The European Union is the world's biggest producer of beet sugar and the principal importer of raw cane sugar for refining. EU sugar policy today is supported by three pillars: production quotas, a sugar reference threshold and trade measures (border protection). Production quotas will cease to exist as of 1 October 2017, which means that one of these pillars will fall. Another pillar – border protection – is looking increasingly shaky.
ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΜΑΤΙΚΟΤΗΤΑ - Related Opinions
The European economy is increasingly based on creativity and innovation. Intellectual property rights (IPR) intensive industries in Europe account for 39% of the EU's GDP and 26% of its employment. The EESC considers that businesses must enjoy a series of conditions that facilitate innovation, investment and employment.
According to estimates from the UN and OECD, counterfeit products represent 5-7% (UN) or up to 2.5% (OECD) of world trade. The majority of counterfeit products in Europe are produced outside the EU, but production is also on the rise in Member States. The internet has considerably simplified and massively increased the scope for selling counterfeit products online while the risk of being prosecuted remains very low.
The proposed measures of the services package aim to make it easier for services providers to navigate administrative formalities, helping Member States identify overly burdensome or outdated requirements on professionals operating domestically or across borders. Rather than amending existing EU rules in the services area, the Commission focuses on ensuring better application.
President Juncker stressed in his 2016 State of the Union Speech the need for a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. Taking greater responsibility for their security means that Europeans must invest in the development of key defence capabilities to be able to deter, respond and protect themselves against external threats. The European Union must demonstrate that it can act as a provider of hard as well as soft security, addressing calls for greater solidarity in security and defence. The Bratislava roadmap, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have also recently underlined this priority.
Banking and insurance are evolving. Insurance companies and banks are at the forefront of the development of the digital economy. The very nature of their activities lends itself to the intensive use of the new technologies. In a highly competitive framework marked by a keener pursuit of competitiveness, insurance companies and banks have become part of an ongoing drive for innovation.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the package of measures to adapt copyright to the requirements of the digital economy, by aiming to eliminate fragmentation while, at the same time, enhancing protection for creators. The EESC supports the exclusive related right of publishers to authorise or prohibit the digital use of their press publications for a period of twenty years and urges to harmonise the "freedom of panorama" exception by means of European rules. The EESC also refers to the ECJ judgment stating that, under certain conditions, the lending of a digital copy of a book has similar characteristics to the lending of printed works.