While European policies often aim to foster innovation, they sometimes inadvertently create obstacles for research and development (R&D) initiatives.
At the request of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the EESC is drawing up this opinion to suggest recommendations on how to tackle inequalities, foster upwards social convergence and strengthen social security systems and ensure its long-term affordability, in an EU economic governance framework/European Semester defined around debt sustainability, productive investments and reforms. This opinion is also focusing on the implications of such a framework for the European Semester, and the further strengthening of the social pillar herein. Finally, the opinion also looks at ways of continuing to further develop fiscal instruments that have a stabilising role at the European level, based e.g. on the experience of SURE.
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 EESC underlines that increased equity funding for European companies is key and therefore strongly welcomes the Listing Act proposed by the Commission. Bringing family-owned companies to capital markets would open up untapped potential to attract capital for growth. In this context, a multiple-voting rights regime helps families to retain control, making listing more attractive to them, and streamlining the contents of a prospectus would significantly reduce costs and burden for issuers.
The EESC considers that it is necessary to add new own resources to cover the debt repayment resulting from borrowing under the NextGenerationEU initiative without jeopardising the budgets of other EU programmes and instruments, or substantially increasing the Gross National Income (GNI)-based resource contribution. Although the Commission proposals as set out in the communication are deemed necessary, EESC believes that the Commission should ensure that the design of the new system is based on achieving equity and fairness, efficiency, transparency, simplicity and stability, with a focus on competitiveness and applying solidarity where necessary.