Transition to a circular economy is a must if we are to protect our planet, but also if we are to increase the competitiveness of European industry. This is a long-term process that will require numerous initiatives at European, national and regional level. Companies see the circular economy as an opportunity. "Going green" is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for businesses, providing real savings in terms of raw materials, water and energy. The participants of the conference entitled "Sustainable industry in the Context of Circular Economy" tried to identify major opportunities and challenges emerging from circular economy. This publication summarised the outcome of this discussion which took place on 13 September in Kosice, Slovakia.
The Observatory is carrying out a study on the implementation of EU policies for youth employment in a selection of six Member States: Austria, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Italy and Slovakia, seen from a civil society perspective.
Undeclared work in Europe undermines the European ideals of the rule of law, security, solidarity, social and fiscal justice, free market competition and the free movement of workers. Therefore, the setting up of a European Platform to combat irregular employment must be welcomed. The elimination of undeclared work in Europe would be a great achievement.
"Member States cannot face the challenges brought by immigration alone. There is a need for a greater solidarity to ensure that no Member State is facing a disproportionate amount of pressure due to its geographical situation. A common policy on immigration and integration is needed to benefit from migratory fluxes."
Panagiotis Gkofas, rapporteur on 'European immigration policy and relations with third countries'
"Europe must manage its immigration policy in collaboration with third countries. European external borders are common borders. Solidarity must be strengthened to welcome new refugees and protect the human rights of immigrants."
Luis Miguel Pariza Castanos, co-rapporteur on 'European immigration policy and relations with third countries'
"EMU, which is substantially more than what is being discussed on the table now, is indispensable to re-create confidence in the European project. Only its completion and full implementation will encourage investments and boost growth and jobs."
Joost van Iersel, co-rapporteur on ‘Completing EMU – The next European legislature’
"The existing EMU is an anachronistic legal and economic system, that has shown itself to be totally ineffective in the face of the crisis. So we are proposing that within the next five years, the missing pillars should be put in place... This is a real challenge for all of us as Europeans. Will politicians be capable of meeting it?”
Carmelo Cedrone, co-rapporteur on ‘Completing EMU – The next European legislature’
Although the role of SMEs in the EU economy is crucial and their well-being should be a priority for European policy-makers, they struggle with access to finance especially in the countries severely hit by the crisis. The Greek experience might and should be taken as a case study and lead to conclusions on how to improve the system for the future.
The present study was conducted from May to October 2013, commissioned by the European Economic and Social Committee (“EESC”) and carried out by the European Centre for Liberal Professions, University of Cologne (“ECLP”).
The European Economic and Social Committee is staking its claim to be a committed partner for the Italian presidency of the European Union, thus giving a voice to civil society organisations throughout the next six-month period. It has been asked by the presidency to carry out a mid-term evaluation of the Europe 2020 strategy, which it will present at a high-level conference in Rome in December 2014. This partnership will form a strategic platform for promoting the role of citizens as a driving force for change in Europe…
The 2014 edition of the Your Europe, Your Say event by the European Economic and Social Committee brought groups of 16 and 17 year-olds from all 28 Member States to Brussels. Their main objective was to set five priorities for what Europe should do to become a better place and be more relevant to its citizens.
Throughout a substantial number of opinions, the Strasbourg event, and the Social Entrepreneurship project, the EESC is actively involved in the Social Entrepreneurship field. As a result of this project currently undertaken by the EESC, policy directions and concrete actions will be forwarded to the new Commission and Parliament at the fall of 2014.
At its 498th plenary session, the EESC adopted its "Action Plan for Europe" (142 votes in favour, 96 against and 12 abstentions). The tangible steps and proposals contained in the action plan are based on three pillars which address the shortcomings of the European Union as it currently operates: an economic Union, a social Union, and a democratic and civic Union.