The EESC stresses that occupational pension schemes, created as a result of decisions by the social partners, can play a very important role in ensuring that employees have additional pension provision. The EESC disagrees with the approach to IORPs purely as financial market institutions, which fails to acknowledge their important social function. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the right way of achieving the Commission's objectives given the numerous differences between pension schemes in Member States.
The exploratory opinion is being drawn up at the request of the Greek Presidency of the European Union. Immigration-related issues remain a key challenge for the European Union and its Member States with a comprehensive and common strategy at EU level remaining elusive, in spite of the continued pressures that are being felt on the EU's borders.
The EESC welcomes the Commission communication and emphasises the growth potential of crowdfunding in the EU as an alternative source of funding. It also emphasises the dependence of SMEs on bank loans, a situation that will persist despite the existence of alternative sources which are not always easy to access. Therefore Crowdfunding should be explicitly recognised in the laws of the Member States as a new form of patronage.
The EESC expresses its firm support for the structural reform of the banking system. It considers the Commission's proposal for a regulation to be a valid and effective response aimed at separating commercial banking activities from investment activities.
The EESC supports and encourages a broad agreement to boost the economy and restore trust in the financial institutions, and calls on the Commission to promote a European Social Pact for Sustainable Finance.
Nevertheless, the EESC believes that the Commission should give greater attention to investors and employees, who have hitherto received little attention in the reform.
Besides, the EESC recommends that oversight activities be carried out in close cooperation and coordination between the EBA and the national authorities, which are well-acquainted with the markets and which will play a key role in managing the new reformed European finance.
The Committee considers the European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to be a key instrument in EU climate and energy policy for reducing the EU's industrial emissions, and, therefore, calls for its genuine reform aimed at achieving both the EU's climate objectives for 2020 and 2030 while safeguarding our industrial competitiveness and avoiding investment leakage. The EESC supports the proposal to establish a market stability reserve at the beginning of the next ETS trading period in 2021, as a possible measure to deal with post-2020 ETS price volatility.
The EESC recommends taking a decisive step towards a real European Energy Community by coordinating national plans, particularly with a view to securing the EU’s energy supply, providing more information on plans to step up action in the non-ETS sector, particularly in the transport, agriculture and land use sectors. And taking radical action on innovation and research as the providers of real solutions to the challenges, in combination with measures to promote the manufacture of equipment for the low carbon economy, while and ensuring that delivery by industry is supported by better training, and making the international development of climate policies the top priority and in parallel paying more attention to adaptation to climate change.
The EESC believes that the Commission's documents (Communication and Recommendations) are based on a realistic view of the subject and that further discussions must be based on facts and findings, but it is also necessary to consider important subjective factors such as the public's perception of risk. The EESC takes a balanced view of the potential role of unconventional hydrocarbons in the EU energy mix.