Opinions from the REX section - page 1

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  • 19 May 2016
    Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy Ongoing References: REX/458 Rapporteur: Andrzej Adamczyk (Workers - GR II / Poland) Co-rapporteur: Gintaras Morkis (Employers - GR I / Lithuania)
  • 19 May 2016
    Future of the EU's relations with the ACP Group of countries and a successor to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (Green Paper) Ongoing 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 and a successor to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement

  • 19 May 2016
    Decent work in global supply chains Ongoing 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 the operation of GSCs and their impact on the economy and labour market should help to better harness their potential and 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 chains management at the national and international levels.

     

    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) recommends in this context 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: the OECD, the ILO, the 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 promote the available best practices and initiatives related to decent work in GSCs. This includes 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 gradually put 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 an assessment of the existing practices, multi-stakeholders’ engagement should be promoted, 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.

     

    The EESC also recommends 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.

     

    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.

    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

  • 21 Jan 2016
    The 2030 Agenda - European Union committed to sustainable development goals globally Ongoing References: REX/461 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ioannis Vardakastanis (Various interests - GR III / Greece)

    The 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet and prosperity. It sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets in order to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. The targets seek to ensure everyone's human rights and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible, and they balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. They are also to be implemented according to the principle of "leaving no-one behind".

     

    The own-initiative opinion will approach the 2030 Agenda by focusing on how the EU could contribute by using its external action instruments that are linked to funding; on the EU's contribution to defining indicators; on coordination mechanisms and the involvement of civil society; and on the implications for the EU of implementing the principle of "leaving no-one behind".

  • 19 Jan 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.

    Related Documents

    The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP

Results 1 to 10 out of 129.

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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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