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EESC and Social Platform

    Dear colleagues,
    Here’s an article about the cooperation between the structures of European Union and European civil society.
    Of all EU Structures that present interest to us, as representatives of Civil Society, the most significant is the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) or, as it is commonly referred to – ECOSOC. EESC expresses the opinions of organized civil society on economic and social issues in the European Union. We have attached a brochure titled “The EESC in ten points”, which will give you an overall picture about EESC.
    Following is an abstract from another brochure titled “The EESC: a bridge between Europe and organized civil society”.
    “Three essential missions are assigned to the EESC:
    - to advise the three major institutions (EP, Council and Commission);
    - to enable civil society organizations in the Union to make a greater contribution and commitment to the European project and give more tangible expression to a Europe that is close t its citizens;
    - to strengthen the role of civil society organizations in non-EU countries (or groups of countries) and, to this end, to promote structured dialogue with the representatives, as well as the creation of similar structures (‘structured dialogue’) in such areas as the CEECs, Turkey and the Euromed, ACP and Mercosur countries .”
    As you can see from this abstract, one of the missions of EESC is to strengthen the role of civil society organizations in their countries, including organizations from the CEECs (Central and Eastern Europe Countries). Moreover, EESC has defined a format of cooperation called “structured dialogue”. For more information visit EESC official website ( www.esc.eu.int ).
    On behalf of civil society cooperation with EU is organized by a united structure – the Social Platform, which is an alliance of representative European federations and Networks of non-governmental organizations active in the social sector. This unified structure allows civil society to speak out with one voice in the processes of decision making on the intergovernmental level. The Social Platform unites tens of thousands NGO. The mechanism of cooperation between the structures of European Union and the Social Platform is as follows: Regular meetings are held between the Euro commission and the Social Platform. Social Platform presents suggestions, opinions, projects, ideas, experts, etc., about social matters.
    Here’s an abstract from the Social Platform – Annual Report of 2003.
    “Members of the Platform insist that NGOs have a key role to play in promoting an equitable society based on the protection and advancement of human rights and participation of all. NGOs must become legitimate partners in the public debate on the orientation of European society. It is with this in mind that the Social Platform seeks to develop and strengthen civil dialogue between European NGOs and institutions of the European Union”.
    Social Platform provides interface between the Social NGOs and the European Council, European Parliament and European Commission. The Social Platform is a model of a network of NGOs able to significantly influence the operation of an intergovernmental organization. For details about the Social Platform you can visit the organizations site - www.socialplatform.org.
    Arman Arakelyan

Publication of 11 9, 2004.

Supported by Eurasia Foundation Supported by Eurasia Foundation