Opinions from the REX section - page 1

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Results 1 to 10 out of 131.

  • 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)
  • 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)

    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

    Information memo: Future of the EU's relations with the ACP Group of countries

  • 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

  • 19 May 2016
    Decent work in global supply chains Adopted References: REX/462 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

    Decent work in global supply chains

  • 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

  • 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

  • 27 Apr 2016
    Access of third country goods and services to the European Union's internal market in public procurement Adopted References: REX/465 Referral Rapporteur: Mr Mario Soares (Workers - GR II / Portugal)

    The proposal on an International Procurement Instrument (IPI) is the EU response to the lack of a level playing field in world procurement markets. While our public procurement market is open to foreign bidders, the procurement markets for foreign goods and services in third countries remain to a large extent closed de iure or de facto. The IPI aims at encouraging partners to engage in negotiations and opening participation for EU bidders and goods in third countries' tenders. A first proposal on this issue was made in 2012 (COM(2012) 124 final) but there was no agreement in the Council. The new Commission proposal incorporates some of the changes requested from the European Parliament and tries to reply to some of the concerns expressed in the Council. A number of Member States have expressed reservations as regards the principle of closing the EU market for goods and services originating in certain third countries, even if only temporarily and in a targeted way. Several Member States also underlined concerns regarding the administrative burden imposed by the proposal on contracting authorities and on businesses.

    Related Documents

    Access of third country goods and services to the European Union's internal market in public procurement

  • 26 Apr 2016
    Cooperation with third countries in promoting regular migration to the EU Ongoing References: REX/460 Rapporteur: Dimitris Dimitriadis (Employers - GR I / Greece) Co-rapporteur: Jean-Marc Roirant (Various interests - GR III / France)

    This report follows the conclusion of the recent Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions on cooperation with third countries in promoting regular migration to the EU and will be presented at the 2016 Euromed Summit. Cooperation with countries of origin and international bodies to increase transit possibilities for regular migrants to the EU is the most effective way of combating the illicit trafficking of people and meeting the need for workers in EU countries. The aim of the information report is to define the pillars that can facilitate cooperation on regular migration and ascertain what experience has been gained from labour migration agreements with countries of origin and from the ways in which the Member States manage recruitment abroad.

  • 15 Apr 2016
    Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy Adopted References: REX/449 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Mr Jonathan Peel (Employers - GR I / United Kingdom)

    The European Commission review of EU trade strategy is timely in the first year of a new Commission.


    The intense public interest that has been aroused by the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US demonstrates that trade is no longer an esoteric matter nor the concern of those few who are sufficiently involved to master the finer, highly technical detail that trade involves. It is now a popular issue and part of the public agenda, but because of its technicalities it is also open to wide misunderstanding.

    Related Documents

    Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy

Results 1 to 10 out of 131.

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  • Published In: 2016
    6 pages
    Employers’ Group of the EESC Political Priorities 2016-2018 What business believes in!

    The publication elaborates on the Employers' Group priorities for 2016-18, which include a stronger culture of entrepreneurship, a full completion of the Internal Market, an efficient and forward-looking industrial policy, competitiveness for more employment and a strong role of Europe in the world. These are the principles that the Group will champion during the 2016-2018 period in order to promote a more dynamic and competitive future for a EU that generates growth, jobs and new investments.

  • Published In: 2015
    8 pages
    The Eastern Partnership - we mean business

    The European Economic and Social Committee has been an ardent supporter of the Eastern Partnership from the very outset and the EESC's Employers' Group has continually emphasised the need to strengthen the partnership's economic dimension. An appropriate tool was needed to enable the representatives of employers, entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises from the EU and its partner countries to meet and openly assess the process of convergence with the European acquis and its impact on the economic situation. This publication gathers the contributions from the organisers and strategic partners of the 3rd Eastern Partnership Business Forum, that took place in May 2015 in Riga, Latvia.

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