Information reports with Employers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The EESC highlights the potential of Euro-Mediterranean trade to contribute to sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean area and consequently encourages and supports the modernisation and extension of the bilateral Free Trade Agreements included in the eight Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements. The EESC considers that the post COVID-19 recovery provides a momentum for such a modernisation, especially as regards capitalising on the potential benefits of a reconfiguration of global value chains in favour of the Euro-Mediterranean area and in line with the new EU trade policy. In that context, the EESC thinks that a fresh impetus is necessary to relaunch the negotiations on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) with Morocco and Tunisia, as well as discussions with Egypt and Jordan.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's current efforts to analyse and possibly improve the performance of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC as part of its regulatory fitness and performance (REFIT) programme. The EESC consider that the Machinery Directive is a very important and successful instrument for European industry, and its basic approach must be left unchanged. While EESC agree some changes are needed, massive changes of the Machinery Directive, in particular to the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) in Annex I, would have a deep negative impact on the work of developing needed harmonised standards and must be avoided.
At the 2018 Euromed Summit, it was agreed that the next Information Report to be presented to the 2019 Summit of ESCs and Similar institutions will deal with the topic of the impact of digitalisation on SMEs in the Mediterranean area.
The integration of millions of young graduates into the job market each year constitutes a major challenge for the countries of the Southern Mediterranean. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) play a decisive role in the fight against youth unemployment as they are important drivers of job creation and provide 80% of employment in the region.
The European car industry employs 2.5 million workers. Together they account for 8% of total value added in industry. Indirectly the sector provides employment for 12 million workers. European exports of cars are twice as big as imports, resulting in a large trade surplus. European assembly plants produce one out of three cars worldwide. The sector is highly innovative as it accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe.
The survey initiated by the EESC on the automotive industry and its value chain was inspired by the GEAR 2030 initiative and the changes taking place in this sector. It is expected that the new challenges of electrification, digitisation, connectivity and mobility will define the structural transformation of traditional automobile manufacturing. During the next decade, innovation and transformation will take place much more quickly than they have done over the course of the last century.The survey initiated by the EESC on the automotive industry and its value chain was inspired by the GEAR 2030 initiative and the changes taking place in this sector. It is expected that the new challenges of electrification, digitisation, connectivity and mobility will define the structural transformation of traditional automobile manufacturing. During the next decade, innovation and transformation will take place much more quickly than they have done over the course of the last century.
Following a request from the Commission, the information report seeks to provide input for the Commission's interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 and, in addition, of its Science with and for Society (SwafS) sub-programme.
The EESC's recommendations are based on the views of civil society organisations gathered by EESC Members through an online questionnaire and a number of fact-finding missions.