The aim of this OIO is to identify avenues for a transparent and credible sustainability-labelling framework, which is easy to understand and empowers consumers to make more sustainable food choices. The OIO would contribute to achieving more sustainable and healthy food systems in practice by exploring potential avenues to empower the consumer to make more sustainable buying decisions.
Already for some time and especially since spring 2021, widespread and abrupt chip shortages have been dragging down industrial output across the EU. Sectors like automotive, consumer electronics, 5G technologies, industrial equipment, and medical devices are severely impacted. The drop comes despite a surge in manufacturers' order books and is seriously hampering the post-COVID economic recovery.
This own initiative opinion intends to explore the role of business transfers in the sustainable recovery and growth in European SME sector and how the business transfers could be further promoted and facilitated at the European level. There is a need to accelerate concrete follow-up actions for the promotion of business transfers, which is also one of the action points of the recent EU SME Strategy. It is crucial to raise awareness of the potential that business transfers have to the economic growth and the SME sector.
EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.
The EESC believes that ensuring equal access to energy and the security of energy supply at affordable cost must be an absolute priority for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It calls for the establishment of a broad and ambitious political coalition to analyse and address energy poverty from a holistic approach with the objective of bringing it to a minimum level by 2030 and eliminating it altogether in the long term. The actions of the coalition should be further developed in an EU Strategy against energy poverty. The EESC urges the EU to promote a common approach to energy poverty that will allow for a tangible and shared understanding of energy poverty and the collection of statistical data, taking into account Member States' differences and particularities.
In its opinion, the EESC insists on the need to invest in peoples' digital and financial literacy in order to enable consumers to correctly understand their rights and duties relating to financial contracts concluded at a distance, particularly the right to withdrawal from a contract and the right to obtain more information in a pre-contractual phase. The EESC also states that a balanced approach between the digital and the "brick and mortar" experience is crucial. In this respect, the EESC calls for the right to ask for "human intervention" in financial services at a distance to be guaranteed.