The EESC welcomes the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and of the intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) of the EU and its Member States, committing to a reduction in domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 40% by 2030 and by 80 to 95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
The objective of reducing transport-related GHG emissions by 60% can therefore still be considered to be relevant and in line with the EU's general objective under COP 21, provided the associated actions and initiatives are implemented urgently, with the necessary determination and as soon as possible.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as it fits in with general efforts to monitor the EU's external maritime borders much more effectively than in the past. However, it would once again stress that time is of the essence in implementing the proposed measures.
The Committee welcomes the proposal to expand the activities of EMSA; however, it has serious doubts as to whether EMSA has the human and financial resources to perform these additional activities properly.
The EESC reiterates its firm commitment to an Energy Union and a European energy dialogue. It supports optimal implementation of the SET Plan, which can be achieved through a joint, consistent approach involving the cooperation of energy policy stakeholders, cooperation between States, an efficient internal energy market and the consolidation and better coordination of energy research and innovation programmes. The added value of the SET Plan will derive from better coordination and a new system of governance for the European energy system. The most important task is the technical and scientific development of technologies and innovation, and the promotion of factors that encourage new ideas and concepts.
The EESC reiterates its support for the Juncker Commission's objective to fight social dumping as expressed in its 2015 opinion on the Roadmap to a single European transport area, as well as its call for the Commission to propose preventive measures.
The EESC regrets that the notion of social dumping while extensively used is not defined. For the purpose of this Opinion the EESC considers as social dumping practices that endeavour to circumvent or are in breach of social or market access regulations (letterbox companies) in order to gain competitive advantages. This opinion will focus on ways to deal with this kind of action.
EU aviation is at a crucial junction: without a compelling and coherent strategy, it runs the risk of further difficulties and thereby losing its economic clout and growth potential. In order to be able to compete in a globalised economy the entire European aviation value network needs more intermodality, better connectivity, better use of secondary hubs and regional airports, as well as optimisation of current processes. This does not, however, require new legislation in all cases. The EESC again urges the Commission to do more to ensure that current EU legislation is implemented. The Commission’s strategy for EU aviation should be driven by a compelling vision of how best to promote European competitiveness without distorting competition or undermining the social and labour relations.