Through this opinion, requested by the German Presidency of the Council, the EESC recognises the essential role of smoothly functioning public services in defending core EU values. The opinion highlights their particular role in times of crisis, like COVID-19, which calls for the maximum human and financial support. The EESC proposes common European principles to support the role of public services in defence of democracy. They include the principles of neutrality, legality, proportionality, equal treatment and transparency; the right to good administration; independent oversight; the protection of public services staff against decisions breaching the rule of law; accessibility; interoperability; and the respect of the rule of law including when receiving EU funds.
The aim of this own - initiative opinion is to put forward recommendations to overcome existing obstacles that prevent persons with disabilities from voting in EP elections in the EU. Indeed, in each of the 27 EU countries, there are rules or organisational arrangements that deprive some voters with disabilities of their right to vote. The EESC considers this unacceptable and contrary to the fundamental values of the EU, to the provisions of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to many international legal and political acts. Therefore, the EESC calls on the EP, the European Council and Member States to urgently amend the 1976 Electoral Act by clarifying the principles of universality, directness and secrecy of elections, so as to allow the implementation of common standards granting the right to vote to all EU citizens.
The Commission aims for more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets, both in the EU and internationally. President von der Leyen wants the EU to lead international negotiations to raise the ambition of other major emitters by 2021, and has pledged to put forward a comprehensive, responsible plan to increase the European Union's emissions reduction target for 2030, from 40 % towards 55 %. The plan should ensure a level playing field and stimulate innovation, competitiveness and jobs, based on social, economic and environmental impact assessments.
The 2030 climate plan Communication, adopted on 17th September 2020, sets out the proposed targets, as well as potential implications for the overall regulatory and enabling framework. It describes the overall architecture of policy measures to be put in place to achieve that target.
Informationsnote: Stepping up Europe's Climate Ambition (Communication)
The Atlantic maritime strategy was adopted in 2011 to support the sustainable development of blue economy in the EU Member States bordering the Atlantic. In 2013, the European Commission put forward an Atlantic action plan to implement the strategy.
To give a new boost to a sustainable maritime economy that can create jobs, the European Commission proposes to update the priorities for regional cooperation, following stakeholders’ consultation. The update is also a fresh contribution to Europe’s recovery from the unprecedented socio-economic crisis triggered by the current COVID-19 pandemic.