Opinions from the REX section - page 1

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  • 14 Sep 2016
    The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP Ongoing References: REX/464 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Mr Philippe de Buck (Employers - GR I / Belgium) Co-rapporteur: Ms Tanja Buzek (Workers - GR II / Germany)

    The EESC has played an important role in strengthening an informed civil society debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) through a number of TTIP-related opinions, adopted in 2014 and 2015, covering issues such as labour rights, investment protection, impact on SMEs, among others.

    It is important under the present circumstances that the EESC, in order to maintain its position as a key civil society player in the TTIP debate, react to the textual proposals for TTIP negotiations on essential topics such as the sustainable development chapter, regulatory cooperation, investment and services. This will have the advantage not only of setting up the EESC position on major negotiating chapters but also of presenting concrete recommendations and pointing out the need to involve civil society in the implementation of those chapters.

    The opinion would serve primarily as the EESC contribution to the discussions on the main topics of interest in the TTIP negotiations. Additionally, a balanced and in-depth opinion from the EESC would contribute to fostering a more informed debate on key TTIP issues.

  • 25 Jul 2016
    Forced Displacement and Development: "Lives in Dignity: from Aid-Dependence to Self-Reliance" Ongoing References: REX/469 Referral Rapporteur: Michael McLoughlin (Various interests - GR III / Ireland)

    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has recognised forced displacement (namely, when people are forced away from their home, becoming refugees or internally displaced persons) not only as a humanitarian issue, but also as a economic and political challenge that threatens to reverse much of the development progress made in recent decades, therefore a greater involvement of all development stakeholders already from the outset of a crisis is needed.

  • 14 Jul 2016
    Imports of certain products originating in the United States of America (cat. C) Ongoing References: REX/471 Referral -

    On 12 June 2014, the Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council codifying Council Regulation (EC) No 673/2005 of 25 April 2005 establishing additional customs duties on imports of certain products originating in the United States of America. In its opinion of 17 September 2014 the Consultative Working Party of the legal services has stated that the proposal referred to in point 1 does indeed confine itself to straightforward codification, without any substantive changes to the acts covered by it. On 17 July 2015, the Commission presented an amended proposal for the codification of Regulation (EC) No 673/2005, following subsequent amendments to it. In its further opinion of 17 December 2015 the Consultative Working Party of the legal services has stated that that amended proposal does indeed confine itself to straightforward codification, without any substantive changes to the acts covered by it. Having regard to the amendments adopted in respect of Regulation (EC) No 673/2005 and in view of the work already carried out in the course of the legislative procedure, the Commission has decided to present – in accordance with Article 293(2) of the TFEU – another amended proposal for codification of the Regulation in question.

    Related Documents

    EESC opinion: Imports of certain products originating in the United States of America (cat. C)

    Related Sections

    REX Section

    Related Sub Themes

    Customs, The USA
  • 10 Jun 2016
    Enhancement of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations and the modernisation of the Customs Union Ongoing References: REX/468 Referral Rapporteur: Dimitris Dimitriadis (Employers - GR I / Greece)

    An Association Agreement was signed between the EEC and Turkey in 1963 (the Ankara Agreement), whereby the parties agreed to create a Customs Union (CU). The final phase of the CU was established on 1 January 1996 through the EU-Turkey Association Council Decision 1/95, currently in application. After 20 years, the framework of bilateral trade relations has become outdated: it is limited to industrial and certain processed agricultural products, with complementary alignment on some economic legislation and ad hoc preferential concessions on certain agricultural products.

    With important free trade agreements of the EU with third countries and notably EU-US TTIP negotiations featuring highly on the trade agenda, the modernisation of the CU and, more importantly, the enhancement of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations can be a tool for Turkey to underpin its economic reforms, improve its competitiveness and have a better standing to be able to integrate later challenging trade deals such as TTIP. A number of ad hoc assessments have been carried out on the CU, mostly pointing at the economic benefits of the agreement. Moreover, an evaluation carried out by the World Bank was published in April 2014.

