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.
Reflection Paper 'Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030' - Related Opinions
This opinion will look into the possibilities to engage with young people in a formal way at institutional level and provide the building blocks for a new structured approach to youth engagement at EU level.
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.
The upcoming German EU Council Presidency has requested an EESC opinion on "Digitalisation and Sustainability – status quo and need for action in civil society perspective".
The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has decided to place special emphasis on the topic of digitalisation and sustainability during Germany’s upcoming European Council Presidency in the second half of 2020. The current crisis with increasing demand for teleworking, virtual conferences and digital services highlights the need for sustainable digitalisation even more.
The EESC opinion will establish the status quo and explore the need for action from a civil society perspective to help identify options for action at European level.
Informationsnote: Digitalisation and Sustainability – status quo and need for action in civil society perspective (Exploratory opinion at the request of the German presidency)
This additional opinion will complement and update the proposals made in the original 2020 Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS) opinion, adopted in February this year, produced under time pressure and before the COVID-19 outbreak so it could not take into account recent developments.
The Semester exercise will be geared towards exiting the current crisis and the opinion is necessary for the EESC to make related proposals. The additional opinion will be presented for the October 2020 Plenary, to provide a timely input to the Commission's preparation of the next ASGS expected again for November 2020. It will therefore target directly the next European Semester cycle at the right political and institutional moment.
Informationsnote: The Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2020 (additional opinion)
The unprecedented magnitude of the COVID crisis requires an unprecedented, long-term and unequivocal response. International trade is a vital tool to finance recovery ge get out of the crisis. In these efforts, the EU must stay true to its values and ensure the protection of businesses, workers and people, leaving no one behind. Recovery must be based on sustainability, and inclusive and green growth. Green Deal measures are therefore more relevant than ever.
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.
The European Union and its Member States must stand united to protect their sovereignty. The EESC firmly believes that if Europe is to maintain its leading role in the world, it needs a strong, competitive industrial base. The EESC recognises the crucial importance of shifting to a carbon-neutral economy and of reversing the current curve of biodiversity collapse. Without a green industrial strategy as a cornerstone of the Green Deal, the EU will never succeed in reaching a carbon-neutral economy within one generation. The new industrial strategy must ensure the right balance between supporting European businesses, respecting our 2050 climate neutrality objective and providing consumers with incentives to shift consumption to sustainable goods and services .
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.