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Opinions in the spotlight

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06/07/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
INT/787-EESC-2016-EESC-2016-03121-00-00-AC
Plenary session: 
527 -
Jul 05, 2017 Jul 06, 2017

 

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.

EESC opinion: Effectiveness of policies for SMEs

06/07/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
TEN/605-EESC-2016
Plenary session: 
527 -
Jul 05, 2017 Jul 06, 2017

EESC opinion: Application of State aid rules for compensating the provision of services of general economic interest (Decision 2012/21/UE and Community Framework)

05/07/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
REX/472-EESC-2017
Plenary session: 
527 -
Jul 05, 2017 Jul 06, 2017

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 external dimension of social economy

28/06/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
ECO/421-EESC-2016-06737-00-00-ac-tra
Plenary session: 
527 -
Jul 05, 2017 Jul 06, 2017

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.

EESC opinion: Digital Single Market VAT (e)-package (VAT on e-commerce, e-publications, e-books)

15/06/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
NAT/709-EESC-2017

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.

EESC opinion: From Cork 2.0 Declaration to concrete actions

01/06/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
TEN/625-EESC-2016
Plenary session: 
526 -
May 31, 2017 Jun 01, 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.

EESC opinion: Electricity Market Design

31/05/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
ECO/428-EESC-2017-00072-00-00-ac-tra
Plenary session: 
526 -
May 31, 2017 Jun 01, 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.

EESC opinion: VAT - derogation - reverse charge

31/05/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
INT/806-EESC-2016-05369-00-00-AC-TRA
Plenary session: 
526 -
May 31, 2017 Jun 01, 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.

EESC opinion: Artificial intelligence

31/05/2017
Adopted
Reference: 
CCMI/149-EESC-2017

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.

EESC opinion: European Defence Action Plan

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