European young people say that greater opportunities for learning languages through travelling, more accessible European cultural sites and preserving our culture through national cuisine and crafts can inspire young Europeans to discover different cultures and gain a better understanding of our common cultural heritage. These recommendations to EU policymakers were suggested by 99 students from across Europe, who took part in the annual youth event Your Europe, Your Say (YEYS) 2018.
EESC rapporteur on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Catelijne Muller says the strategy, as outlined by Commissioner Ansip to the EESC's plenary on March 15, fully meets the Committee's call for the European Union to take global pole position in determining the framework for the responsible development and deployment of AI.
The EESC acknowledges the Commission's Communication Tackling Illegal Content Online – Towards and enhanced responsibility of online platforms as a first and useful step but is not satisfied with its scope. It therefore calls on the Commission to establish programmes and effective measures to provide a stable and consistent legal framework for the efficient removal of illegal content.
Social fairness and civil society participation must be at the heart of energy talks at all levels, from local to European. The first of the two "EESC Energy Days" organised in Brussels on 7 March 2018 discussed the state of play and future developments in EU energy policy.
The second "Energy Day" organised by the EESC in Brussels, on 8 March 2018, looked at the forthcoming changes to the current Gas Directive. In its proposal, the European Commission maintains that gas pipelines from and to third countries should comply with the core principles of existing EU legislation. Some civil society organisations, though, highlight the uncertainty that this new text would bring in legal, commercial and environmental terms.
The introduction of digitalisation in business is having a momentous impact on the production systems, labour conditions and organisational models of the labour market and the society in general. Quality basic education, high-standard and effective training, lifelong learning, up- and re-skilling for all will be the necessary tools for grasping the job opportunities of the future and fostering enterprise competitiveness.
Social sustainability is achieved through the reaffirmation of the role and value of the European social model, which represents the identity and specificity of our continent and which guarantees high social protection and citizenship rights for all. There is a clear connection between competitiveness, productivity and social sustainability: all stakeholders must commit themselves to promoting inclusive growth and at the same time foster conditions that are favourable for the world of enterprise, with the aim of creating more and better jobs.
The EESC supports the proposal to increase the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) budget and to include a dedicated reform delivery tool for the "reform commitments". Priority should go to the reforms that have direct spill-over effects on the other Member States. While the increase in the SRPS budget is welcomed, its scale is insufficient considering the growing number of requests from the Member States. Special attention should be given to non-eurozone Member States that are on track to join the euro area.
Illegal online content is a complex and cross-cutting issue that needs to be tackled from a range of perspectives, both in terms of assessing its impact and harmonising the way it is dealt with in the legal framework of the Member States.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal for a definitive VAT system and calls upon the Member States to cooperate closely for reaching the agreement regarding the new system. The Committee stresses that the quick fixes proposed by the Commission are important as intermediary steps for the functioning of the VAT system and encourages the Member States to adopt the quick fixes for all businesses.
The EESC welcomes the new set of measures proposed by the European Commission to complete the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and move towards an optimal monetary zone. The EESC supports the various proposed goals for reinforcing the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM). The EESC welcomes that the present communication provides scope for a broader discussion and for a phased approach to implementing the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) and underlines the importance not to lose momentum in implementing the Banking Union.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals that are a new, important step in the efforts to achieve greater integration and convergence by increasing integrated supervision and provide new building blocks for the realisation of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) in the EU. A smoothly operating CMU can make an important contribution to private, cross-border risk-sharing. The challenge is to find the right balance between the competences of national and European supervisors and, where possible, to apply the subsidiarity and proportionality principles.
The Commission's proposal on the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union represents one of the most important legal aspects of the future European policy for developing the data economy and its repercussions on economic growth, scientific research, industry and services in general and public services in particular.
This opinion is on the Annual Growth Survey 2018 (AGS), which establishes the main economic priorities and provides policy guidance for the following year. The European Commission published the 2018 AGS on 22 November 2017 as part of the European Semester Autumn Package.