    In May 2015 the EU Trade Commissioner and the Turkish Economy Minister jointly launched the process of preparing the upgrade of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade and economic relations. The process consists of the enhancement of the trade relations in areas such as trade in services and public procurement, the further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, and the modernisation of the Customs Union. The EESC has been asked by the European Commission to produce an opinion, as part of the ongoing consultation on the Enhancement of EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations and modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union.

  • 9 Jun 2016
    Opinion on Arctic Policy Ongoing References: REX/470 Referral Rapporteur: Mr Stéphane Buffetaut (Employers - GR I / France)

    This document sets out a policy proposal, which will guide the actions of the European Union in the Arctic region in the future. It follows up the request in 2014 of the Council and European Parliament to the Commission and the High Representative to develop an integrated and more coherent framework for EU action and funding programmes in the Arctic by reviewing the EU's contribution to the Arctic since 2008 (when the Commission adopted its first Communication specifically on the Arctic).

     

    The Arctic covers the Central Arctic Ocean, its regional seas such as the Barents, Kara and Chukchi seas, as well as the territories of Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the USA. Three EU member states are thus also Arctic states, with Iceland and Norway being members of the European Economic area.

     

    The Joint Communication takes into account the existing EU legislation, including the commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as ongoing and forthcoming EU activities and projects. It also builds on and complements the Arctic policies of the EU Member states.

     

    The communication foresees that the European Union will step up its existing action and engagement in the region with 39 actions focussing on climate change, environmental protection, sustainable development and international cooperation. Across these priority areas, particular importance is given to research, science and innovation.

     

    The Joint Communication identifies the following priority areas:

    • Climate change and safeguarding the Arctic environment: climate mitigation and adaptation strategies are of utmost importance, considering that the Arctic ice cover is melting and permafrost is thawing at faster rates than foreseen a decade ago. Furthermore, fundamental to a better understanding of the developments in the region is Arctic research. The EU should also continue its engagement and encourage full respect of multilateral environmental agreements like United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
    • Promoting sustainable development in the region: the EU should support the deployment of innovative technologies in the Arctic, which have the potential of bringing broad social and economic benefits to the region and beyond. Recognizing that the European Arctic is suffering from underinvestment, the Commission will set up a European Arctic stakeholder forum with the aim of enhancing collaboration and coordination between different EU funding programmes. Space technology and safe and secure maritime activities will be given more attention as well.
    • Supporting international cooperation on Arctic issues: the joint communication stresses the importance of science, which can be used as a catalyst to support a common understanding, allowing to reach jointly agreed solutions and to foster peaceful cooperation. The EU will continue its active participation in the Arctic Council, which is the primary forum for international cooperation in the region, as well as it will continue to support regional, sub-regional and bilateral cooperation. The engagement with Arctic indigenious peoples and local communities should be further strengthened. With regard to fisheries management, appropriate international framework needs to be established to ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of resources in the Arctic high seas.
  • 25 May 2016
    Future of the EU's relations with the ACP Group of countries (Green Paper) Adopted References: REX/455 Referral Rapporteur: Ms Brenda King (Employers - GR I / United Kingdom) Plenary Session: 517 - 25 May 2016 - 26 May 2016

    The EESC recommends that the EU should aim to achieve a modern, equal and effective partnership with the ACP countries that transcends a donor-recipient relationship and is based on a coherent and integrated EU external policy, based on the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). This framework should guarantee the involvement of civil society organisations, including the private sector, whose specific task should be to monitor and assess the impact of the implementation of this Agreement on the sustainable development of the Parties. Civil society should be provided with the technical and financial support needed to undertake this role.

    The EESC recommends that all forms of development support that the EU gives to third countries should fall under the same legal framework and should be subject to the same democratic scrutiny by the European Parliament, while retaining the same positive aspects of the EDF.

