Opinions in the spotlight - page 1

Results 1 to 10 out of 313.

  • 20 Oct 2016
    Mid-term evaluation of Horizon 2020 Adopted References: INT/792 EESC-2016-03274-00-00-ac-tra Exploratory Opinion Rapporteur: Mr Ulrich Samm (Employers - GR I / Germany) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    While welcoming the existence of the Horizon 2020 program, the EESC is worried that funding for research into Societal Challenges has been significantly reduced. Moreover, the EESC is exceedingly concerned about the large disparities between Member States in terms of national funding for research and innovation.

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    EESC opinion: Mid-term evaluation of Horizon 2020

  • 20 Oct 2016
    EESC opinion: The 2030 Agenda – a European Union committed to sustainable development globally Adopted References: REX/461 EESC-2016-00758-00-00-AC-TRA Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ioannis Vardakastanis (Various interests - GR III / Greece) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016 (Summary Plenary Session)

    The 2030 Agenda represents a breakthrough in multilateral cooperation, in the sense that it puts social and human development on a par with economic progress, and sees these three dimensions as a whole. Whereas the MDGs (Millennium Development goals) addressed primarily developing countries, this new Agenda is a transformational and universal agenda for all countries, and promotes a new, inclusive and participatory method of decision-making.

     

    The EU showed significant leadership in the process leading up to the adoption of the new SDGs (Sustainable Development Goasl). The opinion stresses that the EU needs to hold up its credibility both internally and externally, when it comes to implementing the Agenda and its 17 goals. Pointing to the universal and indivisible nature of the Agenda, the opinion underlines the importance of an EU response at the highest level, providing a robust base on which an overarching EU strategy should be founded. The opinion also calls upon civil society in Europe and worldwide, to play its role in monitoring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and in bringing the debate on the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals to the capitals.

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    EESC opinion: The 2030 Agenda – a European Union committed to sustainable development globally

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Review of the wholesale roaming market in the EU Adopted References: TEN/600 EESC-2016 Referral - Rapporteur: Mr Raymond Hencks (Workers - GR II / Luxembourg) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    The EESC supports the Commission's initiatives to achieve "roam-like-at-home" from 15 June 2017 as well as its efforts to eliminate the failures of the wholesale roaming market.

    However, pre-emptive measures will be necessary to prevent operators from compensating for the drop in revenue resulting from the abolition of roaming charges by increasing domestic charges or by means of other improper practices. The EESC also expresses serious reservations about the new possibility given to operators to negotiate "innovative wholesale pricing schemes" outside the regulated prices (caps) that would not be directly linked to the actual volumes consumed. Commercial negotiations based on flat payments are likely to lead to cartels and abuses of dominant positions.

    Finally, the EESC suggests that the provisions dealing with disputes should be fleshed out and national authorities should be asked to encourage the parties involved, where appropriate, to first resort to resolving disputes via an alternative dispute resolution procedure.

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    EESC opinion: Review of the wholesale roaming market in the EU

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Shipbreaking and the recycling society Adopted References: CCMI/145 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Martin Siecker (Workers - GR II / Netherlands) Co-rapporteur: Richard Adams (United Kingdom)

    Most ships that reach their economical end-of-life are scrapped in an irresponsible way in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh using the "beaching-method". That involves grounding them on a sandy beach where they are scrapped by unskilled workers, including many children, without appropriate equipment, without any health and safety provisions protecting them against the large quantities of hazardous substances released and without paying them a liveable wage. In the EU there are only some facilities that are primarily specialised in recycling military vessels for safety reasons. They most often can’t compete in the market for recycling commercial vessels as the price offered in the countries that use the beaching method is much higher than in Europe.

     

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    EESC opinion: Shipbreaking and the recycling society

  • 19 Oct 2016
    European control mechanism on the rule of law and fundamental rights Adopted References: SOC/536 EESC-2016-01275-00-01-ac Own-initiative Rapporteur: Moreno Diaz (Workers - GR II / Spain) Co-rapporteur: Topolánszky (Various interests - GR III / Hungary) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016 (Summary Plenary Session)

    Alarming political decisions have shown that the EU lacks adequate instruments to safeguard fundamental values and the rule of law. A new European mechanism on the rule of law and fundamental rights is needed. The mechanism should include a regular assessment of Member States in a governance "policy coordination cycle", similar to the European Semester. The EESC should play an active role, as this will make for strong civil society involvement. The mechanism must be based on indicators, taking into account the indivisibility of fundamental economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights.

