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.
Enterprise - Related Opinions
The liberal professions are already very successful in using digital and artificial intelligence applications for the benefit of their clients, and are at the forefront of their technological development. They must continue to be more closely enlisted in the development and validation process in future in order to ensure applications are usable in practice and effective. The liberal professions need to update the content of training in order to ensure their own IT and digital skills and those of their employees are of the highest possible quality standard. The creation of new professions made possible by digitalisation should be encouraged, on the basis of the criteria and principles set out in the Rome Manifesto.
The Communication stresses the EU's commitment to safeguarding an online environment providing the highest possible freedom and security, for the benefit of its citizens.
Europe is going through a green and digital transformation and the European institutions are committed to ensuring that people remain centre-stage and that the economy works for them.
The EESC welcomes the Commission proposal on cross-border payments in the Union aiming at lowering the costs for cross-border payments in euros and at bringing more transparency regarding currency-conversion fees. It endorses the fact that the Commission should analyse further possibilities – and the technical feasibility of those possibilities – of extending the equal charges rule to all Union currencies and of further improving the transparency and comparability of currency conversion charges.
The European Commission has put the social economy at the top of the agenda for 2020. The aim of the opinion is to emphasise the importance of the common good as a key European value, including in the area of economic activity, and to highlight the high level of innovation of social economy enterprises committed to the common good, with a focus on the provision of social services.
Europe is embarking on a transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. European businesses can lead the way as we enter this new age, as they has done in the past.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity. Based on the new SME Strategy, the EU will support SMEs by:
- encouraging innovation through new funding and digital innovation hubs as part of the sustainable and digital transitions;
- cutting red tape by reducing barriers within the Single Market and opening up access to finance;
- allowing better access to finance by setting up an SME Initial Public Offering Fund (with investments channelled through a new private-public fund) and the ESCALAR initiative (a mechanism to boost the size of venture capital funds and attract more private investment).
The European Union and its Member States must stand united to protect their sovereignty. The EESC firmly believes that if Europe is to maintain its leading role in the world, it needs a strong, competitive industrial base. The EESC recognises the crucial importance of shifting to a carbon-neutral economy and of reversing the current curve of biodiversity collapse. Without a green industrial strategy as a cornerstone of the Green Deal, the EU will never succeed in reaching a carbon-neutral economy within one generation. The new industrial strategy must ensure the right balance between supporting European businesses, respecting our 2050 climate neutrality objective and providing consumers with incentives to shift consumption to sustainable goods and services .
The EESC strongly supports the Commission's proposal – Next Generation EU – as a specific tool for a quick and effective recovery.
The EESC takes a very positive view of the Commission's two main decisions:
- to introduce an extraordinary financial recovery instrument as part of the multiannual financial framework
- to raise common debt, which will be repaid over a long period of time, and prevent the extraordinary financial burden from falling directly on the Member States in the short run.
The EESC strongly welcomes the fact that the newly proposed instrument should be closely coordinated with the European Semester process, and furthermore welcomes the Commission's proposal to introduce additional genuine own resources based on different taxes (revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System, digital taxation, large companies' revenues).