At its March plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion issued by the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) which proposes supporting investment in the exploration and extraction of critical raw materials, as well as in the use of secondary materials from wastes, as this is essential to the green transition in the EU.
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Securing sustainable access to raw materials, including metals, industrial minerals and construction raw materials, and particularly critical raw materials (CRM), is of huge importance to the European economy, where at least 30 million jobs depend on the availability of raw materials. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the importance of digital transformation.
Fostering competitiveness, innovation and job creation should be a priority in global regulatory cooperation through a renewed multilateral trading scheme, says the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in its opinion, initiated by Georgi Stoev and Thomas Student and adopted by the EESC plenary in July.
Biometric recognition for tracking, surveillance and detecting emotions should have no place in Europe's human-centric approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI), says the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in its response to the European Commission's White Paper on AI, adopted by the EESC plenary on 16 July.
For the first time, we now have a real strategy that can help Europe re-assert its industrial sovereignty, says the EESC in its newly adopted opinion on the proposed
New industrial strategy for Europe. What is still needed is a clear action plan with practical short-, medium- and long-term measures to achieve its goals.
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At its June plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an information report on the revision of the Machinery Directive. EESC members and the study group for the opinion welcomed the Commission's current efforts to improve the performance of Directive 2006/42/EC, which is a very important and successful instrument for European industry, while noting that radical changes to the directive would have a deeply negative impact and must be avoided.
EESC conference warns against fragmentation of the Single Market and calls for upskilling Europe's work force
An EESC conference on the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies discussed the most pertinent issues that will shape the medium to long-term future of Europe. It particularly looked at the future of manufacturing and service industries and the necessary changes in our society. Moreover, it reflected on strategic options for Europe moving forward.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) suggests that the EU should develop a certification for trustworthy AI applications, to be delivered by an independent body after testing the products for key requirements such as resilience, safety, and absence of prejudice, discrimination or bias. The proposal has been put forward in two recent EESC opinions assessing the European Commission's ethical guidelines on AI.
The transition to a climate-neutral future by 2050 needs to be supported by significant investment and a regulatory framework that ensures a level playing field for companies from Europe and other parts of the globe. Moreover, such a transition will only be feasible if all stakeholders are on board. The road to climate neutrality will entail costs for all parties – governments, companies, and citizens too – and everyone needs to be aware of that. These are some of the main takeaways from the Round Table on the "Business perspective on the transition to a climate-neutral future by 2050" that took place in Brussels on 6 November.
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.