EESC elects its new leadership

Christa Schweng sits in the presidential chair with the message “United for the future of Europe”

Photo: EESC Giulia Barbucci, Christa Schweng and Cillian Lohan (L-R).

Austria's Christa Schweng has become the 33rd president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the fifth woman to head the EU body representing organised civil society since its establishment 62 years ago. She sits in the presidential chair with the message “United for the future of Europe”.

The two new vice-presidents are Giulia Barbucci from Italy, who will be in charge of budget and Cillian Lohan from Ireland, who will be responsible for communication.

The EESC appointed its new leadership on 28 October during the inaugural plenary session and this marks the beginning of the EESC's 2020-2025 term of office, with over 40% of its 329 members being new. Due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, the entire inaugural session is being held online with the exception of its opening session, which was held remotely but chaired in person by the EESC's oldest member, Raymond Coumont, from the empty hemicycle in the European Parliament.

This term of office will be marked by Covid-19 and, sadly, by times of uncertainty and economic and social hardship, in which businesses struggle to survive and workers lose their jobs, President Schweng commented after her election. In the current context, more than ever, we need to join forces, develop a vision for a new, post-Covid-19 Europe and do our utmost to ensure that our Committee provides a powerful contribution to Europe's recovery and future resilience, she said adding that this will go hand in hand with rebuilding a more united, effective and highly regarded EESC.

The president's programme will be based on the priorities, which are in line with her vision of a post-Covid-19 Europe that enables its citizens to thrive and live in an open and value-based society. This is a Europe that is prospering economically; a Europe that is socially inclusive; and a Europe that is environmentally sustainable.

The fourth priority is making sure the EESC plays a vital role in the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is an important initiative that should give Europeans a sense of ownership of their EU by enabling them to debate major EU topics, with the goal of improving the way the EU works.


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