Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The proposals discussed in this opinion form the second package of proposals launched for the development of a European Education Area – the proposal on the automatic mutual recognition of diplomas, on early childhood education and care and on the teaching and learning of languages. The EESC welcomes the setting up of a European Education Area, given its contribution towards the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and in promoting amongst others Europe's social, economic and demographic development. It encourages however to incorporate this initiative within a long-term vision for education, training and lifelong learning, based on effective social dialogue.
In this opinion, the EESC considers that whisteblower protection apart from protecting whistleblowers, is an important tool to help companies to better address unlawful and unethical acts. It thinks that the directive's scope should be assessed on the basis of the evaluation of its implementation, and that it should be broad enough to safeguard the general interest. The Committee makes further recommendations:
The EESC agrees with the need to allocate more resources to operational and preventive security-related actions and programmes and supports the creation of a flexible and transparent fund – distributing resources according to clear and predictable operational criteria and objectives – in order to strengthen them. The Security Fund should be designed so as to strengthen a preventive policy, which requires active engagement and cooperation with civil society, especially in terms of caring for and making arrangements for victims, auditing security actors, and preventing radicalisation. Grants from the Fund – in the case of both EU Member States and third countries – must only go to public institutions that can effectively ensure that human rights will be strictly upheld.
The EESC agrees with the aims of the Council Recommendation and with some of its proposals. However, it expresses its disagreement with the proposal for the aggregate fiscal stance of the euro area to be neutral, as well as with the way that the recommendation on salaries is formulated.
The EESC welcomes in principle the integration of five predecessor programmes (and of the European Statistical Programme, though that extends beyond the scope of the single market) and a number of budget headings into a single market programme, as it can be expected to produce synergies and improve cost efficiency. Due to steadily increasing volume of work in consumer protection policy EESC urges the Commission to further develop cooperation with consumer networks and organisations and to increase funding for consumer protection. It is also concerned that the negotiations on the EU financial framework could result in cuts and thus in a lower budget than in the past.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the fact that the European Commission has established a Digital Europe programme, which underscores the intention to make Europe a leading player in digitalisation and to increase its economic strength and competitiveness on the world stage. The aim of the Digital Europe programme is to enable a digital single market and to shape the digital transformation in a positive way for all citizens of Europe.
The EESC supports the proposals that enhance the international competitiveness of SMEs, reduce cost, harmonise and simplify processes for registration, filing of company changes and conversions. It believes that guidance by the Commission to the Member States on transposition of the directives is useful.