Plenary session 25-26 May 2016 - Related Opinions
The EESC recommends that the EU should aim to achieve a modern, equal and effective partnership with the ACP countries that transcends a donor-recipient relationship and is based on a coherent and integrated EU external policy, based on the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). This framework should guarantee the involvement of civil society organisations, including the private sector, whose specific task should be to monitor and assess the impact of the implementation of this Agreement on the sustainable development of the Parties. Civil society should be provided with the technical and financial support needed to undertake this role.
The EESC recommends that all forms of development support that the EU gives to third countries should fall under the same legal framework and should be subject to the same democratic scrutiny by the European Parliament, while retaining the same positive aspects of the EDF.
Defining the sharing economy makes it possible to distinguish between genuine practices requiring special arrangements and those that are wrongly classified merely to get around applicable regulations. New business models need to comply with the applicable national and EU legislation, so the Commission must urgently define a clear and transparent legal framework and publish without further delay the long overdue 'European agenda for the collaborative economy'. This agenda should provide a clear definition of the complementary role that self- and co-regulation must play in the sharing economy.
The nature of work and employment relationships is developing rapidly. The impact on the labour market and standards, economy, tax and social security systems and the living wage need to be assessed and grey areas in rights and protections addressed. The challenge is to encourage innovation and deliver positive outcomes for a sustainable and competitive social market economy. The EESC considers it a priority to develop social welfare models adapted to cover more flexible forms of employment. This should be given consideration in the development of the EU Pillar of Social Rights.
The Committee welcomes the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It regards the adoption of this agenda together with the Paris COP 21 agreement on climate change as a big breakthrough in setting a global course of action to end poverty, promote prosperity for all and protect the planet's natural resources in an integrated way. The Dutch Presidency of the Council requested that the Committee draw up an exploratory opinion on how a mechanism for civil society involvement at EU level in the implementation of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals could be practically set up.
The Committee recommends the creation of a European Sustainable Development Forum in partnership with the Commission and representatives from civil society as a platform involving a broad range of civil society organisations and stakeholders in setting the framework for the implementation of this agenda in the EU, and its ongoing monitoring and review.
In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of food production and consumption. At the request of the Dutch EU Presidency, the EESC is preparing an exploratory opinion on how to achieve sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. The opinion takes a holistic and comprehensive approach, looking at the interdependence of food production and consumption as well as fostering inter-sectoral cooperation.
The EU acknowledges the increasing importance of including the EU and partner countries' companies in the GSCs. It is also emphasised that the current interdependence of the economies may further increase due to the recently negotiated and implemented EU trade and investment agreements, as well as negotiations at the WTO. The EESC also recommends cooperation between international organisations and other relevant stakeholders. This would include adopting a common language and common definitions of elements related to global value chains, GSCs and decent work, and comparison and assessment of the statistical data between the various stakeholders, such as the OECD, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), WTO, the European Commission, the World Bank and IFM. This should help avoid confusion and misinterpretation, and support elaboration of a coherent policy between diverse public bodies involved.
The EESC welcomes the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and of the intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) of the EU and its Member States, committing to a reduction in domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 40% by 2030 and by 80 to 95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
The objective of reducing transport-related GHG emissions by 60% can therefore still be considered to be relevant and in line with the EU's general objective under COP 21, provided the associated actions and initiatives are implemented urgently, with the necessary determination and as soon as possible.