Transition to a circular economy is a must if we are to protect our planet, but also if we are to increase the competitiveness of European industry. This is a long-term process that will require numerous initiatives at European, national and regional level. Companies see the circular economy as an opportunity. "Going green" is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for businesses, providing real savings in terms of raw materials, water and energy.
Road transport is a crucial part of the European Union's single market and of its economy as a whole. At the same time, it is a vital economic sector in its own right, employing about 5 million people across the EU, generating close to 2% of EU GDP, and directly impacting on the quality of life of millions of European citizens. The EU road transport sector has developed significantly over the years, benefiting trade, the economy and freedom of movement. However, the success has had dark sides too and the sector today faces considerable challenges.
In 2011 the European Commission adopted the White Paper Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system in the context of the Union's 2020 growth strategy.
The general objective of this Roadmap is to define a long-term strategy to make the European Union (EU) transport system more efficient, safe and secure.
The economic potential of the digital economy, as one of the sectors that can boost Europe’s growth rate and create jobs, is undeniable. Digital competition is improving companies, making them more productive and competitive in a future global market. At the same time, information and communication technologies (ICT) can lower costs for both private companies and governments, increase access to new markets and facilitate business start-ups.
Switching from a linear (take-make-use-throw away) economy to an eco-design focused circular (make-use-reuse-remanufacturerepair) economy in which nothing is wasted is a critical challenge for Europe. It makes the economy more sustainable and reduces the environmental footprint through better resource management and reduced extraction and pollution; it also enables businesses to gain a competitive edge thanks to better management of raw materials, while making the economy less dependent on imported – potentially critical and rare – materials.
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.
This document is a summary of the two-day seminar organised on 26 and 27 October 2015 by the Employers' Group and its partners: Coldiretti, Confindustria, Confcommercion and AICE (Italian Association of Foreign Trade). The first day of discussion was devoted to the role of international trade in the Reindustrialisation of Europe. On the second day, the participants focused on food manufacturing, innovation and the circular economy.
The EESC strongly believe that ensuring food security is not just about producing more food. Supplying diverse, nutritious and good quality foods, supporting smallholder farmers, sustaining soil and water resources and reducing food waste are objectives that should also be pursued.
The EESC aims to promote civil society's role in food security, for example through its opinions, its cooperation with the FAO, participating as observer in the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) or through UN International Year events.
The new United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted on the UN world summit on 25 – 27 September, sets out an unprecedented broad action plan for people, planet and prosperity. An ambitious strategy and the installation of effective governance mechanisms will be key for a proper implementation of the SDGs in Europe.
To remain competitive in a globalised economy, the European Union needs a coherent and comprehensive EU Aviation Strategy. In the view of the EESC, the starting point for such a strategy should be the fact that the economies of numerous countries outside the EU have grown, which has promoted aviation as a facilitator of such growth. An EU-wide aviation strategy should therefore be based upon three pillars.