European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Civil Society Days 2021, which took place between March 1 and March 5, focused on Sustainable Recovery for the Future of Europe. Culture Action Europe was present at this annual event facilitating the discussion on the role of culture and education in Europe’s post-pandemic recovery. A special focus was given to the Cultural Deal for Europe, an overarching framework in the making, to place culture at the heart of the European project, jointly proposed by Culture Action Europe (CAE), the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), and Europa Nostra.
Following the event, the joint statement by the EESC Liaison Group co-chairs was recently published. There will be no sustainable recovery in Europe without civil society – the public statement dwells on themes such as the democratic participation of civil society in policy-making, the power of civic and digital education to foster civic participation, along with calls for culture to be included in the sustainable recovery and to be maintained through various EU funding mechanisms.
The empowerment of youth and minorities is a key pillar for the strong civil society, recapitulates the statement. Education, which is at the very essence of sustainable development, is the most effective way to eradicate poverty and generate progress in various areas, employment for instance. As quoted from the European Economic and Social Committee article “Give young people the chance to meaningfully participate and stay engaged all around Europe, and have their voice heard not only on youth-specific issues but in a variety of policy areas. Funding opportunities under the new EU plans should also be accessible to youth-led organizations”. With sustainability having different dimensions, education and youth empowerment within their cultural dimension are also to be part of the appeal for Europe’s recovery.
Active engagement and participation of civil society and cultural agents in the design and implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) is paramount to achieving the sustainable recovery of Europe. This call has been reiterated in the open letter, published last week by representatives of 110+ cultural networks, a joint action coordinated by Culture Action Europe.