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At its plenary session on 28 April 2010, the EESC stresses its offer of support for the European Commission's main policy proposals but demands that citizens be put more clearly at the heart of the European institutions' efforts.
In his welcoming remarks to Mr. Maro efcovic, European Commission Vice-President responsible for inter-institutional relations and administration, EESC President Mario Sepi reiterated that the Commission must not let itself be sidelined by recent intergovernmental initiatives which may be detrimental to European integration. Reinforced by speakers from all three groups, he demanded "a mission statement for Europe which makes the citizens feel that they are at the core of Europe. Concrete steps to exit the crisis must be proposed. Civil Society will be fully behind you."
Addressing the plenary already for the second time since taking up office, Mr. efcovic outlined the main policy elements of the work program and highlighted the new approach for the legislative program which consists of 34 strategic initiatives on which the Commission commits to deliver by the end of 2010. Others, however, were to be seen in a more mid-term perspective and would be adapted in the light of new circumstances where appropriate. "The support of civil society is essential for the good implementation of all these proposals", stressed the Commissioner.
Speakers from all three groups welcomed the Commission work program in general but insisted it should be more ambitious. Mr. George Dassis (President of the Group of Employees, Greece) encouraged "this European Commission to take a chance just like previous ones have dared to give clear signals to the European citizens."
Mr. Henri Malosse (President of the Group of Employeurs, France) stressed that "the European budget is almost ridiculous when it comes to tackling the crisis. Real proposals such as investment in innovation or transport are necessary to make a real difference."
In the same tune, Mr. Jorge Pegado Liz (Various Interests Group, Portugal) pledged to be concrete and to table proposals aiming at solving current problems: "Citizens must feel that it is not only about the economy but about them!"
On visit at the plenary, the President of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, Mr. Sonny Portelli, asked for more simplification of regulations and demands "to be particularly conscious of the need to redouble efforts to re-invigorate enterprise, which in turn will generate employment opportunities, and drive economic growth."