The focus of current informal discussions in the Council is on how cohesion policy can adjust to the new circumstances following the unforeseen shocks that Europe has faced in the last years without losing its long-term development goals. The Spanish Presidency refers to "Cohesion policy 2.0" in this context, which particularly means that cohesion policy needs to be transformed and become more modern and flexible. Also, it will need to take into account the RRF which will come to an end at some time.
In this opinion, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States. At the same time, the EESC warns of persisting political instability, high levels of inflation and high interest rates, which reduce citizens' purchasing power and businesses' competitiveness and affect investment decisions. These difficulties could jeopardise the implementation of employment policy guidelines in the Member States, the achievement of the European Pillar of Social Rights and 2030 targets. The Committee believes that it is all the more necessary to strengthen both the role of the social partners and their involvement in designing and implementing employment, social and economic reforms and policies, including by building their capacity.
EESC opinion on Revision of EU marketing standards for agricultural products.
The EESC has issued key recommendations for the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The Committee calls for a prompt agreement on the MFF revision still this year, to guarantee continued financial backing of Ukraine and financing the EU´s evolving political priorities. However, the EESC criticizes the proposed changes as being too limited and lacking ambition, resembling mere patches. It advocates for long-term strategies centred on fiscal sustainability, efficient resource allocation, and measures to guard against unexpected events. Civil society should be engaged for effective planning and monitoring of MFF programmes.
The opinion intends to contribute to the design of the EU regulation on critical raw materials and to its follow-up, and could influence the political and economic decisions to be taken at EU level in the new geopolitical context.