How could the Digital Single Market benefit european consumers? This year's theme was a wide-ranging subject covering issues affecting consumers today in a very tangible way. The Committee has recently issued several Opinions and studies covering the digital transformation and how it impacts modes of production and consumption, and its work feeded into the discussions on many relevant topics, such as data sharing, digital inclusion and access to internet for all, artifical intelligence, digital contract rights, unnecessary geo-blocking, digital currencies and fintech, the sharing economy and the Collaborative economy.
Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT) - Related Events
With a view to taking stock of the Action Plan's implementation, looking at next steps and discussing the goals and practicalities of a European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, the EESC and the European Commission co-organised a conference which took place on 9-10 March in Brussels.
Triggering radical change in the way we buy, exchange or even value goods and services, the collaborative economy, the functional economy and the circular economy have had a considerable impact on businesses, consumers and workers. In its 2016 opinions on all three economic models, the EESC has recognised both the potential of these new models for Europe's sustainability as well as the uncharted legal territory they bring with them. Taking our work to the next level, we have joined forces with the Global Hub for the Common Good, to enrich the European debate with input from communities directly involved in these new economies.
On 6 February 2017, the European Economic and Social Committee will be organising a hearing as part of its preparatory work in order to issue its own-initiative opinion on The effectiveness of EU policies for SMEs.
The main objective of the hearing will be to debate the effectiveness and efficiency of the EU policies for SMEs, to find the ways in which they can be improved and to outline the opportunities and challenges for the future.
All the issues will be addressed by high-level speakers from different institutions, and social organisations and stakeholders from across the EU will have the opportunity to exchange their views.
AI technologies offer great potential for creating new and innovative solutions to improve peoples lives, grow the economy, and address challenges in health and wellbeing, climate change, safety and security.
Like any disruptive technology, however, AI carries risks and presents complex societal challenges in several areas such as labour, safety, privacy, ethics, skills and so on.
A broad approach towards AI, covering all its effects (good and bad) on society as a whole, is crucial. Especially in a time where developments are accellerating.
At the public hearing Artificial Intelligence & Society, the EESC started the discussion with participants from all corners of society on the broader impact of AI.
The input and information gathered at this hearing will be implemented in an EESC Opinion on Artificial Intelligence that will be presented during the Plenary Session on 31 May and 1 June 2017 and feed into EU policy on AI.
The European Economic and Social Committee, the International Confederation of Popular Banks, the European Association of Co-operative Banks, the UNICO Banking Group, and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises will organize the conference “Co-operative Banks and innovation in SME Financing” in Brussels on 9 November 2016.
The conference will bring to the forefront the raise of technology players in financial services. The focus will be on the SMEs' financing and on the interaction between these new players and the cooperative and popular banks.
The first European Day of Social Economy Enterprises brought together the EESC's institutional partners, as well as several stakeholders in order to have a comprehensive view of the situation, create synergies and discuss next meaures and actions to be taken in order to fully unleash the potential of the sector. The event entailed three workshops to allow participants to have their say.
The agro-food supply chain connects important and diverse sectors of the European economy that are essential for economic, social and environmental welfare as well as for the health of European citizens. Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and to the detriment of primary producers. The position of the most vulnerable actors, such as farmers, should therefore be addressed, in particular by ensuring that prices that allow the farmer to make a fair profit are paid throughout the agro-food supply chain and by putting an end to unfair trading practices.
The functional economy focuses on the use of a product rather than its ownership. Specifically, with the functional economy model, a company sells the right to use a product of which it maintains ownership. The famous example is Michelin, which no longer sells tires for fleets of company cars, but supplies "mobility services" consisting of repairing, retreading and in some cases exchanging tires. The economic outcome is that the company has an interest in making its products last as long as possible because the price is based on usage (in this case, the number of kilometres driven) and thus in reducing waste.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be opening its doors to the general public between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
This year, the EESC is focussing on what civil society organisations are doing in response to the migration crisis in Europe.
Under the common interinstitutional slogan of “United in diversity”, the Committee will also showcase its work on economic and social policy for the European Union, its work on sustainable development and its efforts to support participatory democracy in Europe and throughout the world.
On the day’s programme are a variety of information stands, fun activities for all, a photo booth, a children’s corner and musical events.