The EESC supports the intention of the Dutch Presidency of the Council to address poverty through integrated approaches and through cooperation between public and private stakeholders. However, to do so, Member States must be supported by a common European framework and best-practice actors by national anti-poverty strategies. The EU Council should reiterate the commitment made to meet Europe's poverty target by 2020.
As the recovery of Europe's economies remains sluggish and fragile and the level of investment remains low, it should be a matter of priority to deploy every possible means to achieve a robust and stable economy. The Committee therefore endorses the goals of the action plan i.e. to mobilise capital in Europe and channel it to all companies, infrastructure and long-term projects. The Committee has serious concerns, however, regarding the relevance and effectiveness of the capital markets union for SMEs. They must be able to choose the funding channels that suit them best. At the same time the EU's economic and financial stability should be one of the priorities of the capital markets union. There should thus be more simplification, transparency and comparability of financial instruments.
The EESC welcomes the proposals to establish a system of "simple, transparent and standardised" securitisation (STS securitisations), that should enable significant additional resources to be generated for bank funding. That is very important, for SMEs and households in particular. There should be clarity as to the risk involved and who bears that risk, taking account of the whole chain from the issuer to the investor. It is important now is that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Small investors and consumers should not have access to securitisation due to the complexity and risk involved, the Committee calls for a formal prohibition to be explicitly included in the texts.
The EESC recognizes the importance of a new energy market design for achieving the ambitious climate-related policy goals of the European Union, most notably the expansion of renewable energy. The Committee acknowledges that many of the measures proposed by the European Commission in its Communication, such as the establishment of intraday markets or the removal of market-distorting national regulations, are steps in the right direction. However, the EESC would like the Commission to be more ambitious, in particular in terms of ensuring that energy prices become more transparent and reflect actual generation and external costs, consumers receiving adequate information and resources to become active market participants, and obstacles to market access for emerging local 'prosumers' being identified and removed.
The EESC welcomes the stated aims of the EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling , namely "to counter and prevent migrant smuggling, while ensuring the protection of human rights of migrants" and "to address the root causes of irregular migration", and supports the Action Plan's efforts to disrupt organised criminal networks through intelligence-led and financial investigations, to put an end to money laundering and to confiscate the assets of illicit activities. However it strongly recommends that the plan adopts a more balanced and comprehensive approach by detailing how the EU will protect and assist those who are smuggled.
Delivering on the European Agenda on Migration from May, the European Commission has put forward a comprehensive package of proposals which should help address the refugee crisis by alleviating pressure from the most affected Member States. One of the measures announced was a Permanent Relocation Mechanism for all Member States.
The refugee crisis in the EU has reached the point at which the founding principles of human rights protection and democracy are being called into question. Despite the difficulties, EESC strongly believes that these principles must be upheld and properly implemented. The crisis relocation mechanism is a concrete example of cooperation based on solidarity and responsibility. However, the EESC wishes to have this relocation mechanism and other similar initiatives included as part of a general strategy in order to ensure coherence and efficiency.
On 13 May, the European Commission presented a European Agenda on Migration outlining the immediate measures that will be taken in order to respond to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean as well as the steps to be taken in the coming years to better manage migration in all its aspects. The EESC welcomes the Commission's "European Agenda on Migration", which it believes symbolises a new-found understanding of the need to address migration at a European level, and encourages the Member States to collectively support the implementation of this Agenda.
The EESC expresses its support for the Commission in combating the erosion of Member States' tax bases and unfair tax competition. The Committee in this context endorses the introduction of a CCCTB and is also pleased that the Commission has published a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. The EESC goes even further and proposes that EU rules should include sanctions for companies that continue to run their business through tax havens.
The EESC supports the European Digital Single Market Strategy proposed by the Juncker Commission, which is an extension of existing digital strategies and programmes. Its intention is to end the fragmentation of European digital policy into 28 strategies and national digital markets and merge them within a European approach, so as to guarantee a leading position for the EU in the global digital economy, a privilege that has become the preserve of third countries.
The EESC is convinced that the European Union, which has at its disposal excellent skills and considerable experience in certain aspects of digital technology, can still catch up. With this in mind, the EESC strongly recommends developing multidisciplinary research poles and European synergies in the European Research Area, in spheres such as cloud computing, nano-electronics, the storage and processing of big data, appliances that can be consulted or controlled remotely (connected objects), and smart services.
The EESC regrets the absence of a social dimension in the digital strategy (with the exception of issues related to digital skills), as the development of business services and models will lead to profound changes in the labour market. The EESC considers it necessary to take into account not only potential benefits but also the many risks and challenges, particularly in the fields of security, work organisation and social security. Furthermore, the procedures laid down in the treaty regarding social dialogue and the horizontal social clause must take their place in the Digital Single Market Strategy. The EESC believes that the social dimension, with all its implications for employment, should form the fourth pillar of the European Digital Single Market Strategy.
The EESC recognises the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to thoroughly simplify common agricultural policy (CAP) implementation and that it has already proposed, and will continue to propose, the simplification of certain Commission acts, making EU legislation easier to understand and to implement on the ground. The EESC believes that increased transparency and legal certainty, and the reduction of unnecessary administration and associated costs for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations, is a necessary part of the simplification process.