European Green Deal
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On 11 December 2019, the European Commission launched the European Green Deal reinforcing the EU’s commitment to tackling climate and environmental-related challenges that is this generation’s defining task. The objective of the European Green Deal is to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, ensuring:
- no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050;
- economic growth decoupled from resource use;
- no person and no place left behind.
To deliver the European Green Deal, the EU is carrying out a comprehensive package of initiatives, including policy and legislative proposals and the development and modernisation of financing instruments.
The EESC has been calling for a "Green and Social Deal", stressing the close link between the Green Deal and social justice. It is essential to hear the voice of all stakeholders in order to foster the sustainable and competitive companies of tomorrow in a healthy environment.
The European Green Deal placed a strong emphasis on investment and the financing of the green and sustainable transition. The Green Deal is Europe’s lifeline out of the COVID-19 pandemic. One third of the 1.8 trillion euro investments from the NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan, and the EU’s seven-year budget finances the European Green Deal. This boost in funding opportunities aims to turn the crisis into a transformational opportunity for the future of Europe.
The EESC plays a crucial role in monitoring the implementation of the European Green Deal initiatives and actions. The EESC prepares opinions and organises activities (see side menu on the left of this page) to ensure the EU institutions take into account the views of organised civil society and the Green Deal initiatives are coherent with the economic, social and civic circumstances on the ground.
Due to the transversal and all-encompassing nature, the European Green Deal is covered by all EESC Sections and CCMI.
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.
On 5 February 2020, the European Commission published its Communication Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans, proposing a new methodology for candidate countries of the Western Balkans with the objective to render the accession process more coherent, respond to concerns of certain Member States expressed in October 2019 and enable the enlargement process to continue.
This exploratory opinion was requested by the European Parliament with a view to a forthcoming Commission initiative on fair minimum wages. The question of Decent minimum wages across Europe is a complex and sensitive issue. It is important that any EU action is based on accurate analysis and understanding of the situation and sensitivities in the Member States and fully respects the social partners' role and autonomy, as well as the different industrial relations models.
Disruptions like coronavirus (COVID-19) threaten to bring the world economy and social life to a standstill. Its impacts include recessions in the USA, the EU, Japan and other regions of the world, extremely slow growth in China and huge losses in terms of output. Governments have to offset economic damage with fiscal and monetary policies and cope with the expected changes of the economic paradigm. The EESC stresses the need for efficient business models and trade defence mechanisms, in particular with regard to Asia, and notes that 36 million jobs in the EU depend on the EU's exporting potential, and that the share of EU employment supported by sales of goods and services to the rest of the world in relation to total employment increased from 10.1% in 2000 to 15.3% in 2017. The fiscal, economic and social response to the crisis is necessary for preventing its negative impact on these and other sectors.
advies EESC: Fostering competitiveness, innovation, growth and job creation by advancing in global regulatory cooperation, by supporting a renewed multilateral trading scheme and by reducing market-distorting subsidies (own-initiative opinion)
The unprecedented magnitude of the COVID crisis requires an unprecedented, long-term and unequivocal response. International trade is a vital tool to finance recovery ge get out of the crisis. In these efforts, the EU must stay true to its values and ensure the protection of businesses, workers and people, leaving no one behind. Recovery must be based on sustainability, and inclusive and green growth. Green Deal measures are therefore more relevant than ever.
The Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan focuses on sustainable products, less waste, product value chains, and circularity in regions and cities, and the global level.