The EESC considers the APS as a first step forward, recognising the steel sector as a strategically important sector for Europe and a motor for growth. It will be judged on the way it is implemented. Not only on medium and long term as foreseen but also on what practical measures will be immediately decided. The opinion makes specific immediate suggestions to ensure that the sector remains strategic for the European manufacturing industry and employment.
The EESC welcomes the debate on social impact measurements for social enterprises. However it feels that an incorrect or rushed approach may counteract the EU Institutions’ aim to support the development of the social enterprise sector. The EESC therefore urges the Commission to prioritise further awareness-raising and full implementation of the Social Business Initiative agenda. It recommends that, rather than developing a new method, the Commission build awareness of the most commonly used principles.
The EESC believes that the Mediterranean Region needs a Macro-Regional Strategy (EU MMRS) to help the regions face challenges that cannot be satisfactorily resolved by single regions or countries through the usual means. Such a strategy would help the regions concerned to address the causes of uncertainty that dominate the Mediterranean region by increasing the value-added of the positive achievements of the initiatives already launched and the Europe 2020 goals. The success of the MMRS will also have a positive effect on the EU as a whole.
Comparable data on volunteering in the individual EU Member States has never been available. Such activities, however, represent real economic value and this data could provide a very useful tool for facilitating implementation of many social and economic policies. Therefore the Committee calls on the European Commission to work on a standardised methodology for research into volunteer work and to ensure its adoption by the Member States via an appropriate EU Regulation. In so doing, use should be made of the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work. The Commission should also introduce binding legal measures to enable the non-profit sector to co-finance public grants with the economic value of volunteer work.
The opinion will set out civil society's perspective on the dual challenge which EU Member States face in dealing with recent waves of immigrants and at the same time fulfilling - or in some cases failing to fulfil - their duty in guaranteeing immigrants' human rights, be it in detention or whilst on high seas. This issue is particularly topical since the European Commission and European Court of Justice are coming increasingly under pressure to act against Member States that fail to meet EU rules.
The EU, its Member States and its civil society are an incredibly rich source of transition experience which should be used better to achieve stability and contribute to sustainable change in transition societies. Democratic change, sustainable development, inclusive economic growth and a stable market, together with improved welfare and employment, can best be underpinned by good governance and a strong rights-based approach. Practice shows that a strong civil society, in particular when organised, is the best guarantee of success.
The EESC welcomes the proposals to set up a Single Resolution Mechanism which, forms an important new building block in developing the banking union. The Committee equally welcomes the proposed Single Bank Resolution Fund and considers it important to ensure that the resolution fund has the financial resources it needs to fulfil its role properly.
Planned obsolescence is associated with a form of industrial production that relies on a minimum renewal rate for its products. Although product renewal is necessary, certain abuses need to be addressed. The EESC would like to see a total ban on products with built-in defects designed to end the product's life.