The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is currently drawing up an own initiative opinion on "Promoting innovative and high growth firms". In order to gain further insights the EESC is organising a public hearing on 7 July 2016 at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, with the objective to contribute to map Europe's challenges and opportunities in this area and to create an environment supportive of creating innovative and high growth firms. The hearing will help formulating recommendations for policy makers on measures and actions needed to address the situation.
The Commission announced it would take action in 2016 to define next steps for a sustainable European future and unveil a new approach, ensuring Europe's economic prosperity and social and environmental sustainability beyond the 2020 timeframe in order to implement the SDGs. This conference fed into this process.
Opened by the Commission’s First Vice-President Timmermans, it provided civil society and stakeholders with a forum to express their ideas on how EU internal and external polices can best contribute to an effective implementation of SDGs. Working groups on sustainable consumption and production, social justice and decent work, sustainable business and investment and on global partnership and peace generated interactive discussions. The event reflected the outcome of recent major conferences in Europe and feature a debate with Karl Falkenberg, special adviser of the Commission President on ways to strengthen sustainable development in the EU.
In 2016 the EU-Africa Network of economic and social stakeholders will gather Nairobi (Kenya) on 6-7 July. This year the focus will be on:
• MIGRATION (follow-up to the Valletta Summit between EU and African heads of state, comparative of EU and African approaches to legal migration)
• CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE (how to facilitate socio-economic actors' access to financial resources to fight against climate change)
The EESC will organise a meeting bringing together the representatives of the employers, workers and various interests' group (particularly farmers) from both continents to reinforce cooperation among European and African socio-economic actors, raise awareness and improve knowledge of available sources of financing to tackle climate change and identify common strategies and possible partnerships.
The EESC organises regional seminars every year in an ACP region –this year, in Eastern Africa (Nairobi) on 4‑5 July 2016, with three main topics of discussion:
- Implementation of the SDGs - The Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Eastern African States. - The post-Cotonou agenda.
At the end of the seminar, a final declaration will be issued that will be forwarded to the partners of the Cotonou agreement.
Around 60 representatives of economic and social actors as well as political authorities and international organisations will attend the seminar.
The first European Day of Social Economy Enterprises brought together the EESC's institutional partners, as well as several stakeholders in order to have a comprehensive view of the situation, create synergies and discuss next meaures and actions to be taken in order to fully unleash the potential of the sector. The event entailed three workshops to allow participants to have their say.
In the light of the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is drafting an own-initiative opinion on "The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations". In this framework, the EESC is organising a public hearing, to be held at the Committee premises on 30 June 2016, beginning at 9 a.m.
In times of limited fiscal space it is ever more important to effectively use the EU budget to contribute to achieving the policy goals of the European Union, in particular as regards growth and job creation. We need to emphasise budgetary performance more strongly than in the past. For this to happen the nature and the scope of the expenditure is crucial. Moreover, better results can be assured by consequent application of a control framework and performance-based budgeting, using a comprehensive set of performance indicators.A performance-oriented culture is, however, not acquired in a single step, but through a process of development.
To drive forward this process the EESC is organising a public hearing on "A performance-based EU budget and its focus on real results: The key to sound financial management", was held at the EESC's premises on Wednesday, 29 June 2016, starting at 2.30 p.m
Recent events have shown that the European Union lack adequate instruments to safeguard the rule of law and human rights, the values stipulated in Article 2 TEU. The EU verifies compliance with these values in the run-up to EU accession, however no similar mechanism apply after EU accession.
The EESC believes that the EU should consider adopting a new European mechanism on the rule of law to improve European governance by establishing a ‘policy coordination cycle’, which would be similar and complementary to the European Semester.
Energy is a key priority of the current European Commission with its flagship policy initiative of the European Energy Union (EUEU). One key element of the flagship initiative concerns the expansion of renewables and a fundamental redesign of the energy markets in order to promote renewables, decentralized production and an active role for consumers. In its vision for the Energy Union, the Commission aims at putting "citizens at [the EUEU's] core". Changes in energy consumption and production patterns are in fact already occurring on the ground. New players are entering markets hitherto dominated by large manufacturers and distributors of energy. With the arrival of small-scale decentralized energy installations located in domestic backyards, the term "prosumers" emerged, i.e. entities/households that are producers and consumers of energy in one.
On 27th June 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, with the objective to evaluate the solutions developed to develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the population.