Conference on Energy poverty at the crossroads of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Green Deal - Related Opinions
The Commission aims for more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets, both in the EU and internationally. President von der Leyen wants the EU to lead international negotiations to raise the ambition of other major emitters by 2021, and has pledged to put forward a comprehensive, responsible plan to increase the European Union's emissions reduction target for 2030, from 40 % towards 55 %. The plan should ensure a level playing field and stimulate innovation, competitiveness and jobs, based on social, economic and environmental impact assessments.
The 2030 climate plan Communication, adopted on 17th September 2020, sets out the proposed targets, as well as potential implications for the overall regulatory and enabling framework. It describes the overall architecture of policy measures to be put in place to achieve that target.
The European Economic and social Committee (EESC) supports the Commission's intention as set out in its Communication: integration of the electricity system with the heat and transport system is vital to reach the goals of climate neutrality, security of energy supply, including reduction of energy imports, and the goal of affordable prices for Europe's consumers and the European economy.
The health, economic and social crisis of COVID-19 has intensified the severity of the affordable housing crisis that Member States have been facing for years, particularly for homeless people, overcrowded households, residents of working class neighbourhoods and seasonal workers and immigrants – victims of housing conditions that have directly affected the infection rate in society. Although housing policy remains the competence of the Member States, the shortage of decent and affordable housing in the European Union requires a European action plan on housing that includes a comprehensive set of measures, which are easy for people to understand, to help Member States, regions and cities in Europe to sustainably boost the supply of social and affordable housing and effectively combat homelessness.
The opinion will provide guidance on how to build on existing structures like citizens' dialogues and assemblies, social dialogue committees in order to structure and mainstream the dialogue with civil society. It will also make recommendations about how to encourage information sharing and public understanding of climate action; how to create real and virtual spaces for exchange on climate and how to build capacity to facilitate grassroots initiatives, among others.
This EESC opinion will respond to the European Commission's proposal for a regulation on establishing a European Climate Law and it will look into the role of citizens in driving the transformation towards climate neutrality.
The transition to a low-carbon economy is the EU's goal and obligation and the EU committed itself to implement this transition in a socially just and cost-effective manner. It is thus important to examine all the feasible ways of financing climate neutrality, and possibly find new and innovative financing models in the near future.
The EESC is currently drafting an opinion that aims to define what "the sustainable economy we need" should look like by exploring new economic models, investment decisions vis-à-vis technological advances as well as novel indicators for growth and competitiveness.