The digital revolution is bringing about changes in modes of production and patterns of consumption, in how we understand the world, in how we govern, and even in how we live together in society. The digital economy is, however, a double-edged sword. It presents risks as well as opportunities, and chances for inclusion as well as exclusion; it provides new prospects for growth within our territory, for us as well as for international players preying on our markets.Concrete action is needed to tip the scales on the positive side.
FORSKNING OCH INNOVATION - Related Events
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 conference aimed to highlight work undertaken by the EESC and the GO4 projects’ Consortiums and stimulate debate between representatives of the main stakeholder groups involved in research and innovation. The interplay between RRI and Commissioner Carlos Moedas’ key priorities of “Open Innovation, Open Science and Openness to the World”, has be addressed. RRI also has contributions to make to the current European Commission’s 10 high-level priorities (from a new boost for jobs, to democratic governance).
The Go4 projects were ready to present their findings, conceptual developments, concrete messages and policy recommendations to contribute to the development of evidence-based research policy in Europe and its member states. By highlighting current practice and factors that influence the success of RRI, the conference has provided insights into good practice that can be the basis of future policy.
Rewarding enterprises that can demonstrate higher ethical performance
The conference is around the merits and the applicability of a concept for a new sustainable economic model based on core values such as solidarity, human dignity, social justice, environmental sustainability, transparency and democratic participation. This "Economy for the Common Good" is thought to contribute to the transition towards a "European Ethical Market" which will foster social innovation, boost the employment rate and benefit the environment. This model is to be realised within the market economy, it is not opposed to the market economy.
Islands have special characteristics and therefore face particular problems. However, their very specific situation can also offer opportunities if, with the necessary effort from all parties concerned, policies are developed and implemented which create sustainable growth and, at the same time, job opportunities for the young generation, competiveness and innovation, whilst respecting the environment and cultural heritage. This conference is foreseen in the Smart Islands project, and is aimed at showcasing and discussing best practices to help islands develop in a sustainable and "smart" manner.
The ex-post evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development (2007-2013) (FP7) was due to be completed by end-2015. Evaluations gathered evidence to assess how well a specific intervention performed and draw conclusions on whether the EU intervention continues to be justified or should be modified.
With a view to ensuring the transparency of the evaluation process and to allow for a wide range of views to be considered, the Commission launched an online public consultation, which ran from February to May 2015.
Further to the analysis of the responses to the public consultation, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee organized an event to present the results of the FP7 public consultation and to provide a forum for a further exchange of views. This was be held at the EESC premises, in Brussels, on 27 October 2015