Recent years have been marked by a persistent global decline in democratic values and the rule of law. While many differences remain and have to be acknowledged, North America has unquestionably been our closest historical ally in championing democracy and its values across the world. The arrival of the new administration in the US has provided a new momentum and a unique opportunity to build the new transatlantic partnership and jointly manage not only the internal, but also global challenges, especially with regard to powers which do not share the same values, such as China or Russia. President Biden's initiative to organise a Summit for Democracy at a time when autocracies are on the offensive is only the first step in building a strong international democratic alliance.
The EESC strongly supports the goal of redirecting investments in such a way that they contribute to the EU's transition to a sustainable economy but calls for the social partners and civil society to be brought better on board in the design and implementation of sustainable finance. The EU green bond standard has the potential to yield significant economic benefits for both issuers and investors alike and help the green transition.
In its opinion, the EESC highlights that one of the main challenges the retail sector is facing is the lack of an online level playing field with third-country traders. It agrees that a solid ambitious digital policy for the retail sector is needed in Europe to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital innovation offers for enhancing Europe’s competitiveness. The EESC also believes that for the retail sector, taking on board the green transition provides an opportunity for the retail sector to help consumers make more sustainable choices in their consumption.
In the rapid transformation process of the global industrial landscape, digitisation has assumed a fundamental strategic function. It now covers the entire cycle of the value chain of products and services and involves both large enterprises as well as small enterprises and micro enterprises. In this process, the need for flexibility and speed of adaptation often lead to the need to outsource parts of the production process to professionals who often have the position of "freelancers".
The EU ETS was launched in 2005 and covers about 45 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions. The latest revision of the EU ETS Directive, adopted in 2018, sets the total quantity of emission allowances for phase 4 (2021-2030), in line with what was the current EU emission reduction target at the time (40 % reduction below 1990 levels by 2030).