This opinion examines how European legislation on circular public procurement can combine the main purpose of the contract with environmental protection, greater attention to SMEs, sustainable local production and the protection of social rights. This can be achieved by seeking and favouring solutions with a lower impact on the environment throughout their lifespan.
"Use-value" is back: new prospects and challenges for European products and services (own-initiative opinion) - Related Opinions
Europe is going through a green and digital transformation and the European institutions are committed to ensuring that people remain centre-stage and that the economy works for them.
Europe is embarking on a transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. European businesses can lead the way as we enter this new age, as they has done in the past.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity. Based on the new SME Strategy, the EU will support SMEs by:
- encouraging innovation through new funding and digital innovation hubs as part of the sustainable and digital transitions;
- cutting red tape by reducing barriers within the Single Market and opening up access to finance;
- allowing better access to finance by setting up an SME Initial Public Offering Fund (with investments channelled through a new private-public fund) and the ESCALAR initiative (a mechanism to boost the size of venture capital funds and attract more private investment).
The European Union and its Member States must stand united to protect their sovereignty. The EESC firmly believes that if Europe is to maintain its leading role in the world, it needs a strong, competitive industrial base. The EESC recognises the crucial importance of shifting to a carbon-neutral economy and of reversing the current curve of biodiversity collapse. Without a green industrial strategy as a cornerstone of the Green Deal, the EU will never succeed in reaching a carbon-neutral economy within one generation. The new industrial strategy must ensure the right balance between supporting European businesses, respecting our 2050 climate neutrality objective and providing consumers with incentives to shift consumption to sustainable goods and services .
The opinion pleads for an holistic approach to reconcile growth, climate, environmental challenges and societal problems in a fair transition design.
It underlines that Europe's renaissance ( rEUnaissance) means a fully fledged master plan for European industry, mainstreaming industrial policy across all EU policies, enabling industry to transform and generating industrial added value through creativity and smart design, social innovation and fostering new sustainable and inclusive industrial models.
As a key driver of productivity and innovation, industry has always been a cornerstone of economic prosperity in Europe. We can rely on a strong industrial base, but important efforts are needed by Member States, EU institutions and most importantly industry itself to maintain and reinforce Europe's industrial leadership in the age of globalisation, sustainability challenges and rapid technological change.
The Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU has requested the EESC to prepare an exploratory opinion on how to best promote SMEs in Europe with a special focus on a horizontal legislative SME approach and respect of the SBA's "think small first".
The Bulgarian Presidency invited the EESC to draw up an exploratory opinion aimed at identifying a global approach to EU industrial policy that takes into account the need to improve the business environment and to support the competitiveness of industry.
ETSK:n lausunto: Adopting a comprehensive approach to industrial policy in the EU – improving business environment and support for the competitiveness of the European industry (exploratory opinion at the request of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council)
In its Opinion, the EESC draws attention to significant inefficiencies still existing in both the formulation and implementation of SME policies, warns against a bureaucratic approach still prevalent in EU policies and calls for a visible, coordinated and consistent horizontal policy for SMEs, based on a multiannual action plan. The EESC also proposes that the Commission assess whether the current definition of SMEs corresponds to their heterogeneity, sectoral dynamics, specific features and diversity during the last decade.