Energy is a key priority of the current European Commission with its flagship policy initiative of the European Energy Union (EUEU). One key element of the flagship initiative concerns the expansion of renewables and a fundamental redesign of the energy markets in order to promote renewables, decentralized production and an active role for consumers. In its vision for the Energy Union, the Commission aims at putting "citizens at [the EUEU's] core". Changes in energy consumption and production patterns are in fact already occurring on the ground. New players are entering markets hitherto dominated by large manufacturers and distributors of energy. With the arrival of small-scale decentralized energy installations located in domestic backyards, the term "prosumers" emerged, i.e. entities/households that are producers and consumers of energy in one.
On 27th June 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, with the objective to evaluate the solutions developed to develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the population.
The EESC will be hosting a photograph exhibition from 26 May 2016 showcasing Dutch creative industries. The focus is put particularly on estuary and maritime technology, innovation and sustainability. The exhibition, entitled "the Netherlands: resourceful & future-proof", is being held in cooperation with the Dutch Presidency of the EU and will run until 24 June 2016 in the Foyer 6 of the JDE building.
The idea of "nudging" starts from the assumption that behavioural sciences can help decision makers get public policies right. Nudging implies indirectly influence people's choice with very limited, easily implemented, sometimes very unexpected, signals to deliver massive effects, without forbidding anything. It assumes that individuals are not perfectly rational and involves small and cheap incentives for them to change their behaviour in a specific field; it can be applied in a wide range of contexts, including public policies. The European Commission created a "Foresight and Behavioural insights Unit" within the Joint Research Centre. The purpose of this own-initiative opinion is to explore how the nudge theory could help European policies be more effective, in particular under a sustainable development angle.
The agro-food supply chain connects important and diverse sectors of the European economy that are essential for economic, social and environmental welfare as well as for the health of European citizens. Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and to the detriment of primary producers. The position of the most vulnerable actors, such as farmers, should therefore be addressed, in particular by ensuring that prices that allow the farmer to make a fair profit are paid throughout the agro-food supply chain and by putting an end to unfair trading practices.
How can culture and cities help build hope and a new narrative for Europe? What value should we attribute to Culture? How does Culture drive economic growth? How should Europe trace the line between the past and the present, in order to ensure a sustainable, democratic and inclusive future? How can cities transform cultural diversity into social innovation, cohesion and trust?
These are some of the questions which were explored at the high-level conference organised by the Various Interests Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels, on 20 and 21 June 2016.
The employers' Group believes that a paradigm shift in the form of the digital transformation is sweeping across Europe and that it will affect industry, business and citizens alike. The EESC Employers' Group, in close cooperation with the Cambridge Network, has agreed to hold a seminar in Cambridge to exchange views on Innovation and Industry, and on the merits of business, industry and academia working together in Europe to prepare for the new post-industrial society. Cambridge was chosen as the venue for this event because of the overwhelming presence of high standard research and education; Cambridge is thus a real European – even global centre of excellence.
This year's joint meetings between the EU and Central America under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title of the Association Agreement commenced with a workshop on market access. The participants discussed opportunities provided by the Agreement and challenges faced by the economic operators, in particular SMEs. Separate sessions focused on fair trade and value chains as ways facilitating market access for SMEs and small producers. On 16 June, the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups exchanged experience in their up-to-date operation and discussed proposals for strengthening capacity of the civil society monitoring mechanism, the role of the Parties in this context and future cooperation. This was followed by Civil Society Dialogue Forum where civil society representatives from the EU and Central America asked questions and expressed positions with regard to implementation of the Association Agreement and its impacts.
The first and inaugural meeting of the EU-Georgia Civil Society Platform (CSP) was held on 16 June 2016 in Tbilisi. The CSP complements the political bodies existing within the framework of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, and it allows civil society organisations from both sides to monitor the implementation process and prepare recommendations to the relevant authorities both in Georgia as well as in the European Union.
The CSP is made up of EESC members and representatives from large European civil society networks, on the one side, and representatives from Georgian civil society organisations, on the other side.
The European Migration Forum – the dialogue platform on migration, asylum and migrant integration - met for the second time in April 2016 to discuss the long-term approach to migration and integration.
The EESC Permanent study group on Immigration and Integration (IMI) organises a follow-up event to look back at that meeting and discuss further steps in the integration policy.
The event is accessible to all organisations, with priority to those who participated in the Forum. It will be also webstreamed.