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 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.
"Nudges" are small, cheap, easily implemented solutions drawing from behavioural sciences to help people modify their individual behaviours. They consist in inducing towards the most reasonable or responsible option, without forbidding anything, through soft cognitive signals in a wide range of fields, including sustainability. This opinion looks at how to encourage nudging approaches at the European level.
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 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.
The EESC encourages the Commission to pursue its efforts to develop policy proposals aimed at promoting the creation of innovative and high growth firms. These policy proposals should strengthen the single market, reinforce the clusters and ecosystems in which innovative start-ups are created, develop the equity component of the European capital markets, encourage an academic agenda focusing on jobs for the future and minimise the cost and red tape involved in starting a new entrepreneurial venture.
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.
The EESC opinion on the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive was adopted with 180 votes in favour, 84 against and 30 abstentions. A counter opinion on the same subject was put forward and not carried, receiving 94 for, 175 against and 23 abstentions.
In its opinion, the EESC supports in principle the Commission's proposed recast of the Posting of Workers Directive. The principle of equal pay for equal work in the same place is the cornerstone of the pillar of social rights in Europe.
Regarding the question of "remuneration", some EESC members consider that this newly-introduced concept is the only way to ensure equal working conditions for both posted and local workers, eliminating wage differentials and guaranteeing a level playing field among companies. Other EESC members believe that the introduction of this new concept could result in less legal certainty and clarity and increasing administrative and financial burdens for foreign service providers that post workers.
Regarding the maximum duration of posting, the EESC considered that the limit of 24 months is a step in the right direction, but a limit of 6 months would be closer to real business conditions.
The EESC still considers that Turkey remains a very important partner and that the political will exists to increase levels of cooperation, but only provided that compliance with the fundamental European values and the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights is ensured.
The EESC believes that ongoing developments have rendered the current Customs Union (CU) agreement obsolete and that the parties to the agreement will have to start serious negotiations on strengthening their economic ties by establishing a new type of trade agreement that reflects current needs. The recent adjustments and best practices implemented in various trade agreements have transformed models for sustainability, transparency and the involvement of the social partners and civil society in international trade agreements.
The EESC proposes that the following areas be included in the regulatory framework of the new agreement: agriculture (with all the requirements set out in the opinion), services, public procurement, unprocessed products and raw materials, consumer protection, environmental protection and sustainable development, equivalence of regulatory regimes for veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and of food safety policy, effective protection of labour rights and decent jobs, protection of health and safety in the workplace, facilitation of e-commerce and introduction of a digital agenda that establishes free movement of digital data, energy policy and energy security, promotion of innovation and protection of intellectual property, combating corruption and money laundering, improved incentives for SMEs, simplified administrative procedures and reduced administrative costs, investment and updating of investment legislation with the aim of protecting investors, and concurrent introduction of an impartial dispute settlement procedure, improvement of the procedure for transposing and incorporating European legislation into the Turkish legal system, more robust provisions to ensure that the content of the revised agreement and the implementing provisions complies with the EU acquis.
The EESC believes that any type of trade agreement between the EU and Turkey will have to include effective consultation and inclusion of the social partners (employers and employees) and of civil society organisations at both the negotiating and implementation stages.
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.