On 4th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section is on mission to the island of Samsø (Denmark), with the objective to evaluate the islands' smart projects developed in the area of energy autonomy.
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On 29 April 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in La Rochelle to discover some of the inspirational smart city initiatives that have been implemented so far.
The delegation had the opportunity to make a technical visit to find out, inter alia, about the Atlantech project.
On 20th April 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the Egadi Islands (IT), with the objective to evaluate the islands' use of local resources. With 54 000 hectares, the Egadi Islands constitute the most important marine reserve of the EU. Welcomed by M Giuseppe Pagoto, Mayor of Favignana and M Stefano Donati, Director of the Protected Marine Area of the Egadi Islands, EESC Members had a fruitful exchange of views with local stakeholders including citizens. The EESC delegation visited four projects developed in the island: a photovoltaic plant managed by the municipality, the Posidonia's pilot project managed by the Protected Marine Area, a marine rescue centre opened to fishermen, the conversion of an old tuna factory into a museum of archaeology supported by the Region of Sicilia, and a project combining water supply and waste reduction.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is currently preparing an own initiative opinion on "The impact of the conclusions of COP21 on European transport policy". A hearing was organized in order to gather relevant views on this issue and shape concrete proposals to inform the EESC's forthcoming opinion.
On 30 March 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in Genoa to discover some of the very inspiring smart city initiatives that have been implemented there. The Municipality of Genoa is investing in its ‘vision’ of a city able to recognise and manage its own unique complexities, through the implementation of an intelligent, integrated and sustainable urban system, which identifies and enhances its own cultural, economic, productive and environmental characteristics, thus helping to develop a compatible and attractive natural urban fabric. Genoa has an ‘experimental’ vocation and sees itself as a laboratory in which to develop an innovative and technological approach designed to meet the city’s real needs, including in partnership with other Smart Cities.
The Energy Union has been identified as one of the ten key priorities of the current European Commission. This ambitious policy programme – with the aim of creating a European energy system that delivers secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy to Europe's citizens – has been launched in February 2015 and has already resulted in various policy initiatives.
The EESC has received a request from the incoming Dutch EU Presidency for an exploratory opinion on how to achieve more sustainable food systems in a resource-constrained world. In the past few years, civil society has been increasingly concerned about the environmental, economic and social impact of unsustainable food chains. Globally, about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Food is also one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures. The hearing will represent an opportunity to hear from experts and stakeholders about their views and initiatives for a transition to more sustainable food systems in Europe. The discussion will take a holistic and systemic approach by considering the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability and the importance of cross-sectoral co-operation across the food supply chain.
The European Energy Union (EEU) is one of the key priorities of the European Commission. Launched in early 2015, the EEU programme has already resulted in various initiatives. Specifically, the public hearing will – from a stakeholder and expert perspective – be examining whether the governance process underlying the Energy Union programme is inclusive enough and how a wider set of participants may improve governance quality.
The European Commission released in December 2015 the new version of the circular economy package. Its aim is to help the European economy move from linear to circular, more resource-efficient patterns, by ensuring that less resources are extracted from our natural environment and less waste is produced at the end of the product lifecycle. The package focuses on better design of products, improved waste management and recycling performance of EU Member States and the growth and job creation potential of the circular economy. It includes an Action Plan with a specific timeline up until 2017 on production aspects as well as a series of modifications to the waste legislation.
With tens of millions of people already displaced, and 250 million to one billion people expected to be displaced by climate change by 2050, citizens and present and future policy makers need to be informed about the causes and consequences of climate migration. Both the United Nations and the recent Paris Agreement recognize the urgency of this problem and call for awareness and appropriate action. We young Europeans share this sense of urgency, and therefore we organize the conference 'The challenge of Climate Migration: a EU perspective'.