A Renovation Wave for Europe - Related Opinions
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This Opinion welcomes the Commission's ambition to reduce the incidence of cancer, and its specific efforts to minimise exposure to asbestos at work. It recommends that the technical limit value for asbestos exposure under the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work should ultimately be set at a lower level than the Commission is currently proposing. This Opinion also suggests that roadmap of complementary measures over and above the Commission's proposals should be drawn up in order to achieve that objective. It calls on the EU and its Member States to actively promote an international ban on the use of asbestos and protection for workers dealing with existing asbestos during activities such as renovation, demolition and waste management.
The EESC believes that ensuring equal access to energy and the security of energy supply at affordable cost must be an absolute priority for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It calls for the establishment of a broad and ambitious political coalition to analyse and address energy poverty from a holistic approach with the objective of bringing it to a minimum level by 2030 and eliminating it altogether in the long term. The actions of the coalition should be further developed in an EU Strategy against energy poverty. The EESC urges the EU to promote a common approach to energy poverty that will allow for a tangible and shared understanding of energy poverty and the collection of statistical data, taking into account Member States' differences and particularities.
The health, economic and social crisis of COVID-19 has intensified the severity of the affordable housing crisis that Member States have been facing for years, particularly for homeless people, overcrowded households, residents of working class neighbourhoods and seasonal workers and immigrants – victims of housing conditions that have directly affected the infection rate in society. Although housing policy remains the competence of the Member States, the shortage of decent and affordable housing in the European Union requires a European action plan on housing that includes a comprehensive set of measures, which are easy for people to understand, to help Member States, regions and cities in Europe to sustainably boost the supply of social and affordable housing and effectively combat homelessness.
For a better implementation of the Social Pillar, promoting essential services (own-initiative opinion)
The EESC welcomes the fact that principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights reaffirms the right to access essential services/SGEIs. These are a vital component of social justice and are underpinned by the principle of equal treatment of users, prohibiting any kind of discrimination or exclusion whatsoever, and by the principle of universal access to services of a high level of affordability and quality.
The revision of the energy performance in buildings directive will have a significant impact on economic activities in the construction sector by increasing the average rate of annual renovation and through the implementation of long term renovation strategies in Members States. This will have a positive impact on employment and open the opportunity to acquire new and additional skills and qualifications in order to ensure sustainable quality employment and competitiveness of the construction sector.
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