The first European Day of Social Economy Enterprises brought together the EESC's institutional partners, as well as several stakeholders in order to have a comprehensive view of the situation, create synergies and discuss next meaures and actions to be taken in order to fully unleash the potential of the sector. The event entailed three workshops to allow participants to have their say.
In the light of the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is drafting an own-initiative opinion on "The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations". In this framework, the EESC is organising a public hearing, to be held at the Committee premises on 30 June 2016, beginning at 9 a.m.
In times of limited fiscal space it is ever more important to effectively use the EU budget to contribute to achieving the policy goals of the European Union, in particular as regards growth and job creation. We need to emphasise budgetary performance more strongly than in the past. For this to happen the nature and the scope of the expenditure is crucial. Moreover, better results can be assured by consequent application of a control framework and performance-based budgeting, using a comprehensive set of performance indicators.A performance-oriented culture is, however, not acquired in a single step, but through a process of development.
To drive forward this process the EESC is organising a public hearing on "A performance-based EU budget and its focus on real results: The key to sound financial management", was held at the EESC's premises on Wednesday, 29 June 2016, starting at 2.30 p.m
Recent events have shown that the European Union lack adequate instruments to safeguard the rule of law and human rights, the values stipulated in Article 2 TEU. The EU verifies compliance with these values in the run-up to EU accession, however no similar mechanism apply after EU accession.
The EESC believes that the EU should consider adopting a new European mechanism on the rule of law to improve European governance by establishing a ‘policy coordination cycle’, which would be similar and complementary to the European Semester.
Energy is a key priority of the current European Commission with its flagship policy initiative of the European Energy Union (EUEU). One key element of the flagship initiative concerns the expansion of renewables and a fundamental redesign of the energy markets in order to promote renewables, decentralized production and an active role for consumers. In its vision for the Energy Union, the Commission aims at putting "citizens at [the EUEU's] core". Changes in energy consumption and production patterns are in fact already occurring on the ground. New players are entering markets hitherto dominated by large manufacturers and distributors of energy. With the arrival of small-scale decentralized energy installations located in domestic backyards, the term "prosumers" emerged, i.e. entities/households that are producers and consumers of energy in one.
On 27th June 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, with the objective to evaluate the solutions developed to develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the population.
The EESC will be hosting a photograph exhibition from 26 May 2016 showcasing Dutch creative industries. The focus is put particularly on estuary and maritime technology, innovation and sustainability. The exhibition, entitled "the Netherlands: resourceful & future-proof", is being held in cooperation with the Dutch Presidency of the EU and will run until 24 June 2016 in the Foyer 6 of the JDE building.
The idea of "nudging" starts from the assumption that behavioural sciences can help decision makers get public policies right. Nudging implies indirectly influence people's choice with very limited, easily implemented, sometimes very unexpected, signals to deliver massive effects, without forbidding anything. It assumes that individuals are not perfectly rational and involves small and cheap incentives for them to change their behaviour in a specific field; it can be applied in a wide range of contexts, including public policies. The European Commission created a "Foresight and Behavioural insights Unit" within the Joint Research Centre. The purpose of this own-initiative opinion is to explore how the nudge theory could help European policies be more effective, in particular under a sustainable development angle.
The agro-food supply chain connects important and diverse sectors of the European economy that are essential for economic, social and environmental welfare as well as for the health of European citizens. Over recent years, there has been a shift in bargaining power in the supply chain, mostly to the advantage of the retail sector and to the detriment of primary producers. The position of the most vulnerable actors, such as farmers, should therefore be addressed, in particular by ensuring that prices that allow the farmer to make a fair profit are paid throughout the agro-food supply chain and by putting an end to unfair trading practices.
In view of the ongoing TTIP negotiations, the EESC is organising a seminar, whose main purpose will be to be to assess the need for an energy chapter in the TTIP, in particular after the lifting of the US restrictions on crude oil exports and the impact that such a chapter might have on trade of energy goods and services, and on environmental and energy policies both in the EU and the US. Main topics: a) the impact of TTIP on the EU energy market and security of energy supplies; b) the possibility to foster a more transparent, predictable, open and non-discriminatory framework for traders and investors in energy and raw materials, by improving transparency and competition in the energy sector; c) an energy chapter in TTIP as a model to shape energy relations with other countries; d) the impact on trade in environmental goods, renewable energy and energy efficiency, aiming at contributing to the achievement of SDGs and climate change targets.