Batteries placed on the EU market should become sustainable, high-performing and safe all along their entire life cycle. This means batteries that are produced with the lowest possible environmental impact, using materials obtained in full respect of human rights as well as social and ecological standards. Batteries have to be long-lasting and safe, and at the end of their life, they should be repurposed, remanufactured or recycled, feeding valuable materials back into the economy.
Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) - Related Opinions
In September 2020, the European Commission presented the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, which also contains the 2020 List of Critical Raw Materials.
The European Commission’s ‘Green Deal’ proposes to use public procurement as a tool to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Such ‘green public procurement’ is necessary to move toward a carbon-neutral society. However, the Commission omits that public procurement which makes up to 11% of GDP can be a tool for a fairer, more equitable society and can produce sustainable growth. At present, the ‘green public procurement’ and social considerations are discussed in different DGs. An opinion by the EESC-CCMI could bring social and ecological considerations in regards to public procurement together.
Securing sustainable access to raw materials, including metals, industrial minerals and construction raw materials, and particularly Critical Raw Materials (CRM), is of high importance for the EU economy. However, the EU is confronted with a number of technological and environmental challenges along the entire production value chain of primary and secondary raw materials.
The EESC welcomes the determination of the new European Commission to enhance the Union's technological sovereignty, and stress the importance of the security sector in this respect. There is no security without technology, and Europe must master the technologies that are crucial for its security.
Disruptions like coronavirus (COVID-19) threaten to bring the world economy and social life to a standstill. Its impacts include recessions in the USA, the EU, Japan and other regions of the world, extremely slow growth in China and huge losses in terms of output. Governments have to offset economic damage with fiscal and monetary policies and cope with the expected changes of the economic paradigm. The EESC stresses the need for efficient business models and trade defence mechanisms, in particular with regard to Asia, and notes that 36 million jobs in the EU depend on the EU's exporting potential, and that the share of EU employment supported by sales of goods and services to the rest of the world in relation to total employment increased from 10.1% in 2000 to 15.3% in 2017. The fiscal, economic and social response to the crisis is necessary for preventing its negative impact on these and other sectors.
EESC opinion: Fostering competitiveness, innovation, growth and job creation by advancing in global regulatory cooperation, by supporting a renewed multilateral trading scheme and by reducing market-distorting subsidies (own-initiative opinion)
Digitalisation is on everyone’s lips, often spoken of as an irresistible force for change. We are told that in its scale, speed and complexity, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is unlike anything humankind has experienced before. These changes are transforming the nature of work and the individual behaviour of users in Europe without regard for the role and place of the human factor.
European industrial, energy and climate policy is hampered by contradictory requirements on the price for Greenhouse effect Gas (GHG) emissions: on the one hand, high prices would be necessary to incentivise investment and changes in consumption patterns; on the other, the preservation of the external competitiveness of EU energy-intensive industries, as well as the prevention of “carbon leakage”, would require low prices.
The proposed own-initiative report investigates the technical and legal feasibility of Border Adjustment Measures for the internal price of GHG emissions: importers pay the price, exporters get it refunded, as it already is the case for VAT. The refund of the GHG emission price to exporters could be based on a VAT-like accounting system. The GHG emission price paid by importers could be based on the basic metals and materials content of the product. This system would be in line with WTO rules, and rely upon fully proven methodologies.
According to Eurostat forecasts (2015), over the coming decades, Europe’s population will grow slowly from 507 million people in 2013 to 526 million in 2035. This will be accompanied by substantial ageing: the section of the population aged 65+ should increase from 18% to 28%. And by 2060 the 65+ age group will number 149 million.
The revision of the energy performance in buildings directive will have a significant impact on economic activities in the construction sector by increasing the average rate of annual renovation and through the implementation of long term renovation strategies in Members States. This will have a positive impact on employment and open the opportunity to acquire new and additional skills and qualifications in order to ensure sustainable quality employment and competitiveness of the construction sector.