In this opinion, the EESC calls for society to begin an economic transition from over-exploitation of resources and a throw-away culture to a more sustainable, job-rich era, based on quality rather than quantity. In order to cope with the fundamental shift to a new economic model with major systemic consequences in many areas, it is recommended that a new cross-cutting and permanent body be set up in the EESC to analyse these developments.
The emergence of a decentralised digital economy suggests that this could lead to a transformation in setting up businesses, jobs, production, consumption, governance. In view of this and in answer to the Commission's Communication on a new agenda for the collaborative economy, the EESC proposes a series of recommendations to face this new paradigm.
The EESC is in favour of the Commission's proposal which introduces a new approach to safety rules, based on risk assessment and performance.The EESC also supports the proposal to give EASA greater responsibility for security, in cooperation and in agreement with the Member States.The successful implementation of these changes in working methods and culture require adequate resources and a transparent and inclusive approach.Other key points include:
The EESC advises against amending the substantive provisions on wet lease at this stage and considers that this issue should be addressed when Regulation 1008/2008 is reviewed.
An Association Agreement was signed between the EEC and Turkey in 1963 (the Ankara Agreement), whereby the parties agreed to create a Customs Union (CU). The final phase of the CU was established on 1 January 1996 through the EU-Turkey Association Council Decision 1/95, currently in application. After 20 years, the framework of bilateral trade relations has become outdated: it is limited to industrial and certain processed agricultural products, with complementary alignment on some economic legislation and ad hoc preferential concessions on certain agricultural products.
With important free trade agreements of the EU with third countries and notably EU-US TTIP negotiations featuring highly on the trade agenda, the modernisation of the CU and, more importantly, the enhancement of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations can be a tool for Turkey to underpin its economic reforms, improve its competitiveness and have a better standing to be able to integrate later challenging trade deals such as TTIP. A number of ad hoc assessments have been carried out on the CU, mostly pointing at the economic benefits of the agreement. Moreover, an evaluation carried out by the World Bank was published in April 2014.
In May 2015 the EU Trade Commissioner and the Turkish Economy Minister jointly launched the process of preparing the upgrade of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade and economic relations. The process consists of the enhancement of the trade relations in areas such as trade in services and public procurement, the further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, and the modernisation of the Customs Union. The EESC has been asked by the European Commission to produce an opinion, as part of the ongoing consultation on the Enhancement of EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations and modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union.
The EESC welcomes and supports the Commission's initiative to anticipate the review of the Regulations on European venture capital funds (EuVECA) and European social entrepreneurship funds (EuSEF). The EESC believes that such a regulation can promote the establishment of a capital markets union. The EESC suggests that in order to expand participation in such investment funds, the hitherto very restrictive access criteria, as well as other restrictive conditions, to be significantly relaxed; the Committee proposes to increase the involvement of non-institutional investors and considers it equally important to create an environment in which the financing objectives of social investment funds can develop.
The Committee considers transparency essential as it is important for all parties, for the companies themselves, and for improving their image and boosting the trust of workers, consumers and investors. While the EESC recognises that most companies operating in the EU are indeed transparent and that investors and shareholders are increasingly paying attention to qualitative corporate social responsibility (CSR) indicators, it is important to focus simultaneously on both the effectiveness and scope of the information being filed and on its quality and veracity. The EESC believes that any further initiative on disclosure of information should include a common set of indicators and at the same time should take into consideration the nature of the company and the sector in which it is operating.