Carbon prices are now pivotal in the fight against climate change, as they are acknowledged to be a key economic and financial tool for weaning economies off carbon.
Set directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly, carbon prices play a very different role in the EU Member States' climate policies, albeit chiefly through taxes which primarily affect jobs and the purchasing power of the least well-off households. These policies have a deflationary effect on economic growth and are at the root of the rise in social inequality in many European countries, which is why the policies urge compensation mechanisms to mitigate this effect. However, looking for new sources of revenue and jobs would seem to be the most appropriate response - although taxes cannot be excluded – to kick start fair, equitable, low-carbon growth in Europe.
Completion of the Single Market is one element necessary for the European venture to succeed. The EESC has a key role to play here, for the good of both consumers and business. To this end, the EESC set up a Single Market Observatory (SMO) in 1994, with the support of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. The SMO is made up of 33 members representing European civil society organisations. Its aim is to monitor how the Single Market operates in practice, identify where the problems are and help legislators remedy existing shortcomings.