In its opinion adopted at the January plenary, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) supports transport multimodality and smart shipping, pointing out that inland waterway transport is essential for the future and needs to be maintained and developed.
The current socio-economic situation in euro area countries is characterised by a high level of uncertainty, an unprecedented accumulation of public debt and the rise of inflation. Despite initial encouraging expectations for a recovery in the real economy, it seems that the process is more complicated due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the appearance of new variants. During its plenary on 19 January 2022, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on the European Commission's (EC) recommendations on the economic policy of the euro area for 2022, according to present-day reality.
The EESC is urging the creation of a European network of special ombudsmen to help SMEs cope with the financial and funding issues they are experiencing, particularly as a result of the COVID crisis. The Committee also stresses that for SMEs to take up AI there needs to be the political will to support them in the process.
Disbursement of EU funds, including the Recovery Fund, must be tied to respect for the rule of law in all Member States. Systematic deficiencies in the rule of law always undermine the implementation of EU-funded programmes, and the absence of a rapid and comprehensive EU response to this will jeopardise the EU's credibility, warns the EESC
Clear EU taxation rules for energy products and electricity are needed to make sure they continue to contribute to the smooth functioning of the internal market, while at the same time tackling climate- and environment-related challenges. In an opinion "Revision of the Energy Taxation Directive", adopted during its plenary on 20 January 2022, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed the objective of the European Commission (EC) to clarify and update the existing Union framework and to structure European taxation in a way that favours sustainable non-fossil energy. However, the EESC is also concerned at the possible negative socio-economic impact of some of the measures found in the EC Proposal for a Directive.
In the EU, 2022 will be the Year of Youth. Proposed by the Commission, the Year aims to promote opportunities for young people and engage them to become active citizens and actors of change. Although such an initiative is to be applauded, we must ensure it is geared towards achieving concrete and enduring outcomes for all young Europeans
With China and Russia on the offensive, a renewed and reliable transatlantic partnership is the key to maintaining international and legal order and peace. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) supports the idea of an Alliance of Democracies, ensuring that civil society has significant say in the joint defence of universal values and rights.
COVID-19 has caused youth unemployment to soar in many Member States, pushing up the number of young people who neither work nor are in school or in training. National recovery plans represent a unique chance to reverse this trend and secure decent work for all young Europeans.
The European Commission has submitted its new 2021 legislative package on anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) to the co-legislators and the European Economic and Social Committee. In its opinion, adopted during the December plenary session, the EESC fully supports the proposals, but also stresses the urgency of implementing these measures and suggests key additions.
More coordinated rules for digital platforms are called for in the own-initiative opinion adopted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) at its December plenary session. In the global process of transforming industry, digitisation has taken on a fundamental strategic role.