Opinions with Employers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The EESC takes careful note of the initiative's definition of disinformation as verifiably false or misleading information that is a threat to democracy and does public harm. Spreading disinformation has become a part of a hybrid war with a clear political aim. However, it also emphasises that, in addition to false information, highly selective information, defamation, scare-mongering and inciting hatred attack citizens' fundamental rights (freedoms) and minority rights.
Multiple actions from all stakeholders are needed to provide quality information and raise awareness. To this end, the EESC welcomes the initiative for coordinated action to protect the EU, its institutions and its citizens against disinformation. The EESC emphasises the urgency of such measures but is also concerned, however, that the impact of this action plan might be limited given that the May 2019 European elections are not far off.
The EESC considers the Joint Communication to be most timely. The world order is changing at its fastest rate for nearly thirty years, the post-war international trading order is under significant challenge, the balance of global economic power is moving eastwards and Asian global purchasing power is growing exponentially.
The EESC welcomes the emphasis in the Communication on sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based connectivity.
The opinion tables proposals on how to enhance the European project and bring it closer to its citizens.
The objective of this proposal is to provide an update of EESC's positions related to the cohesion package presented by the Commission on May 2018. While the discussions in the Council and the Parliament are still ongoing, this opinion will reflect better the developments in view of a successful cohesion policy in the post-2020 period.
The Romanian presidency who has asked for this opinion proposes that the conclusions drawn in this opinion could stimulate the informal ministerial debate of the cohesion ministers to be held in April 2019.
Digitalisation offers a wealth of new possibilities allowing people to make choices for a better life in an unprecedented way. On the other hand, the more digitalisation dominates our life, the more we can also be manipulated. The EESC calls for transparent rules to be developed, adapted and applied to these rapidly evolving technologies. Good persuasive technology should involve training, not manipulation, and comply with the principle of people's free choice, to guarantee human autonomy.
In an – increasingly probable – "no Withdrawal Agreement" scenario, the legislation of the EU, in particular Regulation 1008/2008, would cease to apply for air services between the UK and the EU. This creates legal uncertainty, jeopardises planning stability and endangers continued connectivity for services between the UK and the EU. The EESC supports the thrust of the proposed Regulation as a contingency measure to secure basic air connectivity.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the Commission's initiative, considering it an important step in developing an industrial strategy for cybersecurity and a strategic move to achieve robust and comprehensive digital autonomy. These aspects are essential for strengthening Europe's defence mechanisms against the ongoing cyberwarfare that threatens to undermine its political, economic and social systems.
The EESC welcome the definitive destination principle-based VAT system for taxing goods in B2B relations and reminds that it is an important achievement proving the continuous consolidation of the EU internal market. The Committee urges the Commission to explore how a common VAT system for both services and goods can be rolled out as quickly as possible. The EESC recommends greater collaboration between national fiscal and enforcement authorities in order to make the new destination-based VAT system more effective in terms of both effectiveness against fraud and reliability in favour of European enterprises.
The European Economic and Social Committee would like to reiterate its commitment to the WTO as the guardian of international trade and a crucible for developing rules and disciplines to ensure fair trade, the liberalisation of trade in goods and services, and transparency in trade-related policy-making.