The October plenary of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion recognising the value of electronic communications infrastructure while highlighting the potential risks.
How to best ensure the strategic autonomy of Europe's industry was the focus of a debate on industrial policy at the EESC October plenary.
The EESC is calling on policy-makers to implement a comprehensive and holistic strategy for balanced, cohesive, equitable and sustainable rural and urban development. This will involve harnessing the role of local communities, boosting traditional industries and creating new economic activities and job opportunities in rural areas, while fostering synergies with urban areas. The opinion adopted on this topic will contribute to the implementation of the Commission's long-term vision for the EU's rural areas put forward last June.
In a plenary debate on the future of EU trade policy in a changing global reality, the EESC stressed that open, fair, inclusive and sustainable trade is the only trade that will deliver a resilient recovery and bring prosperity to business and people. It also acknowledged the key role of the World Trade Organisation towards this effort.
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- Media freedom must stay at the top of our agendas
- On the first EU "organic day", the EESC stresses the importance of more sustainable, fairer and more inclusive food systems
- AI in Europe: not all decisions can be reduced to ones and zeros
Recent events caused by COVID-19, extreme weather due to climate disruption, cyber-attacks and Brexit demonstrate the need to rethink priorities and improve the resilience and sustainability of EU food systems by reinforcing its autonomy. Food security is not a given for many EU citizens.
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 EU is the world's biggest producer of glass with a market share of around one third of total world production. The industry is known for the quality of its products, its capacity for technological innovation and its skilled labour force. The glass industries comprise five sectors covering different glass products, applications and markets: containers, flat glass, glass fibre, special glasses and domestic glass.
The EESC strongly believes in the importance of the next Semester cycle as a key instrument for implementing the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
However, it is still concerned about the lack of clarity in most Member States as regards their National Recovery and Resilience Plan governance systems and the distribution of responsibilities for their implementation.
In its opinion, the EESC welcomes the proposal for a Regulation on general product safety (GPSR) as it updates and has the potential to improve the current Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety (GPSD), especially with regard to the challenges and new developments in markets and technology.
The Communication is intended to update the previous Communication (COM (2020) 102 final) adopted on 10 March 2020 at the dawn of the COVID-19 crisis, taking into account the latest developments related in particular to the pandemic.
This opinion deals with the new Strategy for the future of Schengen issued by the European Commission last June. The Strategy is part of a broader effort to update and strengthen Schengen, which also includes a proposal to amend the regulation on the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism. In this opinion, the EESC welcomes the Commission's Strategy towards a fully functioning and resilient Schengen area and reaffirms its full support for the principles underlying Schengen cooperation.
This opinion comments on the new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work for the period 2021-2027. The framework sets out the key actions needed to improve workers' health and safety over the coming years and focuses on three objectives: managing change brought by green, digital and demographic transitions as well as changes to the traditional work environment, improving prevention of accidents and illnesses, and increasing preparedness for any potential future crises.
The EESC welcomes the proposal's intention to implement the EPSR and other EU initiatives aimed at making quality and inclusive education a reality within the green and digital transitions. The EESC calls on Member States to ensure that blended learning is not detrimental to the social value of education or to the relevance of face-to-face teaching. They need to ensure that blended learning is established to support the quality and inclusion of education, in particular for children in need.