    The EESC supports CSO involvement from conception, inception through to monitoring, and implementation and ex-post review of EU-ACP policy domains. Through a holistic process of structured dialogue and regular consultation with CSOs, the partnership will deliver on the spirit of CPA to fully include NSAs as outlined in Article 6 of CPA.

    Future partnership must embody the "partnership of equals", underscored in the new framework, which recognises the universality of challenges across EU and ACP countries: income inequality, youth unemployment, climate change and more. In joint cooperation and as equals, EU and ACP partners can strive to solve development challenges in both the EU and ACP states.

    Related Documents

    EESC opinion: Future of the EU's relations with the ACP Group of countries

    Related Sections

    REX Section

    Related Sub Themes

    Africa, Caribbean and Pacific

    Related Categories

    Consumers and Environment

    Related Events

    Future of EU's relations with ACP Group of countries - public hearing, Plenary session 25-26 May 2016, EU-Africa Network of economic and social stakeholders
  • 19 May 2016
    Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy Adopted References: REX/458 Rapporteur: Andrzej Adamczyk (Workers - GR II / Poland) Co-rapporteur: Gintaras Morkis (Employers - GR I / Lithuania)

    Main points of REX/458 Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy opinion:

    • The EESC welcomes the European External Action Service and the European Commission's Joint Communication on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
    • With regard to the new priority of stabilisation and the new approach of differentiation, as set out in the Communication, the EESC would like to stress the importance of economic development as the main  precondition for a stable and safe environment in the EU’s neighbourhood. The EU should be very consistent in providing economic support for the ENP partners and enhancing long-term conditions and motivation to pursue economic reforms, increase competitiveness and modernise business regulations.
    • The EESC stresses that, even if not all the economic criteria can be met, the EU must not compromise on the matter of fundamental European values, including social dimension, respect for universal human rights, democracy and rule of law, and regrets that the principle of respect for the ILO labour standards is not mentioned in the communication as a cornerstone of sound industrial relations.
    • The Committee is of the view that there is not enough emphasis on the role of organised civil society and autonomous social and civil dialogue in the new policy document. The objectives of the ENP, including stabilisation, will never be met without substantial involvement of independent organisations of civil society. We must never forget that the European integration is, above all, a peace project, and civil society is vitally interested in its success.

     

    Related Documents

    Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy

    Related Events

    Plenary session 25-26 May 2016
  • 19 May 2016
    Decent work in global supply chains Adopted References: REX/462 EESC-2016 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ms Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs (Employers - GR I / France)

    The EU acknowledges the increasing importance of including the EU and partner countries' companies in the GSCs. It is also emphasised that the current interdependence of the economies may further increase due to the recently negotiated and implemented EU trade and investment agreements, as well as negotiations at the WTO. Therefore, a better understanding of GSCs operation, and their impact on the economy and labour market should help to better harness their potential and to mitigate possible negative impacts. Against this background, the issue of decent work in GSCs, such as textile-clothing and footwear, electronics, minerals, and agro-industries, becomes a critical issue for all public and private actors involved in supply chain management at the national and international levels.

     

    The EESC recommends in this context that the European Commission adopts a comprehensive and ambitious strategy in order to promote with all its internal (access to EU public procurement, labelling etc.), and external policies (trade, development, neighbourhood policy etc.) the decent work in GSCs.

     

    The EESC also recommends cooperation between international organisations and other relevant stakeholders. This would include adopting a common language and common definitions of elements related to global value chains, GSCs and decent work, and comparison and assessment of the statistical data between the various stakeholders, such as the OECD, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), WTO, the European Commission, the World Bank and IFM. This should help avoid confusion and misinterpretation, and support elaboration of a coherent policy between diverse public bodies involved.

