The own-initiative opinion (OIO) is part of an EESC umbrella opinion “A strategic vision on energy transition to enable sustainable development”covering various aspects of the energy transition. Once all opinions by the different EESC Sections have been gathered, the respective recommendations will constitute the EESC's overarching political message to the EU Institutions.
The objective of the proposed opinion is to enlarge the debate around the concept of cultural diplomacy by providing concrete recommendations and proposing actions to strengthen and optimise this innovative area of policy. We plan to focus on the reinforcement of the coherence of EU external policies and instruments; on the complementarity between the tangible and intangible heritage; on the link with climate change as a source of crisis; on the inclusion and empowerment of local actors, women and youth; on possibilities to develop concrete cooperation and partnerships between EU cultural Institutions and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and their counterparts in third countries.
Achieving the digital transition is a fundamental challenge for the European Union in order to maintain a high level of business competitiveness. Winning this challenge is also decisive for global competition, for what could be defined as the maintenance of "digital sovereignty".
The adoption of the European Union Climate law has set an ambitious emission reduction target for 2030 while confirming the climate neutrality objective for 2050. According to the IPCC scenarios, keeping global warming below 1.5°C requires that global anthropogenic net emissions should be zero by around 2050. Secondly, meeting this goal requires the deployment of CDR, which can happen by means of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and removals in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector. The IPCC defines CDR as "anthropogenic activities removing CO2 from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products".
EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.