Opinions and Other Work

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  • 1 Jun 2017
    Electricity Market Design Adopted References: TEN/625 EESC-2016 Referral - Rapporteur: Mr Alfred GAJDOSIK (Various interests - GR III / Austria) Plenary Session: 526 - 31 May 2017 - 1 Jun 2017

    The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal for a new market design, a risk preparedness regulation and the new organisation of the energy regulators' cooperation. The Committee highlights that well-functioning electricity markets are a precondition for fulfilling the goals of the Energy Union. For the markets to function well, significant changes in the market design are necessary, particularly due to the increasing use of variable renewable electricity. The EESC appreciates the general approach of the market design package, especially the goals of putting consumers at the heart of the energy market, increasing electricity supply and strengthening regional cooperation.

  • 31 May 2017
    VAT - derogation - reverse charge Adopted References: ECO/428 EESC-2017-00072-00-00-ac-tra Referral - Rapporteur: Giuseppe GUERINI (Various interests - GR III / Italy) Plenary Session: 526 - 31 May 2017 - 1 Jun 2017

    The EESC supports the measures that the European Union has put in place to tackle all forms of tax fraud and takes the view that the reverse charge mechanism for collecting value added tax (VAT) may be a useful tool in countering carousel fraud and VAT evasion. However, the use of the reverse charge mechanism, which is a derogation from the established principles on VAT, must not be allowed to harm the internal market and it must be temporary and properly assessed by the Commission.

    The Committee furthermore recommends focusing particular attention on the proportionality principle, as the cost of compliance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) related to introducing a reverse charge mechanism could be considerable.

  • 31 May 2017
    Artificial intelligence Adopted References: INT/806 EESC-2016-05369-00-00-AC-TRA Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ms Catelijne Muller (Workers - GR II / Netherlands) Plenary Session: 526 - 31 May 2017 - 1 Jun 2017

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies offer great potential for creating new and innovative solutions to improve peoples lives, grow the economy, and address challenges in health and wellbeing, climate change, safety and security.

    Like any disruptive technology, however, AI carries risks and presents complex societal challenges in several areas such as labour, safety, privacy, ethics, skills and so on.

    A broad approach towards AI, covering all its effects (good and bad) on society as a whole, is crucial. Especially in a time where developments are accellerating.

  • 31 May 2017
    Erasmus+ mid-term evaluation Adopted References: SOC/552 EESC-2016-05623-00-02-ri-tra Referral Rapporteur: Vareikytė (Various interests - GR III / Lithuania) Co-rapporteur: Babrauskienė (Workers - GR II / Lithuania) Plenary Session: 526 - 31 May 2017 - 1 Jun 2017 (Summary Plenary Session)

    The EESC has been asked by the European Commission to contribute to the EC's mid-term evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme. In this context, two questionnaires were widely disseminated by the EESC in the member states and four fact-finding missions have been organised. The EESC also held an expert hearing to collect the views of specialised civil society organisations. An information report has been drafted containing the results of this exercise, accompanied by a detailed technical appendix containing important data on the awareness and perception of the programme. The aim of this evaluation was to provide information to the EC on the experience of civil society organisations with the enlarged and improved programme.

    According to the information report it is necessary: to better disseminate information and to increase awareness within national political circles; to review the lump sum system and travel rates; to recognize the experiences acquired; to improve the participation of civil society at the programme management level; and to ensure that background, disability or geographical location are not obstacles to participation.

  • 31 May 2017
    European Defence Action Plan Adopted References: CCMI/149 EESC-2017 Referral Rapporteur: Christian MOOS (Various interests - GR III / Germany) Co-rapporteur: Jan PIE (Employers - GR I / Sweden)

    President Juncker stressed in his 2016 State of the Union Speech the need for a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. Taking greater responsibility for their security means that Europeans must invest in the development of key defence capabilities to be able to deter, respond and protect themselves against external threats. The European Union must demonstrate that it can act as a provider of hard as well as soft security, addressing calls for greater solidarity in security and defence. The Bratislava roadmap, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have also recently underlined this priority.

  • 31 May 2017
    State of the Energy Union 2016 Adopted References: TEN/626 EESC-2016 Referral - Rapporteur: Ms Tellervo Kyla-Harakka-Ruonala (Employers - GR I / Finland) Plenary Session: 526 - 31 May 2017 - 1 Jun 2017

    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the Second Report on the State of the Energy Union as part of the process of monitoring the implementation and development of the Energy Union strategy. The Committee approaches the report from three different angles in its opinion: first, it comments on the idea of the Energy Union itself; secondly, it analyses the progress made towards achieving the Energy Union's objectives; and lastly, it examines the monitoring and reporting undertaken for the State of the Energy Union.

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