     

    The EESC stresses the need to recognise and to promote the available best practices and initiatives related to decent work in GSCs. This includes e.g. the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, OECD sectorial due diligence guidance (in areas, such as textile and garment, minerals, agriculture and finances), trade aid, financial schemes to compensate damages, codes of conduct, labels, standards and self-assessment tools. The aim would be to put gradually in place a consistent and sustainable policy in the responsible management of GSCs.

     

    Equally important would be the promotion of practical and suitable, risk-based approaches that will take into account the specific nature of the global value chain and the GSC. Based on assessment of the existing practices, promoted should be multi-stakeholders’ engagement, involving public and private actors, social partners, NGOs, experts etc., in order to develop the best portfolio of actions inspired by the OECD Guidelines to identify risks, to prevent and to mitigate them, to communicate and to report on the action plans. The measures involved in the action plans could include both, legislative and non-legislative measures, best practices, financial incentives, access to training, and capacity building for social dialogue and the trade unions.

     

    There is also a need to push for a specific reflection on the kind of transparency tools that could be put in place in order to inform the final consumers about the social conditions of production.

     

    The EESC recommends as well that the International Labour Conference (the ILO supreme decision making body) at its upcoming meeting in June considers the possibilities for the ILO to play an active role in securing decent work along the GSCs, including exploring the development and future adoption of any relevant and suitable instruments, that with the commitment of all the stakeholders will contribute to an effective improvement of working conditions.

    Related Documents

    EESC opinion: Decent work in global supply chains

    Related Sections

    REX Section

    Related Themes

    External Relations - Enlargement/EUNeighbours, External Relations - the rest of the world

    Related Sub Themes

    International Trade, Corporate Social Responsibility

    Related Events

    Plenary session 25-26 May 2016
  • 28 Apr 2016
    The external dimension of the EU's energy policy Adopted References: REX/459 EESC-2016-83 Exploratory Opinion Rapporteur: Mr Vitas MACIULIS (Various interests - GR III / Lithuania) Plenary Session: 516 - 27 Apr 2016 - 28 Apr 2016

    The EESC already produced an opinion on the same topic in January 2009 (see 'Related EESC Opinions'), but the geo-political developments over the past 7 years (Arab spring, increased tensions with Russia over the Eastern Partnership, crises in the Middle East, fluctuating oil prices) and other economic and technical factors (level of oil prices, new LNG terminals, debate around fracking, etc.) suggest a revision of this opinion.

     

    Related Documents

    The external dimension of the EU's energy policy

    Related Sections

    REX Section

    Related Themes

    External Relations - Enlargement/EUNeighbours, External Relations - the rest of the world

    Related Events

    External dimension of the EU's energy policy
  • 28 Apr 2016
    EESC opinion: The new EU strategy on foreign and security policy Adopted References: REX/463-REX/463 Own-initiative Rapporteur: José María Zufiaur Narvaiza (Workers - GR II / Spain) Plenary Session: 516 - 27 Apr 2016 - 28 Apr 2016

    With this Opinion, the EESC wishes to weigh in on the new EU Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which is expected to be presented to the Council before the summer. The rapporteur argues that internal and external policy are intertwined and both require better coordination of policies, objectives and resources. Social exclusion today is a key factor in crises, and the EU must be a defender of equality and a promoter of freedom, security and prosperity.

    The Opinion goes on to address the wide range and crucial nature of topics that the new strategy will cover, such as resource allocation to foreign and defense policy, the EU's role as a constructive and regulatory power, the refugee crisis, development cooperation, or trade.

    Finally, the rapporteur calls on an increased participation of civil society in the EU's foreign policy, proposing the establishment of a formal cooperation between the EESC and the EEAS, an annual foreign a security policy audition with the High Representative, and carrying out an evaluation report on the participation of civil society in the EU's external policy.

    Related Documents

    EESC section opinion: The new EU strategy on foreign and security policy

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    REX Section

    Related Themes

    External Relations - Enlargement/EUNeighbours, External Relations - the rest of the world

Results 1 to 10 out of 133.