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

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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 23/01/2019
Reference: 
ECO/469-EESC-2018-2779-00-00
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

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

Adopted on 12/12/2018
Reference: 
CCMI/162-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
539 -
Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018

The EU’s geopolitical context has changed dramatically in the last decade. The situation in its neighbouring regions is unstable and it faces a complex and challenging environment in which new threats, such as hybrid and cyber-attacks, are emerging, and more conventional challenges are returning.

EU citizens and their political leaders agree that the EU should collectively take more responsibility for its security. In the joint declaration of 25 March 2017 in Rome, leaders of 27 Member States and the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission stated the Union will strengthen its common security and defence and foster a more competitive and integrated defence industry.

EESC opinion: European Defence Fund

Adopted on 12/12/2018
Reference: 
SOC/586-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
539 -
Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018

This opinion responds to a request from European Parliament for an exploratory opinion on gender equality in European labour markets, which had put a special emphasis on the pay situation and care obligations.
The opinion considers it necessary to draw up an integrated and ambitious European strategy to tackle systemic and structural obstacles and lead to policies for improving equality between women and men and to help implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. It reiterates the EESC positions on the gender pay gap and work-life balance and recommends gender neutral pay systems. It pleads to fight gender segregation in education, training and the labour market, in particular of women belonging to vulnerable groups.

EESC opinion: Gender equality in European labour markets (Exploratory opinion from the European Parliament)

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: 
SOC/607-EESC-2018-04848-00-00-AC-TRA
Plenary session: 
539 -
Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018

The EESC supports the proposal to provide the Agency with its own permanent operational arm made up of 10 000 staff, while it recommends that cooperation between the Agency and the national administrations be defined and organised at European level in a clear and transparent manner.

Given the role which would be played by the Agency in the event of detention of individuals and their potential return to their countries of origin, the Committee recommends that statutory staff are given training modules on respect for fundamental rights.

The Committee calls for the EESC to be part of the Consultative Forum.

EESC opinion: European Border and Coast Guard

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

Adopted on 12/12/2018
Reference: 
TEN/680-EESC-2018
Plenary session: 
539 -
Dec 12, 2018 Dec 13, 2018

The EESC notes that achieving clean energy is a high priority and to this end fusion energy is recognised as a potential long-term solution with Europe being at the forefront of developing fusion technologies which are carbon-free, sustainable and help secure our mix of energy supplies.

The EESC emphasises that the high level of long-term investment needed for the development of a fusion power plant does still entail some industrial risk, but in the event of success the realisation of a fusion power plant would be a newly introduced factor that would significantly change the existing energy supply by providing a disruptive innovation, with fusion fuel being abundant and virtually inexhaustible.

EESC opinion: MFF and ITER

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