The opinion will provide guidance on how to build on existing structures like citizens' dialogues and assemblies, social dialogue committees in order to structure and mainstream the dialogue with civil society. It will also make recommendations about how to encourage information sharing and public understanding of climate action; how to create real and virtual spaces for exchange on climate and how to build capacity to facilitate grassroots initiatives, among others.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
In this opinion the EESC defends the following points:
1. The EU and Member States should ensure that the gender perspective is fully integrated in COVID-19 recovery measures.
2. Gender equality should be fully taken into account in the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
3. The Gender Equality Strategy should be coordinated involving all Member States, social partners and civil society organisations.
4. To put an end to the gender pay gap (16%), binding measures on gender pay transparency are unavoidable.
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While the recovery after COVID-19 crisis is a top priority, the EESC stresses that this should not steer the EU away from its medium and long-term objectives, as outlined in the European Green Deal, 2020 Sustainable Growth Strategy, and the European Pillar for Social Rights. There is a need for a resilient, technology-driven European economy that is defined by the protection of the environment. The EESC underlines that strategies aimed at enhanced economic sustainability need to be developed around productivity, but they cannot be allowed to happen at the expense of workers' rights and social development. The EESC advocates for re-thinking supply chains, underlines that social aspects should be emphasised, start-ups should be encouraged and that the cornerstone of sustainable economic growth in the EU should be the creation and development of a truly circular economy. Open dialogue with social partners and civil society remains key to setting the economic direction.
Social, human rights, and environmental impacts from mandatory due diligence as a legal duty of care are expected to be significant
The EESC opinion could examine, inter alia, the definition of "company interest", the scope of companies and enterprises to which the eventual due diligence legislation should apply, the scope of the due diligence obligations, the role of the board and its members, the identification and setting of standards, liability for failure to fulfil due diligence obligations, the role of Member States in ensuring the effective fulfilment of the due diligence obligation.
In its White Paper on AI the Commission makes proposals to promote the development of AI in Europe while guaranteeing respect of fundamental rights. AI is growing fast, which is why Europe must maintain and increase its level of investment. At the same time, AI presents potential risks that need to be addressed. The White Paper identifies options for maximizing the benefits of AI and solving the problems it poses, and invites stakeholders to comment on these options.
The aim of this opinion is to promote European legislation on circular public procurement, through convergence between the main purpose of the contract and environmental protection, greater attention to small and micro-enterprises, local production and the protection of social rights. This can be achieved by looking for and favouring solutions with a lower impact on the environment throughout their lifespan.
The EESC welcomes this package of new initiatives in a wide range of areas and advocates a European path to digitalisation by seizing the opportunities for the economy together with the protection of our data to ensure privacy and self-determination.
Own-initiative opinion postponed to the autumn
The purpose of the opinion is to examine the extent to which existing EU company law currently serves as an "expedient" for the politically-desirable Green Deal and which gaps still need to be closed, in particular regarding corporate social responsibility obligations. The opinion will aim at following-up on the European Commission's initiative on due diligence and broadening the debate on sustainable corporate governance interlinking the social, environmental and economic dimensions.