The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the European Commission's proposals regarding its Action Plan on VAT, which aim to modernise the EU Value Added Tax (VAT) system, at the same time calling for some modifications.
Top EU leaders debating future of Europe agree civic space is and must remain key to European democracy
In his speech on the occasion of the European Economic and Social Committee's 60th anniversary on 24 May, EESC President Luca Jahier articulated the Committee's resolve not to rest on its laurels and charted a course for the EESC's future action based on seven priorities.
The responses to the multiple crises that the European Union has been confronted with have increasingly led European citizens to become disenchanted not only with the European Union itself but also with democratic institutions in general – both at the European and national level. There is a serious risk of EU citizens no longer seeing the added value of the EU for their living and working conditions as well as for their future perspectives and those of their children and for losing a common sense of belonging.
The CAP reform must strengthen the financial position of farmers, as well as their position in the supply chain. A strong well-funded CAP is essential for sustainable and viable agriculture in the EU. The CAP's provisions must attract and support young farmers and facilitate generational renewal. This includes a strong first pillar that ensures a fair income for active farmers and an incentive for the delivery of public goods, and a second pillar that corresponds to the Cork 2.0 declaration and better supports Europe's rural areas.
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 contributing to shaping a future for the European Union which meets the demands and expectations of civil society organisations, and of Europeans citizens at large, and to influencing the EU's thinking and decisions on the course of action to take in the...
The EESC endorses this initiative for a EuroHPC Joint Undertaking as a concrete step in line with the European cloud strategy as well as part of a wider EU strategy (which includes Cybersecurity, the Digital Single Market, the European Gigabit Society, Open Science, etc.). This initiative brings clear EU added value with a key technology which will help to tackle the most challenging issues of our modern society and will ultimately be beneficial for our well-being, competitiveness and jobs.
The EESC welcomes the Commission’s proposals and recommends that they be swiftly adopted and implemented by the Member States. The Committee agrees with the Commission's proposal to allow Member States to use two reduced VAT rates and recommends that the Member States continue to apply reduced rates to certain classes of goods and services of general interest.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - The Future of Food and Farming
Making a reality of the European Pillar of Social Rights (the "Social Pillar") will require improvements in Member States and a robust budgetary base, investment and current spending.
The EESC considers that the strong position of the European industry must be maintained and used to accelerate, transform and consolidate the EU economy's clean energy transition, with the important goal of achieving leadership in new technologies on the world market.
The Committee welcomes the general technology-neutral approach, notes, however, that it is far from sure that our future mobility will be all-electric, and other propulsion technologies, such as hydrogen or completely fossil-free liquid fuels, also provide big potential for clean mobility.
In response to the European Commission's communication on "Strengthening Europe's energy networks" (COM(2017)718 final), the European Economic and Social Committee shares the view that a sufficiently interconnected European energy grid is a prerequisite for achieving the aim of the Energy Union: to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy that makes the energy transition to a low-carbon economy possible in a competitive way; considers that investments in grid infrastructure should be implemented with the same intensity as other energy investments, and in particular in coordination
The European Economic and Social Committee welcomes the opportunity to provide an opinion on the Third report on State of the Energy Union by the European Commission, as it did before for the first and second reports. As expressed in previous opinions, the EESC strongly supports the idea of a European Energy Union and would like to stress that the Energy Union is not only relevant to sectoral policies such as energy, transport and climate but offers opportunities to make Europe more democratic, more cohesive, more competitive, and more just.
The EESC welcomes the efforts made by the EC to address the persistent pay gap between men and women by proposing an Action Plan with eight areas for action, but finds that each area should be further developed. It is important to look at the stereotypes that affect career choices, as well as to the underlying causes of labour market segregation, in order to counter them. It agrees with the EC proposal for pay transparency and pay audits to be introduced in order to facilitate the collection of individualised data and develop appropriate action plans at sector and business level.
The EESC appreciates the proposed roadmap for completing the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) but its support is not full and enthusiastic, since a number of social, political and economic issues, highlighted in our previous opinions, were not taken into consideration. The completion of the EMU requires first of all strong political commitment, efficient governance and better use of the available finances, in order to actually cope with both risk reduction and risk sharing among Member States.