rural areas, men and women, who remain anonymous, have been working tirelessly together to overcome this crisis. In that respect, it is important to highlight that organised civil society is a key player in the fight against the pandemic and in recovering from it.”
The EESC members' stories are wide-ranging, encompassing workers, enterprises and social dialogue as well as agriculture, health, transport, the environment, consumers, equal rights, youth, family and the elderly.
Alberto Mazzola from the Employers' Group, for example, pointed to the logistical support provided by Italy's state rail company Ferrovie dello Stato, which ensured a minimum service throughout the crisis and provided free transport for healthcare workers.
For the Workers' Group, Dorthe Andersen explained how the Danish Trade Union managed to conclude a tripartite agreement with the national government on vocational training for young people.
A member of the Diversity Europe Group, Christiane Basset established, through the French National Union of Family Associations (UNAF), an innovative mediation service for family carers confronted with an increased number of conflicts during the pandemic.
The mini-website also includes a section entitled "The EESC prepares the future", highlighting all the initiatives and actions that the EESC has undertaken in response to the crisis, as well as a reference to the Civil Solidarity Prize, which will be organised in the second half of 2020 on a one-off basis instead of the annual EESC Civil Society Prize.
Against the backdrop of the "Europeans against COVID-19" campaign, the EESC's stories of initiatives on the ground in response to the crisis will be shared with the other EU institutions and published on the website of the European Parliament, the institution which launched a campaign back in May to pay tribute to all Europeans who were active in the fight against the pandemic.