At its plenary session in July, the European Economic and Social Committee presented proposals for the economic agenda of the upcoming legislative period (2019-2024) and recommended that they should form the basis of a new European economic strategy. The Committee's proposals seek to develop more resilient and sustainable EU economic policies within an improved governance framework for the Economic and Monetary Union.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the EU action plan on batteries put together by the European Commission but points out that it needs to be stepped up and implemented swiftly.
Given the sensitivities of qualified majority voting in tax matters, the European Economic and Social Committee supports the European Commission's ambition to kick-start a debate on how to reform decision-making in EU tax policy.
At its plenary session on 18 July, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a debate with Conny Reuter, co-chair of the EESC's Liaison Group with European civil society organisations and networks.
545th plenary session, with the following speakers : Aino-Kaisa PEKONEN, Finnish Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Thursday 18 at 10.30, and Conny REUTER, Co-Chair of Liaison Group of the EESC, Thursday 18 at 11.30.
The 18 July plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels played host to PR 35/2019, Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, who presented the programme of the Finnish EU presidency. This includes a special focus on sustainability and the wellbeing of citizens. Minister Pekonen also listed enhancing the rule of law and EU values among its other priorities.
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Applications for 2019 are now open
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has launched its Civil Society Prize for 2019. This year's theme is More women in Europe's society and economy, and the prize will honour innovative initiatives and projects which aim to fight for equal opportunities for women and men and their equal treatment in all spheres of economic and social life.
The EESC takes note of the Fourth Report on the State of the Energy Union (SEU), supports the objectives of the Energy Union and welcomes the emphasis on the engagement and mobilisation of EU society to take full ownership of the Energy Union.
The EESC calls for a strategic shift at all levels to unequivocally promote new models of circularity, not only by stepping up the alignment of all actors, but also by placing consumers at the centre of public policy.
The EESC believes that the practical applications of blockchain technologies can significantly improve the performance of social economy organisations, benefiting them, their members and, above all, their end users. Besides, the EESC believes that real involvement of social economy and civil society organisations is imperative to ensure that the huge opportunities offered by the new technologies are geared towards delivering benefits, access, transparency and participation for all, and not just for a new "digital economy elite".
The EESC welcomes the Investment Plan for Europe for its contribution to the promotion of investment in the EU. The Committee calls for clearly set investment targets, regulatory simplification and further guidance in order to achieve greater geographical and sectoral balance. The EESC advocates for strengthened financial capacity for the InvestEU programme within the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and calls for more efforts to raise awareness among European businesses and citizens about the benefits obtained from the Investment Plan for Europe.
The EESC supports the Commission's ambition to kick-start a necessary debate, given the sensitivities of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in tax matters. At the same time, the EESC considers that there are certain conditions that would need to be met for QMV to be successfully implemented. The EESC is aware that tax policy has always been closely linked to the sovereignty of Member States, as it is of utmost importance to them.
The absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
Although considerable progress has already been made towards completing EMU, there is still a need to significantly reinforce all four of its pillars, taking care to maintain the balance between them, as neglecting one or more of these pillars could result in dangerous disparities. Resilience to crises is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for completing EMU: it also requires a positive vision, as set out in Article 3 of the EU Treaty.