Europe is going through a green and digital transformation and the European institutions are committed to ensuring that people remain centre-stage and that the economy works for them.
No Green Deal without a Social Deal - Related Opinions
This opinion is being prepared at a time where the shift to a low-carbon economy is more urgent than ever and where new "green" occupations emerge and existing jobs need to be "greened". This implies needs for new skill sets, which necessitate updated curricula or even new qualifications across education and training levels. These new "green skills" can range from very technical and job-specific skills to "softer" skills such as responsible use of resources, which can be relevant across occupations, levels of hierarchy and sectors. While the "greening" of the economy creates skill needs, particularly in specific sectors such as energy and resource efficiency, construction and manufacturing, moving towards a circular economy creates "green" skill needs across the board.
The European Commission has put the social economy at the top of the agenda for 2020. The aim of the opinion is to emphasise the importance of the common good as a key European value, including in the area of economic activity, and to highlight the high level of innovation of social economy enterprises committed to the common good, with a focus on the provision of social services.
The EESC supports the proposals that enhance the international competitiveness of SMEs, reduce cost, harmonise and simplify processes for registration, filing of company changes and conversions. It believes that guidance by the Commission to the Member States on transposition of the directives is useful.
The EESC is convinced that "good" and thus "sustainable" business management must be built on the legal structures and practices of employee involvement based on information, consultation and, where applicable, co-determination. The "sustainable company" as a business management concept entails that the "voice" of employees is respected in business decisions and a "fair relationship" between employees, management and owners. A set of tools already exists for the obligatory involvement of employee representatives at national and European level. These provisions should be consolidated and applied generally in EU law, and in particular definitions of information, consultation and participation should be standardised. A new stage in this debate is marked by the European Parliament's resolution of 15 January 2013 on minimum standards for restructuring.