Europe is lagging behind other global players in terms of research and development (R&D). The business sector in Europe believes that if the EU is to become more competitive globally, more focus needs to be put on innovation. Greater clarity is needed in setting priorities. The most serious problem is that despite funds being allocated to basic research, the results of the research process do not make it to the market. Research and new technologies exist, but there are obstacles preventing them from being brought to customers.
The business sector in Europe believes a deep and comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) can further enhance this economic relationship and ensure that everyone enjoys the benefits of trade and investment ties more fully.
The document is a summary of the discussion on the Impact of the TTIP in Malta, which took place in Valletta, Malta on 9 March 2015. The meeting was organised together with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.
Since its adoption in May 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been ratified by 195 countries. These states meet once a year at the Conference of Parties (COP), also known as the UN climate summits. After over two decades of negotiations however – during which global emissions have increased by almost 50% – there is growing consensus that tougher action is needed to cut emissions and cap global temperature increases accordingly.
The EESC and the European Commission agree that successful implementation of the EU Energy Union – together with achieving concrete results at the crucial Climate Agreement talks in Paris at the end of 2015 – will depend very much on putting in place a reliable and transparent governance system.
This will help to ensure that the EU meets its targets.
Civil society plays a key role not only in fund raising and implementing development activities, but also in political processes.
Effective action can be accomplished through collaboration with social partners and interested NGOs, says the EESC. The end result will be sustainable economic, social and environmental growth in developing countries, which will help to eradicate poverty and facilitate inclusive growth.
European industry is a crucial part of the EU economy. Manufacturing still accounts for 80% of EU exports and ¼ of its employment. The goal of increasing manufacturing industry's share of EU GDP to 20% is still some way off. It currently sits at 15.1%. In order to increase this share, European industrial policy must be the focus of EU policy makers. The publication summarises a discussion entitled "Reinforcing European industrial competitiveness" organised by the EESC Employers' Group in November 2014 in Rome, Italy.
The EU is highly dependent on energy resources. More than a half of EU energy consumption is linked to imports. Increasing instability in the Middle East together with the deterioration of EU-Russia relations mean that energy security will remain at the top of the EU's agenda in the coming years. How can we achieve a true energy union? How can interconnectivity be increased between Member States? What should the ideal energy mix look like and how can energy efficiency be increased within the EU? The publication summarises the debate that seeks answers to these questions.
Nearly half of all food gets wasted in the EU each year. This statistic is even more shocking when one considers that 79 million EU citizens live beneath the poverty line and some 16 million depend on food aid from charitable institutions. In 2011, in the wake of the economic and financial crisis, 24.2% of Europeans – 119.6 million people – were on the brink of social exclusion.
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!“ was the first successful ECI, achieving over 1.6 million validated signatures from across 13 Member States. The Initiative called upon the Commission to “implement the human right to water and sanitation in European law“.
As the current economic and financial crisis drags on, many Europeans are being forced to get by on less. This loss of purchasing power puts consumers at risk of social exclusion. The EU estimates1 that more than 120 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2013.