The Information Report can serve as a tool to promote and share the rich experience of the EU and its Member States in the area of CSR with partner countries and their civil society. It can provide a basis for discussion in EESC dialogues with partner countries, as well as the Committee's contribution to the work of the monitoring mechanisms established by the recently negotiated EU trade agreements.
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The objective of the opinion, requested by the Romanian Presidency, is to explore which measures and initiatives should be taken at EU and national level in order to promote organised philanthropy and eliminate barriers within the internal market that are hindering the realisation of its full potential, so as to maximize its contribution to EU values, such as cohesion, social justice and European Policies, and to the competitiveness of the European economy.
The opinion is expected to feed into the Romanian presidency programme and into the political priorities for the new Commission.
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 absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
EESC opinion: Towards a more resilient and sustainable European economy (own initiative opinion)
Can European trade and investment policy promote sustainable development and social justice at home and abroad?
Setting out its positive agenda for business while insisting on the importance of promoting European values, the European Commission’s new ‘Trade for all’ Communication is a timely update on EU trade and investment policy, according to a recently published opinion by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
During the meeting, the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum, bringing together members of the EU and Korea Domestic Advisory Groups (employers, workers and NGOs) discussed matters related to implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter of the EU-Korea FTA. Particular attention was dedicated to issues, such as labour standards, liberalisation of trade in environmental goods, climate change policy and the Emission Trading System (ETS), as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
During the meeting, the EU DAG discussed with a representative of the European Commission the outcome and follow-up of the last CTSD meeting, held on March 24th, as well as the Commission's annual report on the EU-Korea FTA that was presented in June. Presentations of the recent developments in the Republic of Korea were also made by representatives of the correspondent country desk oin the European Commission and the EEAS. The EP shadow rapporteur on the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Korea, Dr Joachim Schuster, MEP (S&D Group), presented the European Parliament resolution adopted on 18 May 2017 to the EU DAG.
During the meeting, the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups discussed the mandate and composition of the Advisory Groups as envisaged by the Trade and Sustainable Development Title, as well as progress achieved in their establishment, nomination of contact persons and launching the first activities. The participants discussed also matters related to trade in agricultural products, including fair trade, respect for labour and environmental standards, situation and role of small and medium-sized producers, sustainability considerations, the role of supply chains, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and examples of best practices in this area, as well as support for producers. They also adopted a Joint Declaration which was presented on the following day in the Civil Society Dialogue Forum meeting.
During the meeting, the Commission (DG TRADE) provided information on implementation of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and its trade and sustainable development chapter. The EU DAG held also the first preparatory discussion before the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum. The Group discussed in this context its contribution on Corporate Social Responsibility.