Opinions with Employers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general

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Adopted on 20/03/2019
Reference: 
TEN/687-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
542 -
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 21, 2019

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.

EESC opinion: Action Plan against Disinformation

Adopted on 20/02/2019
Reference: 
TEN/689-EESC-2019
Plenary session: 
541 -
Feb 20, 2019 Feb 21, 2019

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.

EESC opinion: Ensuring basic air connectivity after Brexit

Adopted on 20/02/2019
Reference: 
TEN/679-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
541 -
Feb 20, 2019 Feb 21, 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.

EESC opinion: The digital revolution in view of citizens' needs and rights (own-initiative opinion)

Adopted on 23/01/2019
Reference: 
ECO/469-EESC-2018-02779-00-00-AC-TRA
Plenary session: 
540 -
Jan 23, 2019 Jan 24, 2019

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.

EESC opinion: Implementing the definitive VAT system

Downloads: 

Definitive VAT system intra-Union trade of goods COM(2018)329_European Commission presentaton

Adopted on 23/01/2019
Reference: 
REX/509-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
540 -
Jan 23, 2019 Jan 24, 2019

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.

EESC opinion: Reforming the WTO to adapt to developments in world trade (own-initiative opinion)

Adopted on 23/01/2019
Reference: 
REX/510-EESC-2018-EESC-2018-05144-00-00-AC-TRA
Plenary session: 
540 -
Jan 23, 2019 Jan 24, 2019

Key points:

The EU today faces an increasing demand for a constructive dialogue with civil society on trade, as seen with CETA and TTIP. Domestic advisory groups (DAG) are a great way to connect citizens with trade issues. DAG should responsibly advise on all aspects of EU Trade Agreements.

Domestic advisory groups should be advisory, consultative, institutionalized and competent to cover all provisions of FTAs.

The EESC considers that the participation of civil society in all FTAs is an indispensable element in the strategic ambitions of the external policies of the EU.

The EESC considers its participation in DAGs valuable and wishes to continue to be part of all of them.

The EESC asks budgetary authorities for an additional budget to support Domestic Advisory Groups to fulfil the expected work in terms of quantity and quality.

EESC opinion: The role of Domestic Advisory Groups in monitoring the implementation of Free Trade Agreements

Adopted on 23/01/2019
Reference: 
TEN/684-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
540 -
Jan 23, 2019 Jan 24, 2019

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.

EESC opinion: European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre and the Network of National Coordination Centres

Adopted on 23/01/2019
Reference: 
SOC/608-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
540 -
Jan 23, 2019 Jan 24, 2019

The EESC welcomes the Commission's efforts to speed up returns, but regrets that the recast was not supported by an impact assessment and/or public consultation on the existing Directive 2008/115/EC.

The EESC believes that an effective returns policy should be part of a truly common policy and legislation for legal migration and for asylum, which is currently missing, giving the impression that the EU adopts a purely security and policing-focused vision of migration as a criminal matter. Such a comprehensive common EU migration policy would also be the best answer to the extreme right-wing and nationalist discourse on migration.

The EESC welcomes the Commission's efforts to making the return procedure quicker and more efficient. Even so, consideration should be given to how realistic the proposed time-scales are and an assessment made of the obstacles that could frustrate this intention.

EESC opinion: Common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (recast)

Adopted on 12/12/2018
Reference: 
REX/507-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
539 -
Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) aims to prepare candidates and potential candidates for the rights and obligations of EU membership. First established for the 2007-2013 programming period, under the 2014–2020 MFF it is called IPA II. Its beneficiaries include the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Turkey. The proposed financial envelope for IPA III for the period 2021-2027 accounts for a 13 % increase compared to current IPA II funding, or €14.5 billion in current prices. The general objective of the IPA is to support EU aspirants to adopt and implement all reforms (political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic) required to comply with EU’s values and to progressively align to EU rules, standards policies and practices on their path towards EU membership.

EESC opinion: Instrument for Pre-accession (IPA III)

Adopted on 12/12/2018
Reference: 
CCMI/164-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
539 -
Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018

The proposal for a Regulation (COM(2018) 366) is based on Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union: the EU pursues the goal to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples, the EU shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced. But there is a clear perception that the number of challenges to face is larger, in particular the competition from online platforms and search engines, the concentration of the sector around a limited number of big players, or the rise of disinformation. With this new programme, the EU Commission wants to offer opportunities for operators to develop technologically and artistically innovative European trans-border initiatives to exchange, co-create, co-produce, and distribute European works. The purpose is also to strengthen the position of EU actors in the EU and global markets.

EESC opinion: Creative Europe

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