19 February, European Parliament, Brussels – With their welcoming words the European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli and Croatian Parliament Deputy Speaker opened the panel debate on combating climate change and the role of economic, fiscal and social policies in these efforts.
Speaking on the global perspective, Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance of the United Nations Mark Carney said it was necessary to build a system that needed to do more to harness the full potential of the fight against climate change. - A global perspective on a just transition to 'green jobs' is impossible without a just transition, said Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO) Guy Ryder. - Ensuring a credible plan that will lead us into a new future is the task of both the EU and the International Labour Office. We have a good foundation for deepening historical cooperation, he concluded.
Vice President of the European Investment Bank Emma Navarro highlighted the key role of the EP and national parliaments in the transition to a climate-neutral economy. - There must be a fair and equitable climate transition that will leave no one behind. Funding is key to climate change, she concluded, adding that sustainability must be at the heart of how we invest.
- Croatia welcomes the European Green Deal as a document that covers all economic sectors and which, in addition to the plan on climate neutrality, must also be seen as a plan for transforming the European economy, said Žarko Tušek, adding that the ecological transition was an opportunity for new economic momentum, the development of industry through increased investment in eco-innovation, the development of green technologies and products, and the adaptation of businesses to the increasingly EU green market.
All actors, from the public to the private sector, need to include green benchmarks in their operations, for example in public procurement procedures, to ensure sustainable consumption and production and sustainable jobs, with a more energy efficient economy. A major challenge on the path to climate neutrality is also securing sufficient energy. Croatia, as a small country, sees its opportunity in terms of energy potential, as it has an optimal position for maximum utilization of solar energy, as the cheapest energy product at EU level. Each country should prioritize the potentials that it has the most.
The Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Croatian Parliament, Domagoj Ivan Milošević, who co-chaired the plenary session, in his final remarks noted that this topic was close to everyone, regardless of political choices. Climate change affects a wide range of areas, from quality of life, economy to migration. At the moment, the European Union has the opportunity and responsibility to become a global leader in the fight against climate change. This, he stressed, should not be carried out at the expense of the competitiveness and cost of doing business of small and medium-sized enterprises. - It is necessary to get together with other international partners and get as wide support as possible, he said.
Executive Vice-President of the Commission Valdis Dombrovskis presented the “Sustainable Europe Investment Plan”.
Chair of the Labour, Retirement System and Social Partnership Committee of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Maras together with Dita Charanzová, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, co-chaired a plenary session titled: Skills and jobs for inclusive growth: What can we learn from each other’s experiences?
The European Commission's priorities in this area were presented by the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit. National experiences were exchanged by Merja Kyllönen, Grand Committee, Parliament of Finland, Claudia Müller Member of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy of the German Bundestag and Ante Babić, Member of the Labour, Retirement System and Social Partnership Committee, Croatian Parliament. - Dynamic technological development, globalization, demographic change and an aging population are changing many social aspects, including the world of work. The new age also implies new technologies and new trends, such as robotics, virtual reality or artificial intelligence. This fundamentally changes the world and the way we cooperate, it changes our work environment, social relations, and the public and private sector, MP Babić said in his intervention, adding that the process in Europe, and in Croatia, was reflected in the growing demand for skilled workers in all sectors of the economy. In addition to formal education, the modern world of work seeks additional skills, ranging from general skills, to digital literacy and specific professional expertise. Only an innovative and competitive workforce can drive productivity and economic growth today, he noted.
Referring to the demographic crisis facing Europe, Member of the Committee on the Economy of the Croatian Parliament, Žarko Tušek, said during the debate that, with the measures implemented by the states, we certainly needed to sensitize economic operators, employers, to the importance of a pro-natal policy for the continued sustainability of the system. He also stressed that employers should place emphasis on taking some of the responsibility for this area, such as developing and introducing family-friendly measures in their businesses, such as autonomous rescheduling of working hours, work from home, exercise of leave entitlements, etc.
Member of the Finance and Central Budget Committee of the Croatian Parliament Božica Makar spoke about the educational purposes in the field of Digital Single Market. She stressed that the lack of digital skills has already been hampering the innovation and economic growth of the European Union and that more needed to be invested in targeted education for the unemployed and the less employable. She particularly highlighted the traineeship, apprenticeship and short-term training courses. - In addition, awareness of the importance of digital skills for employment and competitiveness is needed in all sections of society, she said.
In his closing remarks, Maras MP said he was sure that was not the last discussion on the subject. The debate will continue, and most importantly, we are helping each other to create a better quality labour market in the European Union, which all our citizens will benefit from, he stressed.