Civil society has played a vital role in contributing to a more humane migration crisis management. Without the response of various NGOs, charities and individuals, the tragic humanitarian situation which has unfolded in many European countries could have been much worse. The EESC position on migration …
Road transport is a crucial part of the European Union's single market and of its economy as a whole. At the same time, it is a vital economic sector in its own right, employing about 5 million people across the EU, generating close to 2% of EU GDP, and directly impacting on the quality of life of millions of European citizens. The EU road transport sector has developed significantly over the years, benefiting trade, the economy and freedom of movement. However, the success has had dark sides too and the sector today faces considerable challenges.
In 2011 the European Commission adopted the White Paper Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system in the context of the Union's 2020 growth strategy.
The general objective of this Roadmap is to define a long-term strategy to make the European Union (EU) transport system more efficient, safe and secure.
The economic potential of the digital economy, as one of the sectors that can boost Europe’s growth rate and create jobs, is undeniable. Digital competition is improving companies, making them more productive and competitive in a future global market. At the same time, information and communication technologies (ICT) can lower costs for both private companies and governments, increase access to new markets and facilitate business start-ups. For consumers, a fully functioning digital market would mean enjoying more, better and cheaper services, with broader and more easily accessible opportunities.
Switching from a linear (take-make-use-throw away) economy to an eco-design focused circular (make-use-reuse-remanufacturerepair) economy in which nothing is wasted is a critical challenge for Europe. It makes the economy more sustainable and reduces the environmental footprint through better resource management and reduced extraction and pollution; it also enables businesses to gain a competitive edge thanks to better management of raw materials, while making the economy less dependent on imported – potentially critical and rare – materials. Investment and innovation in green tech also provides new economic opportunities and markets for European businesses, especially SMEs, and can lead to the creation of green growth and jobs at the local, regional and trans-national level.
The EESC strongly believe that ensuring food security is not just about producing more food. Supplying diverse, nutritious and good quality foods, supporting smallholder farmers, sustaining soil and water resources and reducing food waste are objectives that should also be pursued.
The EESC aims to promote civil society's role in food security, for example through its opinions, its cooperation with the FAO, participating as observer in the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) or through UN International Year events.
The new United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted on the UN world summit on 25 – 27 September, sets out an unprecedented broad action plan for people, planet and prosperity. An ambitious strategy and the installation of effective governance mechanisms will be key for a proper implementation of the SDGs in Europe.
To remain competitive in a globalised economy, the European Union needs a coherent and comprehensive EU Aviation Strategy. In the view of the EESC, the starting point for such a strategy should be the fact that the economies of numerous countries outside the EU have grown, which has promoted aviation as a facilitator of such growth. An EU-wide aviation strategy should therefore be based upon three pillars.
Since its adoption in May 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been ratified by 195 countries. These states meet once a year at the Conference of Parties (COP), also known as the UN climate summits. After over two decades of negotiations however – during which global emissions have increased by almost 50% – there is growing consensus that tougher action is needed to cut emissions and cap global temperature increases accordingly.
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.