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    EESC opinion: European control mechanism on the rule of law and fundamental rights

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Promoting a fairer agro-food supply chain Adopted References: NAT/680 EESC-2016-01870-00-00-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Peter Schmidt (Workers - GR II / Germany) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the food supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and some transnational companies and to the detriment of suppliers, in particular primary producers. The concentration of bargaining power has led to the abuse of positions of dominance causing weaker operators to become increasingly vulnerable to Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs). The opinion takes stock of the impact of UTPs, stresses the difficult position of the most vulnerable actors along the chain and calls for action at EU level to stop UTPs and promote a fairer food supply chain.

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    EESC opinion: Promoting a fairer agro-food supply chain

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Prosumer Energy and Prosumer Power Cooperatives: Opportunities and challenges in the EU countries Adopted References: TEN/583 EESC-2016 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Janusz PIETKIEWICZ (Employers - GR I / Poland) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    The EESC takes the view that the general development of distributed prosumer energy should form an important and sustainable part of the European Union’s energy policy. Such an approach would be beneficial and might even be necessary from the point of view of energy security and in light of environmental and social concerns. In particular, the Committee points to the prosumers’ advantages of, among others, lower energy transmission costs, better use of local energy sources, and the economic and social involvement of local communities.

    To this end, the phenomenon of "’prosumers’" must be comprehensively and legally defined; public finance schemes should not discriminate against prosumers; smart and storage technologies must be developed and rolled-out in support of prosumers (and others); prosumers need to be protected from the monopolistic practices of energy transmission, distribution and large energy producing companies; and the establishment and operation of energy cooperatives and other collective prosumer entities should be promoted. It is important to note that the promotion of prosumers should on no account distort market competition.

    The EESC advises the European Commission to take account of the aforementioned prosumer energy issues in the current Electricity Market Design and Renewables Package Review.

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    EESC opinion: Prosumer Energy and Prosumer Power Cooperatives: Opportunities and challenges in the EU countries

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Anti-Money Laundering Directive Adopted References: ECO/408 EESC-2016-04274-00-01-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Javier DOZ ORRIT (Workers - GR II / Spain) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    The EESC believes that the fight against terrorism and its financing and efforts to combat money laundering and other related forms of economic crime should be permanent EU policy priorities. These efforts should be linked more closely with the efforts needed to combat tax fraud and tax avoidance. Therefore, the EESC considers creating public national registers of the beneficial owners of bank accounts, businesses, trusts and transactions, and access to them by obliged entities, to be a priority. Furthermore, all obligations laid down in the Anti Money Laundering Directive should be extended to all territories or jurisdictions whose sovereignty resides with the Member States. And free trade and economic partnership agreements should include a chapter on measures to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing, tax fraud and tax avoidance. The Committee concludes with calling for additional steps to protect the rights of citizens against illegal use or abuse of the information recorded by the competent authorities in the fight against money laundering and related crimes.

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    EESC opinion: Anti-Money Laundering Directive

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Access to anti-money-laundering information by tax authorities Adopted References: ECO/414 EESC-2016-04584-00-00-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Petru Sorin DANDEA (Workers - GR II / Romania) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    The EESC believes that the fight against terrorism and its financing and efforts to combat money laundering and other related forms of economic crime should be permanent EU policy priorities. These efforts should be linked more closely with the efforts needed to combat tax fraud and tax avoidance. Therefore, the EESC considers creating public national registers of the beneficial owners of bank accounts, businesses, trusts and transactions, and access to them by obliged entities, to be a priority. Furthermore, all obligations laid down in the Anti Money Laundering Directive should be extended to all territories or jurisdictions whose sovereignty resides with the Member States. And free trade and economic partnership agreements should include a chapter on measures to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing, tax fraud and tax avoidance. The Committee concludes with calling for additional steps to protect the rights of citizens against illegal use or abuse of the information recorded by the competent authorities in the fight against money laundering and related crimes.

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    EESC opinion: Access to anti-money-laundering information by tax authorities

  • 19 Oct 2016
    Parcel delivery Adopted References: INT/799 EESC-2016-04454-00-00-AC-TRA Referral - Rapporteur: Raymond Hencks (Workers - GR II / Luxembourg) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016

    For the EESC it is essential that the Commission take further action to ensure that all e-retailers and consumers, and particularly individuals and SMEs in remote areas, can finally benefit from cross-border parcel delivery services that are accessible, high quality and affordable, fearing that the proposed measures not be enough and do little to encourage the cross-border parcel delivery services concerned to charge reasonable tariffs. Therefore the EESC regrets that the Commission is shelving any more stringent measures until the end of 2018, calling on the Commission to take the same approach it took to roaming charges in mobile communications.

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    EESC opinion: Parcel delivery

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