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  • 14/05/2020
    Position paper - ECO/517 The EESC welcomes the proposal to provide exceptional flexibility for the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and calls for it to be adopted swiftly with the greatest possible flexibility. All possible administrative burdens should be eliminated, and social partners and relevant civil society organisations more actively involved, in order to ensure effective crisis management. To overcome the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, the European Commission should propose an EU recovery plan commensurate with needs and in line with the EU's priorities. This plan should make use of all the programmes under a revised MFF 2021-2027, new innovative financial tools and investments.
  • 28/04/2020
    The EESC has endorsed the European Commission’s proposal to postpone by a full year the implementation of several provisions of the new regulation on medical devices (Regulation (EU) 2017/745 of 5 April 2017) which were to come into effect in May 2020. The move is intended to ease the regulatory burden on Member States grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is putting a huge strain on their resources. The proposal also allows EU-wide exceptions to the normal conformity assessment procedures for specific devices in order to address potential shortages of vitally important medical equipment such as Europe is experiencing at the moment.
  • 28/04/2020
    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted a position paper calling for additional measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the fisheries and aquaculture sector. This crisis is having a striking impact on EU fisheries, as the major fish sales channels have been closed: sales outlets, markets, shops, restaurants and hotels. As demand abruptly dropped, the price of the fish fell to half or less of the value at which it was traded before. The activities in this sector are now loss-making as a result. In this position paper, the EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal to amend the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Regulation and the Common Market Organisation (CMO) Regulation and appreciates the speed of its response.
  • 22/04/2020
    The health emergency has made it clear that Europe does not have a unified position on public health and safety, and that the Union is unable to take firm decisions even on global problems that seriously affect the economy and social life of all Member States. In spite of the principles of participatory democracy stated by the European institutions, it is clear that it is difficult to put them into practice and that there is a lack of a clear framework defining the decision-making process and the appropriate legal instruments to follow it up. The current emergency, which is being addressed by a series of national measures without any coordination at European level and with serious potentially negative implications, may undermine the whole European project. The economic and social picture shows an unprecedented drama. The initial estimates show a picture of significant GDP decline and millions of unemployed people. Paradoxically, in CNEL's view, the situation that the European States are suddenly facing constitutes an opportunity, a historical necessity, to rethink Europe, preserving the basic spirit of the great unification project, but calling into question its institutional functioning and improving its ability to implement common strategies and effective policies. CNEL believes that the current serious crisis is forcing the Member States to devise a new common European area capable of responding quickly and consistently to the changing scenario that will increasingly characterize the globalized world, from an economic and social as well as health and environmental point of view.
  • 17/04/2020
    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) gave its backing to the Commission's proposal to amend the regulation governing the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in a bid to ensure that Europe's most vulnerable citizens remain supported during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a position paper adopted on 15 April, the EESC says it is in favour of introducing specific measures aimed at protecting the most deprived from the disease and at ensuring that FEAD assistance still reaches them despite the crisis.
  • 06/04/2020
    Ahead of the Eurogroup meeting on 7 April 2020, the European Economic and Social Committee has adopted a declaration calling for timely and urgent responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with the public health concerns and the political, economic and social consequences of the crisis, the EESC Members, as representatives of organised civil society, are united in stressing the crucial need for joint and prompt action. The Committee underlines that this pandemic is a test of solidarity in political, financial, social and scientific terms for the European Union. In these difficult times, we must remember that we belong to a community of shared destiny. Only a European Union that upholds the principle of solidarity will be able to face the crisis, EESC Members stress. The EESC is convinced that in these times of big uncertainty only a comprehensive European Economic Recovery Plan will enable the EU to rebuild a more sustainable and resilient European economy. In this declaration, the EESC gives clear guidelines for a joint effort to cope with the effects of this pandemic that affects enterprises, workers, civil society and everyone’s well-being.
  • 17/03/2020
    The COVID-19 outbreak has turned into a fast-moving emergency, figures and measures are constantly changing across Europe and the world, affecting all levels of society. Not since the end of the Second World War, has the global community faced such a dramatic crisis. No government in Europe or elsewhere can possibly think to solve such a pandemic alone. All the Member States must come together, to support each other and to coordinate a concerted action. A piecemeal approach by the individual Member States is a sure recipe for disaster. If we get this wrong, we may not have another opportunity to get it right.

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