The EESC is a fervent defender of multilateralism and a rules-based world order. Its External Relations Section deals with many topics relevant to the broad spectrum covered by the United Nations and its specialised agencies, while many EESC opinions refer to core international principles and regularly cite the United Nations.
Every year in February, the EESC adopts an opinion on Annual Sustainable Growth Survey, which the Commission usually presents at the end of November in the year before. This communication outlines the economic and employment policy priorities for the EU for the following 12 months, with a view to mitigating the negative impacts of the energy shocks in the short term and to foster sustainable growth and increase the EU’s resilience in the medium term. The structured approach, like in previous years, centres around the four dimensions of competitive sustainability and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The ASGS also continues to guide Member States in the implementation of the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs). The EESC's opinion on the ASGS 2024 is due to be adopted at the plenary session of 24-25 February 2024.
The main objective of this opinion is to deliver, eight years after its official launch, an EESC assessment of the state of play of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a soft-power tool through which China has assumed a new strategic geopolitical position on the world chessboard. In this context, the EESC needs to investigate what impact the BRI can have on the EU's policies such as twin transition, open strategic autonomy, access to critical technologies and critical raw materials, security and defence, TEN-T network, foreign direct investments, EU screening, etc.
The Covid 19-pandemic has drawn attention to the role of the pharmaceutical industry and to production, availability and affordability of medicines and medicinal products on the European market.
Dependency on critical ingredients, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), became obvious when China and India limited exports. According to current data, up to 80% of APIs used in Europe and about 40% of finished medicines sold in Europe come from China or India. The European Union's increasing dependence on API supplies has led to a partial loss of capability to manufacture active substances independently, which poses a potential threat to public health in the countries of the European Union.