The coronavirus pandemic has hit the health of Europe's citizens and its economy hard, notably its industrial production. The European companies in the sectors with high consumption of resources and energy (REIIs) were already in a precarious situation, and are now undergoing this further, unexpected, crisis.
The objective of the opinion will be to analyse how the digital revolution in the economy is transforming retail and wholesale, how it is forcing fundamental changes: new business models and channels are emerging, data is becoming core business, customers buy more online, new digital products are offered, new skills are needed, stores in towns must evolve and reinvent themselves to stay relevant.
In this opinion, the EESC recalls that media freedom, including the safety and security of journalists, and media pluralism are cornerstones of liberal democracy. It therefore notes with regrets that the developments within the EU are alarming and calls for urgent steps by Member States and the EU, including through the use of the new general regime of budget conditionality. The EESC welcomes the broad range of reports and initiatives by the European Parliament and the Commission, including the Commission's plan for a "European Media Freedom Act". It also supports measures to increase the safety of journalists and underlines the necessity of a legal ban on Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). The EESC supports the idea of a European Agency to bolster media skills of EU citizens through educational programmes. It also proposes the creation of a fully independent European public service broadcaster.
The EESC is pleased that the proposal puts health, safety and fundamental rights at its centre and is global in scope. In line with its long advocated "human-in-command" approach to AI, the EESC strongly recommends that the AIA provide for certain decisions to remain the prerogative of humans.
The EESC is deeply aware of the horror of human trafficking and the harmful consequences for its victims and supports all measures to fight and eradicate it. It supports the intention to establish minimum standards at EU level that criminalise the networks involved in trafficking and exploiting human beings, and the use of services arising from the exploitation of trafficking victims. The EESC proposes that involvement of CSOs and social partners be incorporated into the Strategy and that these organisations be properly supported.
This opinion seeks to analyse the impact of the emergency measures aimed at limiting unemployment, supporting income and helping businesses, with a particular focus on the SURE instrument. The EESC considers SURE as a positive and innovative financial instrument which delivers on European solidarity to preserve jobs, provide income support to workers and support businesses, as well as a tool for integration and socio-economic resilience in the EU. It is proposed that a SURE observatory is set up for as long as the financial instrument is in operation, involving the social partners and other civil society organisations. The EESC also fully acknowledges the positive results of SURE highlighted in the Commission's report of March 2021 and endorses the proposal for its stabilisation in support of workers and businesses as a tool for the EU's integration and socio-economic resilience in times of crisis such as the current one.
The upcoming Slovenian Presidency of the EU has requested the Committee to draw up an exploratory opinion on the effective achievement of the Directive’s objectives in practice, on Member States’ best practices in regulating the agri-food chain, as well as on the steps needed so that this process does not come to a halt.
L'initiative de la Commission vise à transformer l'Economie Bleue selon les axes de décarbonisation, de pollution zéro, de circularité et de biodiversité du Pacte vert européen.