With its new trade strategy, the EU will get tougher on its trading partners, giving sustainability centre stage. The EESC also firmly believes that civil society organisations and the social partners should be given a seat at the table, to ensure that the benefits emerging from this new trade policy are genuinely distributed among all participants, both in the EU and in the partner countries.
The European Union has an obligation to defend and emphasise our fundamental values, including respect for human dignity, freedom, equality, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. For these reasons, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) strongly supported the establishment of the European Commission's Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life at its March plenary.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Commission's proposal to update the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The new rules will fight structural long-term underinvestment in construction by introducing EU minimum energy performance standards, new requirements for Energy Performance Certificates and a building "renovation passport".
Ensuring the EU's open strategic autonomy in the future may well require a geopolitical focus, but its social aspects should not be neglected, says the EESC in a recent opinion on the Strategic Foresight Report 2021, which it finds lacking in this respect.
In a recent opinion, the EESC backed the EU's legal initiative on regulating platform work as a precondition for ensuring fair working conditions for all types of workers. However, the opinion did not get the support of its Employers' Group, which sees the EU's legal measure as unnecessary and believes it will stifle the innovation and investment brought about by platforms
Following the publication of the evaluations on the shortcomings of the Environmental Criminal Directive – ECD, the Commission decided to replace it with a new EU Directive aimed at making the protection of the environment through criminal law more precise, legally secure and effective. In the opinion "Improving environmental protection through criminal law", adopted at the March plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) made concrete proposals to improve the legislation, in order to make it truly effective, proportionate and dissuasive.
Trillions of euros are needed for Europe's economic recovery. EU proposals for accessible investment data and long-term funding must be more flexible and promote a transparent level playing field, to include more investors and businesses in capital markets.
Although the majority of young people were not considered as the main risk group for COVID-19, they were among those who most strongly felt the consequences of the social and economic measures deployed to fight against the spread of the virus
Transparent decision-making and open communication will make the energy transition more acceptable to society despite the potentially higher initial costs, underlines the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The EU should push for fair distribution and "prosumption" by tapping into the potential of financial incentives, identifying and removing any obstacles to public participation and support.
Set up in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism seems to no longer be sufficiently capable of responding to disasters linked to climate change and multiple catastrophes, such as the current war in Ukraine. In the opinion Consolidating the EU-Civil Protection, EESC civil society representatives propose establishing a European agency that would link civil protection and humanitarian aid in a more consistent way. At the same time, it could pave the way towards stronger foreign policy actions.