European Economic and Social Committee PRESS RELEASE No 99/2006 26 October 2006 The European Economic and Social Committee elects Dimitris Dimitriadis as its new President On Wednesday, 25 October, Mr Dimitris Dimitriadis (Group Ι, Employers, Greece) was elected President of the EESC for the coming two years, winning 238 of a total of 249 votes. In his first speech to plenary, to which he gave the title "Entrepreneurship with a human face", the newly elected President touched on the modern challenges facing the European Union while stressing the role of the Committee in bringing the public closer to the Union. Mr Dimitriadis spoke of the time that Europe has wasted while the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China progress at pace. He affirmed, nevertheless, that "we have not reached an impasse. In Chinese, the word "crisis" has two ideograms: the first signifies "danger" and the other "opportunity"; Mr Dimitriadis preferred to think in terms of opportunity. However, he stressed, for the EU to make the most of this opportunity it would have to promote "entrepreneurship with a human face and not a facade", notably by cutting red tape and creating attractive jobs. Later in his speech, Mr Dimitriadis referred to small businesses and to people- centred business as a mind-set, an idea that springs from the old saying of the Greek philosopher Protagoras: "Man is the measure of all things". He pointed out that this was not the same as economic wealth and noted that businesses should make their goal innovation and not just profit. He also emphasised that the changes in working Europeans' attitudes, striving to improve their standard of living, could also contribute to the creation of a competitive and constantly changing professional environment. To end, the new President stated that the European Economic and Social Committee would play an active part in bridging the gap between the European public and the Community bodies, shaping a renewed strategy for sustainable development, and also developing an active network of civil society initiatives aimed at promoting the implementation of the Lisbon strategy. Mr Dimitriadis has been a member of the EESC since 1999 and a member of its Bureau since 2002. In October 2004 he was elected Vice-President of the EESC, with particular responsibility for the Committee’s Budget group. Born in Thessaloniki in 1957 and married with two children, he holds a degree in law and has worked as a lawyer as well as being President and CEO of a number of different companies in Greece. Mr Dimitriadis is a member of several Greek civil society organisations, notably he is First Vice-President of the National EN European Economic and Social Committee Confederation of Hellenic Commerce and a member of the executive council of Eurocommerce, Brussels. His work in the EESC to date has comprised, among others, opinions on the situation of civil society in the Western Balkans, the Multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, regional integration and sustainable development, EU-China relations and the WTO. For more information, consult a detailed CV: http://eesc.europa.eu/organisation/docs/dimitriadis_detailedcv_en.pdf Background information The EESC’s presidency rotates among its three groups (employers, employees and various interests). The President is elected for a two-year term. The Vice- Presidents are elected from the two other groups. For the period 2006-2008, Vice Presidents are Mr. Alexander Michael Graf von Schwerin (Group II, Employees, Germany) and Ms. Jillian van Turnhout (Group III, Various Interests, Ireland). For more details, please contact: Karel Govaert or Christian Weger at the EESC Press Office, 99 rue Belliard, B-1040 Brussels Tel.: +32 2 546 9396/9586; Mobile: +32 475 75 32 02 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/ Press Releases: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/activities/press/cp/index_en.asp (English) http://www.eesc.europa.eu/activities/press/cp/index_fr.asp (French) The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the Community decision-making process. The Committee has 317 members, who are appointed by the Council of Ministers.
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