Sustainable development must be at the heart of the future of Europe. If we want to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we need to act now. The time for reflection is over, urges the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in its recent opinion on the Commission's Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030".
Following the proposal on the Irish backstop made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently transmitted to Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, the EESC President Luca Jahier and the Chair of the Brexit Follow-up Group Stefano Mallia have issued a joint declaration.
On 26 September, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) approved an own-initiative opinion to mark the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). In this opinion, the EESC acknowledges the important achievements of this initiative, but also calls for further reforms in the areas of democratisation and fundamental freedoms. The opinion insists on the need to strengthen the role of civil society and to provide credible EU membership prospects to EaP states.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Commission's proposal to make EU decision-making on energy and climate more democratic, specifically to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting on energy tax matters.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said it regretted the fact that not all Member States of the European Union had approved the Global Compact for Migration, which, in its view, presented an excellent opportunity to make progress on establishing a single EU voice on migration at global level.
- Sustainable development must be better integrated in the semester
- Policies must boost high quality public and private investment
- Implementation of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) is key
According to the EESC, the European manufacturing system can only make an effective and competitive transition to a cutting-edge digital and environmentally friendly economy when it is ready for significant investments in innovation. As the main job creators and providers, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) need particular support. The steps planned by the European Commission to facilitate better development of the manufacturing system should therefore be consistently based on real awareness of companies' – especially SMEs' – needs.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) calls on the Commission to reflect in more depth on policy options that help both to reduce greenhouse gases and thus fight climate change and to maintain competitiveness. The goal must be to better protect and promote the EU's resource and energy-intensive industries (REII), otherwise Europe runs the risk of losing jobs to less clean economies and missing its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Originally associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are in fact very versatile and can be usefully applied to the social economy. However, it is important to regulate them properly and gear them to benefits for all, allowing everyone to participate, says the EESC in a report tabled at its July plenary.
Farming can only be continued if our natural resources are preserved, warns EESC
The EU needs to put greater emphasis on short supply chains and agroecology in farming in order to preserve its agriculture and make it more resilient to new challenges, such as climate change. Agroecology is also a way to secure our food supply, make our food healthier and as such raise its value. Short supply chains will help smaller farms to increase their income and enliven rural areas.