The new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change is a crucial step towards achieving climate neutrality and resilience by 2050. European civil society strongly supports the Commission's commitment to strengthening efforts on climate proofing, resilience building, prevention and preparedness. The floods occurring in Western Europe, just weeks after a record-breaking heatwave in the US and Canada, are fresh reminders of the pace of change.
The Commission's initiatives on a European child guarantee and an EU Strategy on the rights of the child call on European and national policy-makers to work toward the common good of all children growing up in the EU. Ambitious and bold in their approach to ensuring a life free from any discrimination for each and every child, both initiatives have won the EESC's approval.
Building talent partnerships with countries of origin and transit is a key policy in addressing migration. Europe has to shift the focus of migration policy's external dimension and make it part of a broader geopolitical and geo-economic agenda that will be given its rightful place other policies. Otherwise, the new pact will be too weak to deal with the rising numbers of migration flows.
According to a Deloitte study, there are conflicting opinions on the new 5G technology. Further study is therefore needed, and the debate held at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) addressed civil society organisations' concerns surrounding the issue.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the proposed EU Action Plan on Synergies between the civil, defence and space industries. The Action plan can enhance Europe's strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty, improve the security of citizens and boost competitiveness, economic growth and employment.
The new trade strategy launched by the Commission in February brings engaging principles to the table that will support the EU in achieving its domestic and external policy objectives. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes this trade strategy as a way of improving market access and levelling the playing field. Alongside this, the modernisation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be the key to delivering for future generations.
According to the EESC, the Commission's Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights is both timely and necessary to thwart the threat of inequalities deepening across Europe in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The EESC – a powerful voice for civil society in challenging times
This publication brings you concrete examples of the recent work and achievements of the EESC that have made a difference, and have had an impact on shaping Europe.
The EESC president
As set out in the Joint Declaration signed on 10 March 2021 by the European institutions, the Conference on the Future of Europe aims at connecting and engaging with citizens. The main aim of this key project - to which the EESC is fully committed – is to give a real say to citizens.
The 2021 prize will reward effective, innovative and creative initiatives carried out by civil society organisations and/or individuals on the territory of the EU which aim to promote a just transition towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.
Applications are now closed. Over 50 applications from 24 Member States – all Member States but Cyprus, Sweden and the Netherlands – were received.
Opinions in the spotlight
The Commission proposal contributes to the creation of a "Europe fit for the digital age" that can make the most of the digital transition, in order to give citizens better opportunities to connect, communicate and facilitate professional and business activity in the single market. The Committee welcomes this draft European regulation and deems it necessary that the proposal at last aim to provide consumers with the same level of service and protection abroad as at home.
The Own Resources Decision (ORD) entered into force on 1 June, enabling the Commission to start borrowing resources for the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument. For the EESC, a well-functioning funding strategy is key for the smooth implementation of NGEU. Sound and sustainable funding and solid risk management are in the very interests of civil society. Moreover, borrowing and debt management has to be based on democratic control, legitimacy and transparency.
Trade Policy Review - An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy
On 22 February 2021, the European Commission (EC) presented an Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defence and space industries (COM(2021) 70 final) to further enhance Europe's technological edge and support its industrial base.
In this opinion, the EESC underlines that the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights should be based on concreteness and tangibility, with actions that are measurable and accompanied by monitoring frameworks jointly agreed among relevant stakeholders and encompassing the social, environmental, and economic criteria. The EESC acknowledges the diversity and the common basis of social models across the EU. Competitiveness and higher productivity based on skills and knowledge are a sound recipe for maintaining the well-being of European societies.
The EESC welcomes the new EU Disability Rights Strategy, acknowledging that it is a clear step forward compared with the previous one. It is however concerned about the lack of binding measures and hard legislation implementing the Strategy.
The EESC welcomes both the Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the Child Guarantee, and considers that their implementation will help support efforts at European and national level aimed at promoting children's well-being and reducing child poverty. This opinion calls for the consultation and involvement of organised civil society, children's and family organisations, amongst other stakeholders, in the drafting of national action plans and their monitoring mechanisms.