EU Heads of State or Government, meeting in Versailles on 11 March, committed to “bolster European defence capabilities” in light of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. They agreed to: 1) increase defence expenditures; 2) step up cooperation through joint projects; 3) close shortfalls and meet capability objectives; 4) boost innovation including through civil/military synergies; and 5) strengthen and develop our defence industry, including SMEs. Moreover, they invited “the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, to put forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps by mid-May and to propose any further initiative necessary to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base.” The tasking was also integrated in the Strategic Compass on Security and Defence adopted by the Council and endorsed by the European Council in March 2022.
The Report on Competition Policy for 2021 presents the key policy developments and legislative initiatives undertaken in 2021, as well as a selection of enforcement actions.
This Opinion welcomes the European Media Freedom Act and all the related EU initiatives aiming to address the worrying developments in the area of media freedom over the last years. The Opinion entails a number of recommendations concerning editorial and journalists' independence; the need for financial resources to ensure independence of public media; transparency in the allocation of State advertising; transparency of media ownership. The Opinion also calls for measures to ensure the independence of national regulatory bodies, especially in the context of the future European board for media services. It also considers that EU anti-concentration law should be used where national regulators fail to address media market concentration.
This Opinion welcomes the Commission's ambition to reduce the incidence of cancer, and its specific efforts to minimise exposure to asbestos at work. It recommends that the technical limit value for asbestos exposure under the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work should ultimately be set at a lower level than the Commission is currently proposing. This Opinion also suggests that roadmap of complementary measures over and above the Commission's proposals should be drawn up in order to achieve that objective. It calls on the EU and its Member States to actively promote an international ban on the use of asbestos and protection for workers dealing with existing asbestos during activities such as renovation, demolition and waste management.
Socio-Economic situation in Latin America following the Covid-19 crisis – the role of civil society in the recovery process
The Commission is proposing an initiative which will aim to enhancing the Single Market’s resilience, by providing adequate information, coordination and communication mechanisms between EU institutions, Member States and stakeholders adapted to different phases of a crisis; providing the means to ensure such resilience including availability of products and services relevant for a certain type of crisis and guaranteeing as much as possible the free circulation of goods, services and persons.
Digital Innovation Hub as facilitator for the green and digital transition of industrial SMEs: an overview of the main experiences
Achieving the digital transition is a fundamental challenge for the European Union in order to maintain a high level of business competitiveness. Winning this challenge is also decisive for global competition, for what could be defined as the maintenance of "digital sovereignty".