The EESC and the European Commission agree that successful implementation of the EU Energy Union – together with achieving concrete results at the crucial Climate Agreement talks in Paris at the end of 2015 – will depend very much on putting in place a reliable and transparent governance system.
This will help to ensure that the EU meets its targets.
This study examines whether it would be appropriate to introduce a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) at European level. It begins by describing the features of GMI systems implemented in the Member States for individuals of working age who are fit for work as well as the challenges they encounter and current trends. The study then looks at the legal feasibility of a binding European instrument relating to GMI schemes. A careful analysis both of institutional initiatives (Commission, Council) and of Community legislation shows that Article 153(1)(h) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on the integration of persons excluded from the labour market, might provide a promising legal basis for future EU initiatives in this area. The financial cost of a revaluation of national GMIs has also been analysed in accordance with various scenarios, taking into account poverty lines and GMI take-up. This cost, estimated at the very least to be EUR 17.2 billion, should be borne by a European social solidarity fund either financed by the European Union or co-financed by the EU and the Member States. Alternative sources of financing are also put forward.
Economic and social councils, the institutionalised platforms for social and civic dialogue in the European Union and in most of its Member States, show a broad range of diversity – in set-up, composition and name. This patchwork of practices seems to stem from political, social and economic traditions in the various countries. Another source of variation is the opinion on who is considered a social partner and on how they should be represented in an institutionalised platform.
In this report 21 national social and economic councils have been examined. This concerns Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain.
In first instance, these national social and economic councils have been analysed on their mission and approach. Secondly, there has been an identification of the membership and representation in the different councils and the position of NGOs or representative groupings as a full member. At last, there has been an assessment of the role and implication of NGO in the programming of European Structural Funds on a national level.
The objective of this study is to facilitate food donation in the EU by providing a comparative overview of relevant legislation and practices in the Member States, mapping any hurdles they present to efficient food donation and identifying best practices.
The event will stimulate a debate on the impacts of climate change on employment and the ways in which climate change is being addressed from a labour perspective. It will highlight the increasingly important role of the social partners, workers and employers organizations, in the dialogue on climate policy, and address possibilities for strengthening the decent work dimension in the future climate agreement.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an advisory body of the European Union which represents Europe's organised civil society. The EESC has 353 members from the 28 Member States, divided into 3 groups representing employers, workers and other civil society stakeholders, in particular professional and community associations, youth organisations, women's groups, consumers and environmental campaigners.
Following the great success of the first edition of this innovative guide to the terminology of sustainable construction in the EU, the EESC together with its partner CEMBUREAU and European Architects' Council has improved and updated the publication and is now launching the 2nd edition, both as a practical printed spiral bound booklet and an online and mobile version.
In response to the need for more sustainable construction, new concepts, phrases, terms and expressions are being used in the construction industry across Europe. These concepts are aimed at improving the environmental, social and economic impact of the industry and its outputs. From Air Source Heat Pumps to Net Zero Carbon Buildings; from Whole Life Costing to Photovoltaic Electricity; from Recycled Resources to Passive House; it is important that the industry reaches a common understanding of these terms – to speak a common language for sustainable construction – in order to provide a base for harmonised development in the future.
Second Edition for this version only
How do Europeans go a-wooing? Probably in much the same way as everyone else, although obviously down the ages every country and culture has had – and still has – its own courtship manuals. Thus were born great myths, with the Mediterranean “type” raising the greatest expectations of all, in the guise of the Latin lover, the legendary Don Juan, or the beauty and bohemian spirit of the Spanish señora, not to mention the refinement of French ladies or the rather wild allure of some Balkan and eastern peoples, in contrast to the aplomb and elegance of English lovers and the cool nonchalance of Nordic women.
This publication is part of a series of catalogues published in the context of the exhibitions organized by the EESC.
This study provides a comparative overview of current legislation and practices concerning food donation in the EU Member States (MS) by mapping key hurdles preventing food donation, by identifying best practices in the field and by developing recommendations on how to legislate or interpret legislation in order to facilitate food donation. The study investigates five main legislative areas impacting food donation (product liability, food safety and hygiene, food durability and date marking, tax legislation, and the food waste hierarchy) in 12 Member States selected with balanced geographic representation across the EU (the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Denmark and Sweden). The study illustrates that Denmark, Spain and Sweden still impose VAT on food donation and that only France and Spain have corporate tax benefits in place to incentivise food donation. The study also shows that there is a general confusion with regards to the donation of foods exceeding their ‘best before’ dates and a general interest for legislation limiting liability for food donors (such as the Good Samaritan Law in Italy). The study recommends clarification around VAT liability on donated food and EU guidelines for assessing additional lifetime of products.
In 2013 the European Economic and Social Committee’s Permanent Study Group on the Transport White Paper commissioned IFOK with drawing up a study on civil society involvement in European transport policies and projects. The aim of the study is to identify existing good practices in the field and, building on their assessment, to develop possible approaches for the EESC by which it can contribute to more participatory decision-making. Additionally, the study identifies a possible process for the development of a set of guidelines on civil society’s and citizens’ involvement in European transport policy and projects.
The study draws both on research and interviews conducted specifically for it, and on IFOK’s wide-ranging expertise and long-standing experience in the design and implementation of tailored participative, deliberative and consultative processes. It is intended for policy and decision-makers, and civil society representatives, both within and beyond the EESC. As such it has been written from a user’s perspective, focussed on providing practical and actionable insights and expertise.
The four case studies spotlight some of the wealth of different methods available for involving citizens and civil society in transport projects and policies. Importantly, they highlight eight lessons learned. Most notable amongst them is the value of an early and substantive involvement of all relevant stakeholders, the centrality of transparency and active communication about the process and its outcomes, and the essentiality of ensuring the process has an impact.
In the toolbox of approaches for effective participatory decision-making, five tailored possible approaches for the involvement of citizens and civil society have been developed for the EESC. The range from low-hanging fruits – easy and quick wins for greater civil society involvement in the EESC’s work – to more ambitious processes, or ones specifically tailored for certain policy fields. All highlight the central role of the EESC in bringing in civil society’s voice into European policy and decision-making, and show how this can be done in an even more collaborative manner.
The concept put forward for the development of a set of guidelines for civil society and citizen involvement in European transport policies and projects makes use of the learning and expertise captured in the study. It highlights how the benefits of deliberation and participation can be captured by the EESC as it works to establish a more cooperative decision-making in Europe.