Electricity market reform tops EESC plenary agenda - 14-15 June 2023

The EESC will host the following debates:

  • 14 June, 3.00 pm - "Electricity market reform", with Bram DE WISPELAERE, deputy chief of staff, Belgian Ministry for Energy, and Pedro LINARES, Higher Technical School of Engineering (ICAI), Madrid.
  • 15 June, 10.00 am Debate on EESC opinions "Cooperation in the field of youth" and "Equal treatment of young people in the labour market" with María Rodriguez, president of the European Youth Forum; Agata Meysner, president of Generation Climate Europe, and Mireia Nadal Chiva, CEO of ReDI School of Digital Integration/Friends of Europe.

Key reports to be put to the vote

Energy

  • Electricity market reform (TEN/793, rapporteur: Jan Dirx - Civil Society Organisations, NL; co-rapporteur: Christophe Quarez - Workers, FR)

The EESC addresses the European Commission's legislative proposal for targeted reform of the electricity market, stressing that the Commission should have taken more steps to adapt market design to the new reality, which requires simultaneous management of sustainability, affordability and security of supply. However, the Committee strongly supports the Commission's proposal to empower consumers by creating the right to share renewable energy directly. More

  • EU Wholesale Energy Market (TEN/808, rapporteur: Alena Mastantuono - Employers, CZ; co-rapporteur: Lutz Ribbe - Civil Society Organisations, DE)

The EESC finds it crucial to improve conditions for the functioning of the energy markets, while at the same time addressing market manipulation and other phenomena that distort markets and cause negative impacts on businesses, households and society as a whole. The Committee regrets that the Commission's proposals have not gone through full consultation and impact assessment, as these are precious tools in the law-making process. More

  • Impact of the energy crisis on the European economy (TEN/800, rapporteur: Alena Mastantuono - Employers, CZ)

The Committee says that the European Union needs to move beyond emergency fiscal responses and focus on structural changes which can help it depart from fossil fuels more quickly. To ensure its smooth and competitive economic development, the EU needs reliable and secure deliveries of affordable energy based on an integrated energy market with a large share of clean energy which is resilient and can face disruptions and shocks. More

Social

  • Measures to fight stigma against HIV (SOC/758, rapporteur Pietro Vittorio BARBIERI - Civil Society Organisations Group, IT; co-rapporteur Nicoletta MERLO – Workers’ Group, IT)

The EESC supports the commitment of the Spanish presidency of the Council to put the goal of eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination high on the EU agenda and agrees that the EU institutions should issue a high-level declaration on this matter by the end of 2023. It also calls for more ambitious targets for testing, treatment and virologic suppression as HIV transmission remains a major public health concern, with 2.3 million people affected in the WHO Europe Region. The situation is particularly concerning in Ukraine, which has the second-largest AIDS epidemic in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. More

  • Social Progress Protocol (SOC/756, rapporteur: Maria del Carmen BARRERA CHAMORRO – Workers Group, ES; co-rapporteur: Diego DUTTO – Civil Society Organisations Group, IT

The EESC agrees with the proposal to add a social progress protocol (SPP) to the Treaties. The SPP is an instrument that aims to protect fundamental social rights where these rights conflict with economic freedoms and prevent any decline in those rights. The EESC also encourages the Spanish presidency to convene a meeting of the Council of Social Affairs Ministers that would agree on a joint proposal and enable a specific EU summit to be held to adopt it. The EESC Employers' Group is not backing the proposal, arguing that the current legislation is sufficient to secure respect for fundamental social rights. More

  • Cooperation on youth (SOC/759, rapporteur : Nicoletta MERLO – Workers Group, IT)

In the opinion, requested by the upcoming Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU which intends to give fresh impetus to the EU Youth Agenda, the EESC identified the main difficulties and challenges faced by young Europeans. The EESC recommends that the EU Youth Dialogue should be improved by involving young people's representative bodies in decision-making and by considering young people's new ways of engagement. It also emphasises the importance of supporting young people when it comes to housing costs. More

  • The equal treatment of young people in the labour market (SOC/721, rapporteur: Micheal MCLOUGHLIN – Civil Society Organisations Group – IE)

In this own initiative opinion, the EESC calls on Member States to respect the principle of non-discrimination so that the rules on unemployment benefits and assistance payments are not different for young people. It recommends to the EU to take a greater interest in the matter of unpaid internships, arguing that those that are longer term should be paid. Also, traineeships should offer good quality learning content and adequate working conditions but should not be a substitute for a job placement. More

  • Green collective bargaining (SOC/ 747, rapporteur: Maria del Carmen BARRERA CHAMORRO – Workers Group, ES; co-rapporteur: Marinel Dănuț MURESAN – Employers, RO)

In the EESC’s view, workers and businesses must have proper channels for participating in efforts to combat climate change and protect the environment. One such channel is collective bargaining which can properly address the challenges of green transition and help mitigate effects it could have on jobs, working conditions and vulnerable groups in particular. To this end, the EU and Member States should develop and support measures that encourage employers and workers to adapt to the green transition. One such measure is to appoint employees who would act as environmental transition representatives or contact points for matters of green transition at the workplace. More

Consumer issues

  • Right to repair(INT/1015, rapporteur: Thierry LIBAERT - Civil Society Organisations, FR, co-rapporteur: Emilie PROUZET – Employers, FR

While welcoming the Commission's prposals to promote the repair as opposed to the replacement of goods, this EESC focuses its opinion on ways to ensure that consumers can effectively exercise this right. Among these, banning certain practices that aim to prevent repair (such as serialisation), supporting reconditioned products and 3D printing, offering effective support for repairers, for example for their training, and raising consumer awareness. More

  • Green claims INT/969, rapporteur: Angelo PAGLIARA – Workers, IT)

The Committee would like to see the requirements of the Green Claims Directive become a model for a minimum level of protection against greenwashing and warns that the introduction of sectoral legislation should not become a way to opt out of the provisions of the Directive, introduce loopholes or reduce consumer protection. The EESC also calls on the Commission to introduce a clear ban on green claims based on compensation via the use of offsetting points and to define common methodologies for substantiating different types of green claims. More

Food policy

  • Towards a European Food Policy Council as a new governance model in the future EU Framework on Sustainable Food Systems(NAT/892, rapporteur: Piroska KÁLLAY – Workers' Group, HU)

In this own-initiative opinion, the EESC calls for the creation of a "European Food Policy Council" (EFPC), which would be very timely given the urgency of the food system crisis and the need for rapid behavioural change. The opinion also strongly supports the equal participation of the general public in the EFPC  together with various food system stakeholders such as regional and local Food Policy Councils, which are valuable democratic innovations. Their participation will promote the quality and legitimacy of food policy-making.  More

EU budget

Second set of new own resources (ECO/617, Philip Von Brockdorff, Group II / Malta)

In its opinion, the EESC emphasises the need for new sources of revenue in the face of the budgetary pressures faced by Member States due to the pandemic and international tensions. The EESC suggests considering an own resource based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste and another based on the volume of municipal waste to support the circular economy. It urges the Commission to develop proposals concerning the Framework for Income Taxation (BEFIT). The possibility of including financial services within BEFIT or implementing a global financial transaction tax is also mentioned. The EESC welcomes the agreement on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and suggests an additional levy on imports from third-country manufacturers that do not ensure worker protection. It also proposes an EU-wide tax on digital transactions if the agreed rules of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework are not respected by major trading partners. More

Work organisation