Opinions with Employers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The Commission intends to renew its strategic partnership with the outermost regions, adapting it to the EU priorities on green and digital transition for a stronger recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. The new Communication is expected to be published in April 2022. In this context, the forthcoming French EU Presidency, aims to conclude together with the other EU Member States this new strategic approach to the outermost regions for a green, digital and fair recovery. More specifically, the Presidency plans to adopt Council conclusions on outermost regions that are going to be presented in the GAC (General Affairs Council) on June 2022. The French Presidency asks the contribution of civil society organisations on the new priorities for the strategic approach and partnership with these regions.
The proposal builds on 2030 Digital Compass, in which the Commission laid out the vision for a successful digital transformation of Europe's economy and society by the end of the decade. It introduces now a robust governance framework to reach the digital targets in the form of a Path to the Digital Decade.
The upcoming French Presidency of the Council of the European Union asked the EESC to prepare an opinion on how the industrial ecosystems identified by the Commission will contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy and the well-being of its citizens.
The EESC adopted unanimously in September 2020 the opinion "SME strategy". Amongst its main conclusions were the plead to the Commission to draw up a "Next Generation SME Strategy". Unfortunately, in its 2021 Work Program, the European Commission chose to commit to an update of the Industrial, but not of the SME Strategy. The objectives of this follow-up opinion are the following: present the SME position on how to channel in the best way the unprecedented financial support, coming from the MFF 2021-2027, Next Generation EU and Recovery and Resilience Facility Mechanism; identify and respond to the difficulties SMEs face when accessing the single market and generate ideas on how to use the COVID-19 crisis as a driver for change and catalyst of the transition of the SMEs towards sustainable and digital economy.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the EU developed a wide range of health policy responses and initiatives, while also tackling the economic fallout of the pandemic. Many difficulties were encountered, but while some of them have been addressed, longer-term solutions are needed for mitigating future health crises.
In this opinion, the EESC comments on the Commission's evaluation of the measures taken so far to fight the pandemic and on the ten lessons learnt and proposes various recommendations in the field of crisis management, health protection, social and societal aspects, economy and finance, society and technology, international relations and democratic standards.
The EESC strongly supports the goal of redirecting investments in such a way that they contribute to the EU's transition to a sustainable economy but calls for the social partners and civil society to be brought better on board in the design and implementation of sustainable finance. The EU green bond standard has the potential to yield significant economic benefits for both issuers and investors alike and help the green transition.