On behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee and all my colleagues, I wish to express our sorrow and indignation at the cowardly and barbaric attacks carried out in Barcelona and the Catalonia Region. Once again, a handful of odious individuals serving the cause of hatred and annihilation have sown the seeds of suffering and death, targeting European civil society without the slightest scruple.
The new Commission proposal seeks to provide clarity and assurances with regard to benefits to which workers working abroad are entitled, but some of the issues have not been adequately addressed, the EESC says.
The labour market of the future will look for workers with digital and entrepreneurial skills and will also seek creativity. As a result ...
The EESC adopted its contribution to the European Commission's 2018 Work Programme on 5 July 2017. In this contribution, the EESC calls on the Commission to adopt sustainable development as an overarching approach to its work programme, with reference to the three "pillars" of sustainability: i) strengthening the economic foundations of Europe; ii) fostering its social dimension; and iii) facilitating the transition towards a low-carbon and circular economy.
In the framework of the Estonian EU Presidency, the EESC is hosting an exhibition of pictures by photographers Aivar Pihelgas, Jaanus Ree, Ilmārs Znotinš, Jelena Rudi, Sven Začek and Rene Mitt, featuring scenes from one of the biggest amateur choral events in the world, involving thousands of choir singers and dancers dressed in colourful national garments.
In the second half of 2017, Estonia will take on the presidency of the EU Council for the first time.
The EESC has launched its 2017 Civil Society Prize. This year, the EESC will reward innovative projects to promote quality employment and entrepreneurship for the future...
Future of Europe: the EESC engages itself in the debate and takes stance.
The EESC is actively engaged in the current debate on the future of Europe with a view to...
In its Opinion, the EESC draws attention to significant inefficiencies still existing in both the formulation and implementation of SME policies, warns against a bureaucratic approach still prevalent in EU policies and calls for a visible, coordinated and consistent horizontal policy for SMEs, based on a multiannual action plan. The EESC also proposes that the Commission assess whether the current definition of SMEs corresponds to their heterogeneity, sectoral dynamics, specific features and diversity during the last decade.
In its opinion the EESC underlines that the social economy is a key player and helps to achieve the objectives of all European policies with an external dimension: external and security policy, trade policy, neighbourhood policy, climate change policy, development cooperation and sustainable development policy. However, the lack of an appropriate regulatory environment, at both European and national level, prevents this sector from developing its full potential and maximising its impact.
The EESC welcomes the package on the modernisation of VAT on cross-border e-commerce, and endorses both its objectives and its focus on addressing the concerns of SMEs. The Committee welcomes the proposed extension of the MOSS to goods as it creates conditions for the possible removal of the Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) scheme. Furthermore, the amendments to the VAT rates applicable to e-publications rules would eliminate the distinction between physical and non-physical publications, and ensure neutrality in this market.
Rural development is a horizontal issue that affects practically all policy areas.
The EESC welcomes the Cork 2.0 Declaration that offers strong ongoing support for a rural policy at EU level. The EESC sees itself as a natural partner when it comes to implementing the declaration, and requests that the Commission continue producing progress reports on said implementation.
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 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.
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.
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.