This EESC opinion will respond to the European Commission's proposal for a regulation on establishing a European Climate Law and it will look into the role of citizens in driving the transformation towards climate neutrality.
This opinion deals with three of four megatrends at the heart of the new Commission priorities: climate change, biodiversity loss and globalisation. While the European Green Deal will result in higher environmental standards with, for instance, stricter climate change targets, it is important that all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are not undermining these improvements by contributing to deforestation or biodiversity loss in other countries. As one of the world's largest importer of energy, agricultural goods and raw materials, the EU has contributed to deforestation and biodiversity loss in other countries.
The opinion will provide guidance on how to build on existing structures like citizens' dialogues and assemblies, social dialogue committees in order to structure and mainstream the dialogue with civil society. It will also make recommendations about how to encourage information sharing and public understanding of climate action; how to create real and virtual spaces for exchange on climate and how to build capacity to facilitate grassroots initiatives, among others.
In its White Paper on AI the Commission makes proposals to promote the development of AI in Europe while guaranteeing respect of fundamental rights. AI is growing fast, which is why Europe must maintain and increase its level of investment. At the same time, AI presents potential risks that need to be addressed. The White Paper identifies options for maximizing the benefits of AI and solving the problems it poses, and invites stakeholders to comment on these options.
Digital technologies are profoundly changing our daily life. If used with purpose, they will benefit citizens and businesses in many ways. Over the next five years, the Commission will focus on three key objectives in digital: technology that works for people, a fair and competitive economy and an open, democratic and sustainable society.
The Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan focuses on sustainable products, less waste, product value chains, and circularity in regions and cities, and the global level.
Europe is embarking on a transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. European industry can lead the way as we enter this new age, as it has done in the past.
Three drivers will transform our industry, support our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and keep Europe sustainable and competitive.
The partial paradigm shift inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has already impacted economies, businesses and consumers. The time has come to scale up, using the common sustainable practices already being implemented as a basis for taking these sustainable practices to the next level.