The EESC supports the digital euro project, while underlining the importance of a clear European legal framework able to establish the exceptional possibility of temporary exemptions for certain payees, and to harmonise practices and standards that vary from one Member State to another. It is essential to ensure that the digital euro does not negatively impact financial stability or the lending potential of credit institutions. The EESC encourages a broad public debate on the reasons for possible issuance of a digital euro, its merits and drawbacks, in order to make informed decisions and ensure public understanding of the project.
Секция „Икономически и паричен съюз, икономическо и социално сближаване“ (ECO) - Related Opinions
The focus of current informal discussions in the Council is on how cohesion policy can adjust to the new circumstances following the unforeseen shocks that Europe has faced in the last years without losing its long-term development goals. The Spanish Presidency refers to "Cohesion policy 2.0" in this context, which particularly means that cohesion policy needs to be transformed and become more modern and flexible. Also, it will need to take into account the RRF which will come to an end at some time.
The EESC has issued key recommendations for the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The Committee calls for a prompt agreement on the MFF revision still this year, to guarantee continued financial backing of Ukraine and financing the EU´s evolving political priorities. However, the EESC criticizes the proposed changes as being too limited and lacking ambition, resembling mere patches. It advocates for long-term strategies centred on fiscal sustainability, efficient resource allocation, and measures to guard against unexpected events. Civil society should be engaged for effective planning and monitoring of MFF programmes.
The EESC opinion, that covers the Commission proposal and the request from the Spanish Presidency of the Council, endorses the reform. However, it notes the need to strike a balance between flexibility and predictability in its implementation, as well as a balanced and proportional public interest assessment to avoid damaging the interest of smaller and local entities.
Since 2016, as requested by the Council, every second year the Commission publishes a report on the implementation of the existing macro-regional strategies (MRS). This is the fourth report, covering the period from mid-2020 to mid-2022. It assesses the state of play and progress on implementing the MRS and examines ways forward especially in the context of the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 crisis.
The movement of skilled workers out of regions already suffering from lower economic development may further undermine the growth and development potential of these regions. Such a "brain drain" from vulnerable EU regions therefore may contribute to widening territorial disparities, going against the objective of territorial cohesion set out in Article 174 TFEU. Given the cross-border impact of such developments the Commission considers that action at EU level is necessary.
The EESC emphasises that the designing of proposals for new sources of own revenues should be done in context of the budgetary pressures faced by Member States following the pandemic and the ongoing international tensions. This has become all the more important in the current higher interest rate environment. The EESC also emphasises that the second set of own resources measures should be in line with the proportionality and social fairness principles. An EU-wide tax on digital transactions could be potentially considered to increase own resources in case the agreed rules of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework are not respected by other major trading partners.
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