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.
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 European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) calls on the Commission to reflect in more depth on policy options that help both to reduce greenhouse gases and thus fight climate change and to maintain competitiveness. The goal must be to better protect and promote the EU's resource and energy-intensive industries (REII), otherwise Europe runs the risk of losing jobs to less clean economies and missing its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Congratulations to Ms von der Leyen! Europe is a woman indeed! The courage and boldness of your actions will set the pace of what you called an EU that strives for more. There is no other way than the one to dream and provide a Sustainable Europe for future generations.
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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.