Administrator in charge: David Hoić / Assistant: Nadja Kačičnik
On 5 February 2020, the European Commission adopted the 2020 Communication “Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans” (COM(2020) 57 final). The Communication proposes changes to reinvigorate the process based on four principles: more credibility, a stronger political steer, a more dynamic process, and greater predictability.
This opinion examines how European legislation on circular public procurement can combine the main purpose of the contract with environmental protection, greater attention to SMEs, sustainable local production and the protection of social rights. This can be achieved by seeking and favouring solutions with a lower impact on the environment throughout their lifespan.
The new European Research Area will improve Europe's research and innovation landscape, accelerate the EU's transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership, support its recovery from the societal and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, and strengthen its resilience against future crises.
In its opinion, the EESC points out that implementing the single window environment for customs will take trade in goods into the new digital age through simplification and automation. Trade generally in the EU will grow, the Union will become more competitive, and customs will be modernised.
The Retail Payments Strategy for the EU aims to bring safe, fast and reliable payment services to European citizens and businesses. It will make it easier for consumers to pay in shops and make e-commerce transactions safely and conveniently. It seeks to achieve a fully integrated retail payments system in the EU, including instant cross-border payment solutions. This will facilitate payments in Euro between the EU and other jurisdictions. It will promote the emergence of home-grown and pan–European payment solutions.
In its opinion, the EESC welcomes the very concrete Action Plan for the next five years to support national customs authorities. Once implemented, with regular impact assessments, it will lead to real modernisation of customs across the EU.
On 9 September 2020, the European Commission adopted its first annual Strategic Foresight Report, presenting Commission’s strategy to integrate strategic foresight into EU policy-making. Strategic foresight aims to identify emerging challenges and opportunities to better steer the European Union's strategic choices and to inform major policy initiatives. It will support the Commission in designing future-proof policies and legislation that serves both the current needs and longer-term aspirations of European citizens.