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.
In this opinion, the EESC underlines that the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights should be based on concreteness and tangibility, with actions that are measurable and accompanied by monitoring frameworks jointly agreed among relevant stakeholders and encompassing the social, environmental, and economic criteria. The EESC acknowledges the diversity and the common basis of social models across the EU. Competitiveness and higher productivity based on skills and knowledge are a sound recipe for maintaining the well-being of European societies. The EESC further believes that greater efforts can be made at EU and Member State level in the area of combating poverty, in line with the first Sustainable Development Goal under the UN 2030 Agenda.
In this opinion the EESC:
- Welcomes Europe's Beating Cancer Plan as a milestone in the fight against cancer and calls for a concrete roadmap for its implementation, with performance indicators, realistic timeframes and close involvement of Social Partners (SP) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO).
- Considers important that the EU and Member States ensure the availability of igh-quality, accessible healthcare infrastructure and effective support systems for patients' physical and mental well-being.
- Asks for the negative consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in accessing to health services to be urgently addressed, recognising as well the supportive role SP and CSO can play in this area.
In its own-initiative opinion, the EESC examines 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 aims 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.
The opinion, presenting EESC's position on the four proposals of the Health package published by the European Commission in November 2020, supports and welcomes these initiatives but draws the attention on some elements.
- The EU and Member States should ensure that everyone has equal access to quality, well staffed, well equipped health and social services. This is particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has deepened existing inequalities.
- Special attention in future EU policies should be given to healthcare workers and the need to improve working conditions, including pay, recruitment and retention, as well as their health and safety.
- The new EU health package should be combined with the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), particularly its principles 12, 16, 17 and 18 and the Action Plan on the EPSR. It should also be part of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.