Experts from politics and civil society gathered at the public hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee to discuss the current situation of prosumers in the EU and the opportunities and challenges that they are currently facing.
"Consumers, households and businesses will play an important role in the Energy Market by becoming consumers and producers at the same time", said in his keynote speech Tomasz Husak, Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to simplify the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Increased transparency and legal certainty should go hand in hand with a reduction in red tape for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations. A simplified CAP needs to be implemented as soon as possible and farmers should be provided with necessary information and education-based support. For the EESC, it is particularly important to look into the consistency of current requirements, including their impact on the environment, food safety, food availability and job creation.
On 15 December 2015, the President of the Committee took part in the European Parliament Conference of Committee Chairs held in Strasbourg.
In his speech, Mr Dassis set out the EESC's positions on migration and asylum, stressing the prominent role of civil society. Turning to sustainable development and climate change, he spoke about the need for a new governance model in order to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and the Paris Protocol.
The EESC president also stressed the need to "parliamentarise" Economic and Monetary Union, which should listen more to civil society, and called for interinstitutional cooperation to introduce a social protocol paving the way for a levelling up of the Member States' social systems.
Lastly, Mr Dassis emphasised that the Parliament and Committee constituted the EU's "democratic core" and that cooperation between them was crucial to strengthening participatory democracy and democracy in general.
The adoption of a solid "EU Urban Agenda" for Europe that should stimulate growth, integrate liveability constraints and boost innovation is an urgent matter, according to the panellist of EESC's public hearing on the issue at stake.
With more than 60% of EU's population living in urban areas, this Agenda is expected to be "more daring" than the initiatives taken so far according to Joost Van Iersel, President of the ECO section at the EESC, as "there is increasingly robust and future-driven economic power in the cities and urban areas that is a strong basis for growth, not to be underexploited".
The EESC's opinion criticises the Commission's proposal for lacking a social dimension, since evolving business services and models will lead to profound changes in the labour market. The EESC believes that there will be many potential risks and challenges, particularly in the field of security, work organisation and social security, and that the social dimension, with all its implications for employment, should form the fourth pillar of the European Digital Single Market Strategy.
On Monday 14 December, the European Economic and Social Committee, partnering with the United Nations, hosted a screening of the film "El desorden de los sentidos" (Disorder of the senses), featuring two young cyclists from Spain with disabilities, Gerardo and Antonio (represented by his father Javier Luque). The special screening was opened by George Dassis, President of the EESC.
The signing of the first ever global climate change agreement is a historic moment. It represents an important milestone in the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
This agreement would not have been possible without the unprecedented mobilisation of civil society, towns, cities and territories, a mobilisation in which the EESC participated extensively.
Whilst the agreement only partially meets our expectations, it includes a number of significant steps forward in terms of ambitions, revision mechanisms and funding.
This is a historic moment and so too are our responsibilities. Now is the moment that the future will be determined, by implementing the agreement, honouring the commitments made and transitioning towards fairer economies.
The EESC wishes to participate fully in this joint endeavour which is crucial for the future both of the planet and of humanity.
A compulsory Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) for all companies – both transnational and at a later stage also national –, taxing profits where they are generated, and sanctions for companies operating in tax havens: these are among the measures advocated by the European Economic and Social Committee to stop aggressive tax planning in the EU. Aggressive tax planning schemes, which exploit the wide discrepancies between EU Member States' taxation systems, allow big transnational companies to avoid paying their fair share to the Member States in which they operate and cost Member States' treasuries hundreds of billions of euros in losses every year.
At its plenary session of 9 and 10 December 2015 (meeting of 10 December), the European Economic and Social Committee adopted this resolution by 174 to 8 with 9 abstentions.
Here before our assembly, I wish to express my unequivocal indignation at the brutal, cowardly attacks perpetrated in Paris.
I pay solemn tribute to the victims of this odious act of barbarism and pledge full solidarity with the families and loved ones of the victims, the people of France and the institutions of the French Republic.
20 years after the pledge of Barcelona was taken to promote the peace, stability and security of the region, it is time for the states from the Euro-Mediterranean region to put this pledge into practice. The participants to the yearly Euromed summit of economic and social councils and similar institutions, organised by the EESC in Brussels adopted a common declaration ...