The purpose of the opinion is to examine the extent to which existing EU company law currently serves as an "expedient" for the politically-desirable Green Deal and which gaps still need to be closed, in particular regarding corporate social responsibility obligations. The opinion will aim at following-up on the European Commission's initiative on due diligence and broadening the debate on sustainable corporate governance interlinking the social, environmental and economic dimensions.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The aim of this opinion is to promote European legislation on circular public procurement, through convergence between the main purpose of the contract and environmental protection, greater attention to small and micro-enterprises, local production and the protection of social rights. This can be achieved by looking for and favouring solutions with a lower impact on the environment throughout their lifespan.
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.
A system of corporate liability for human rights abuses is currently being negotiated in the UN, within the UNHRC’s open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises concerning human rights (OEIGWG), established by the UN General Assembly on 26 June 2014. The mandate of the working group is to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
When it comes to development and EU-Africa relations, the EESC consistently emphasised the importance of sustainable development and cooperation based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Initiatives focused on trade, investment and business relations with Africa could be welcomed, but not to the detriment of traditional development policies focusing on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EU and Africa leaders agreed in 2015 at the Valletta summit on migration on setting up the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), as the main instrument of EU external migration policy. The Fund finances the development of border protection capacities, but also long-term development policy projects so as to decrease the likelihood of further migration.
Against a background of rising poverty levels during the crisis, levels that remain high in many Member States, in particular among the unemployed, this own-initiative opinion would address the huge differences in levels of protection under national unemployment insurance systems within the EU.
Possible standards in this respect could be:
- a minimum standard for the net replacement rate of unemployment benefits;
- a minimum standard of coverage ratio of unemployed people receiving unemployment payments;
- a minimum standard for the duration of unemployment benefit entitlement;
- a right to (re)qualification and training
With the objective of promoting upward social convergence within the EU, the proposal for such standards is a concrete step towards effective implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights recently announced by the EU institutions in Gothenburg.
An effective and principled competition policy to be one of the pillars of the European Union and an essential tool in achieving the internal market, pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the construction of a social market economy and the content of the Social Pillar. In the 2018 report on Competition Policy 2018, the European Commission develops an approach aimed at strengthening the Single Market, economic development and social policy objectives.
AI systems must comply with existing legislation. It is important to identify which challenges can be met by means of codes of ethics, self-regulation and voluntary commitments and which need to be tackled by regulation and legislation supported by oversight and, in the event of non-compliance, penalties.