On behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee I want to congratulate Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as Director-General of the World Trade Organization and I wish her a successful mandate. This appointment in itself brings wind of a much awaited change and marks a historic achievement.
At a high-level roundtable held by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Committee members and stakeholders stressed that renovation could help Europe emerge from the crisis, but that it needs to be accompanied by measures on poverty.
Despite being a party to the Aarhus Convention since 2005, the European Union is still not fully complying with its "access to justice" provisions. In its opinion adopted on 27 January, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the Commission's proposal to revise the EU Aarhus Regulation as a step forward in improving access to administrative and judicial review procedures in environmental matters for citizens and NGOs. However, the Commission does not go far enough. Civil society organisations are asking the EU for stronger enforcement mechanisms to deliver effectively on the Aarhus Convention and on the European Green Deal.
In response to the Commission Communication Stepping up Europe's 2030 climate ambition, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) reaffirms that the Commission's decision to raise the EU's ambition on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 is the right one. However, in its opinion Stepping up Europe's climate ambition, the EESC insists on increasing efforts to achieve the intermediate targets, speeding up the process and placing the European citizens at the centre of climate action. Failing this, the EU will be at risk of missing its climate-neutral goal by 2050.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) stresses that a greener and fairer economy is needed and that the EU Clean Hydrogen Strategy provides an opportunity to achieve exactly that.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is throwing its support behind the Commission's strategy for an integrated energy system but warns that the issue of security of supply using green energy sources remains unsolved.
The UN's special envoy on poverty, Olivier De Schutter, participated in the January plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), revealing the conclusions of his mission to the EU institutions. Despite growth and stability, poverty still remains an issue, leaving some 92 million people at risk.
In a debate with EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson at its plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed the New Pact on Migration and Asylum but criticised its lack of ambition and boldness. Too focused on borders and returns, the Pact proposes too few feasible solutions for a solidarity-based approach to migration management
In its opinion on the Euro area's economic policy for 2021, the European Economic and Social Committee welcomes the Commission's recommendations, but calls for a shift in fiscal rules towards a more prosperity-oriented form of economic governance, including a golden rule for public investment.
Highlights of the European Economic and Social Committee's January plenary
27-28 January 2021– EESC, Jacques Delors building and online