2017 is a very important year for Europe, as it marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the European Union.
Young people represent Europe’s future, and they will decide the direction of the EU in the years to come. The EESC, as the "voice" of civil society, is eager to ensure that the views, experiences and ideas of Europe’s younger generation are heard.
The EESC very much welcomes the Commission’s package of proposals and hopes that it will contribute effectively to complementing the work done after the crisis to reform the financial sector. The Committee welcomes the underlying holistic and integrated approach and believes that the proposed measures will undoubtedly help strengthen Europe’s prudential and resolution framework for banks. The Committee also these proposals will enable progress to be made not only in further advancing the Banking Union, but also in implementing its third pillar, the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and that certain specific adjustments in the proposals should facilitate the pursuit of a Capital Markets Union.
The EESC is committed to open and fair trade and recognises its value as a driver of growth and jobs.
Therefore, the EESC calls for a level playing field between European and third country exporting producers, and for effective trade defence instruments.
The EESC takes the view that, overall, the Commission's proposal provides a balanced approach between the issue of China's market economy status, on the one hand, and the goal of having an effective dumping calculation method, on the other.
The EESC supports the Commission's proposal that the dumping margin should be calculated not using the standard methodology, but on the basis of benchmarks that take account of significantly distorted production and sale costs. The EESC points out that in its 2016 opinion on preserving sustainable jobs and growth in the steel industry, it already called for the standard methodology not to be used in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese imports as long as the country failed to meet the EU's five criteria for market economy status.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's intention of using specific criteria to determine whether there are significant distortions in the market situation. The Committee notes that the respect of ILO standards and of Multilateral Environment Agreements should also be considered.
The EESC calls on the Parliament and the Council to clearly state that the Commission will issue specific country reports for every country with significant market distortions.
The EESC notes, however, that there is still room for improvement in the Commission's proposal to amend the basic anti-dumping regulation in terms of the effectiveness and practicability of the anti-dumping investigation process (legal status, feasibility and pertinence of the proposed reports), and particularly with regard to the burden of proof, which seems to be shifted onto the European industry.
In addition, the EESC stresses that the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaints procedure must also be accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. The Committee also notes that the efficiency of trade defence instrument (TDI) procedures is also linked to the 2013 proposal to modernise TDI, including the lesser duty rule. The EESC insists that it is crucially important for the TDI modernisation package to also be finalised and adopted in the coming months in order to produce a robust and effective trade defence system and to secure jobs and growth in the EU.
In the opinion on "Inclusive Islands" drawn up at the request of the Maltese Presidency of the EU, the EESC identifies permanent solutions for islands to address their structural difficulties. Europe's islands are home to over 21 million people. They account for approximately 4% of the EU-28's total population. There is therefore an urgent need for the adoption of an integrated policy framework to address the economic, social and territorial cohesion issues faced by European islands. The EESC calls for a greater effort to be undertaken by the EU to recognise the uniqueness of the challenges facing islands.
While supporting the proposal for a directive on preventive restructuring and second chances, the EESC would prefer to see the proposal take the form of a regulation and not be afraid to move towards the maximum possible harmonisation of current systems.
IN THIS ISSUE: A comprehensive policy to steer transformation in car industry; EU must take the lead in linking trade in agriculture with SDGs; Migration needs fair responsibility sharing; 60 years of European Community - Let’s shape the future!