European Economic and Social Committee elects Oliver Röpke as its new President
“In these testing times, the support of civil society in gathering the voices of European citizens is key to building democratic resilience and shaping the future of Europe.” – Oliver Röpke
On 26 April 2023 Oliver Röpke led his inaugural session as new President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). He was elected by the Committee for the next two and a half years.
Röpke has been a long-term advocate for workers’ rights, serving as president of the EESC Workers’ Group and head of the Brussels office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation prior to his appointment.
In his inaugural speech, he set democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law as guiding principles of his mandate and presented his programme, the Manifesto, which includes a list of actions he intends to implement during his mandate, including:
- Appointing Honorary Enlargement Members from EU accession countries to involve them in the daily advisory work of the Committee
- A robust participation of the EESC in campaigns and activities to increase voter participation in the 2024 European elections
- Greater involvement of citizens in the EU project – in particular youth – through citizens’ panels; implementation of the EU Youth Test in EESC opinions; and establishment of a Youth Advisors’ Council to the President
- Institutional reform in order to strengthen the EESC’s voice and prepare it for a greater role if the EU Treaties are revised
Philea had a chance to engage with the newly elected president on 17 May when he co-chaired the meeting of the EESC full Liaison Group with European civil society organisations and networks. Closer cooperation between the EESC and civil society organisations was on the agenda as well as the role of citizens’ panels in our democratic system and the place of civil society organisations within this process.