The proposal is intended to introduce some targeted changes to Council Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), under which the European Union supports, coordinates and supplements the action of Member States in the field of civil protection to prevent, prepare for and respond to natural and man-made disasters within and outside the Union. The proposal acknowledges that disaster prevention efforts are crucial to limit the need for crisis and emergency support.
Opinions with Employers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The EESC welcomes in principle the integration of five predecessor programmes (and of the European Statistical Programme, though that extends beyond the scope of the single market) and a number of budget headings into a single market programme, as it can be expected to produce synergies and improve cost efficiency. Due to steadily increasing volume of work in consumer protection policy EESC urges the Commission to further develop cooperation with consumer networks and organisations and to increase funding for consumer protection. It is also concerned that the negotiations on the EU financial framework could result in cuts and thus in a lower budget than in the past.
The EESC welcomes and endorses the rationale behind the establishment of the Reform Support Programme. However, the EESC believes that, in order to launch the programme successfully and obtain the expected benefits, better responses are needed to a number of still open questions.
The EESC is pleased to observe that many of its recommendations for the Horizon 2020 mid-term evaluation have been taken up in areas such as collaborative research and mobility, steps to strengthen innovation, overcome disparities among regions, promote science and innovation activities among citizens, remedy low success rates and reduce the administrative burden.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the package of regulations on the future multiannual financial framework includes the InvestEU proposal to strengthen investment activity in the EU, including long-term investment projects that are of high public interest, while also respecting the sustainable development criteria. In order to guarantee that this programme operates successfully, the Committee underlines the importance of the involvement of civil society organisations and social and economic partners. The EESC appreciates the European Commission's efforts to create an umbrella financial instrument by the InvestEU programme that will result in unified management, enhanced transparency and potential for synergies. The EESC appreciates the fact that, in addition to promoting sustainable infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research and innovation, the InvestEU programme also focuses on social investment and skills.
The Committee believes that the amount of funding allocated is insufficient considering the aims to be pursued and considers it important to provide equipment with the commensurate speed to those customs offices under greatest pressure to carry out controls, such as sea border offices.
The EESC supports the proposals that enhance the international competitiveness of SMEs, reduce cost, harmonise and simplify processes for registration, filing of company changes and conversions. It believes that guidance by the Commission to the Member States on transposition of the directives is useful.