The European Semester should be based on the principles of partnership and multilevel governance modelled on the partnership agreements existing in cohesion policy, as this bottom-up approach will contribute to more clarity, legitimacy and ownership at implementing level. This was one of the main messages of a hearing recently held by the European Economic and Social Committee.
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The Finnish presidency of the Council of the EU will place the fight against climate change high on its agenda. One of the challenges will be to unite the 28 Member States around this fight and focus on the opportunities that a more sustainable Europe can provide for economic, social and environmental progress.
Building up a more sustainable and resilient European economy and completing Economic and Monetary Union should be priorities for the next European Commission and European Parliament: these points emerged from a public hearing held by the European Economic and Social Committee on 12 April 2019.
Organised civil society tables proposals for regaining citizens' support for European integration and achieving sustainable economic growth and social progress in the EU
The European project should be strengthened to deal more effectively with a changing world: this was the main conclusion reached at the round table on "European policies for a world in transition: challenges ahead of the upcoming European elections”, held on 4 March at the European Commission Representation in Madrid.
The member states of the European Union must strengthen stakeholder involvement in their efforts to reform national economies. Together with a new long-term EU strategy for sustainable development, improved stakeholder involvement could help create a more efficient and inclusive European semester that enjoys the support of society and is prepared to tackle the challenges facing the EU.
The EESC draws mixed conclusions from the European Commission's growth survey
The government, representatives of organised civil society and other interest groups call for fresh impetus for the European Union
A lot is already happening on the ground for the implementation of the SDGs – both as top-down goals with governments and institutions providing the driving force and as bottom-up initiatives by non-state actors and civil society. National and local sustainable development strategies, which are successfully involving civil society, were presented at one of a series of events on this topic at the EESC last week. However, an overarching European strategy, which would provide the coherence and guidance needed for the implementation of the SDGs at national and local level, is still missing.
Shortly after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 8 October urging countries to massively shift towards a new paradigm, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted an opinion arguing for a "finance-climate pact" to ensure the financing of the necessary transitions. With the EU budget for the period 2021/2027 about to be adopted, the EESC tables the most ambitious proposal among the EU institutions: 40% of the EU budget should be devoted to the fight against climate change and its consequences, be it environmental, economic or social.