Economic and Monetary Union - Related Opinions
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One of the main conclusions of the 8th Cohesion Report is that although cohesion and convergence among regions in the European Union has improved, there are still remaining gaps especially in less developed regions related with their territorial characteristics. EU islands, mountain areas and sparsely populated areas still face many challenges on their growth and income and disparities exist.
In these regions, there are still a lot of gaps in terms of employment and investment, social exclusion is evident and gender disparities have not diminished.
At the request of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the EESC is drawing up this opinion to suggest recommendations on how to tackle inequalities, foster upwards social convergence and strengthen social security systems and ensure its long-term affordability, in an EU economic governance framework/European Semester defined around debt sustainability, productive investments and reforms. This opinion is also focusing on the implications of such a framework for the European Semester, and the further strengthening of the social pillar herein. Finally, the opinion also looks at ways of continuing to further develop fiscal instruments that have a stabilising role at the European level, based e.g. on the experience of SURE.
The EESC opinion, that covers the Commission proposal and the request from the Spanish Presidency of the Council, endorses the reform. However, it notes the need to strike a balance between flexibility and predictability in its implementation, as well as a balanced and proportional public interest assessment to avoid damaging the interest of smaller and local entities.
The EESC underlines that increased equity funding for European companies is key and therefore strongly welcomes the Listing Act proposed by the Commission. Bringing family-owned companies to capital markets would open up untapped potential to attract capital for growth. In this context, a multiple-voting rights regime helps families to retain control, making listing more attractive to them, and streamlining the contents of a prospectus would significantly reduce costs and burden for issuers.
EU companies rely excessively on banking financing and are highly indebted. This own-initiative opinion proposes the development of a highly subordinated instrument at EU level that boosts the recapitalisation of EU firms. This would be a secure and easy-to-implement solution for SMEs, that would improve their financial position and promote investment without increasing leverage.
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