The Digital Europe programme put together by the Commission takes a step in the right direction by recognising the key role played by digital skills, but it could be more closely tied to social realities. In its opinion drawn up by Norbert Kluge and Ulrich Samm and adopted at the October plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Commission proposal and points out that digitalisation in Europe must be made inclusive: the "digital dividend" must be equally distributed through appropriate policy measures.
Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN) - Related News
The new Commission proposal must go further, taking all available forms of transport into account. It should focus on intermodality in freight and passenger transport. In the opinion drafted by Giulia Barbucci and adopted at its October plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Third Mobility Package presented by the Commission but advocates a more ambitious project not limited to road transport.
The MobileGest platform, created in conjunction with the Spanish government, allows to carry out any administrative procedure required by the Spanish administration in many fields through mobile and digital signature. It is a platform that allows clients to interact with the administrative manager in real time through the application. Today 70% of administrative procedures in Spain, about 26 million per year, are finalised through this platform.
EESC President Luca Jahier and European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc engaged in a fruitful debate on mobility at the EESC plenary session on 20 September 2018. An adequate regulatory framework for a well-functioning Single European Transport Area, digitalisation in land transport technology, better interoperability between the various existing electronic road toll systems and investment in clean electricity were at the heart of the debate with EESC members.
Social media platforms should become more responsible and stick to strict rules. The Committee agrees with the European Commission that this would represent a great leap forward in tackling disinformation. However, the Commission proposal lacks practical steps to achieve these objectives. In the opinion put together by Martin Siecker and adopted at the EESC plenary session on 19 September 2018, the EESC urges the Commission to approve compulsory measures and stresses that many issues remain pending.
A stronger budget, more synergies between networks, continued technical support, reaffirmed commitment to investment in electricity projects, and dual‑use of civilian‑military infrastructure. In the opinion put together by Aurel Laurențiu Plosceanu and Graham Watson, which was approved at the EESC plenary on 19 September 2018, the EESC broadly supports the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) regulation for the period 2021-2027 and tells the Commission where there is room for improvement.
The new regulation on the digital single market proposed by the European Commission will not only protect e-commerce consumers, but - for the first time ever - SMEs too. Business operating on online platforms and search engines will be able to resolve possible conflicts out of court. This is the progress highlighted by the opinion drafted by Marco Vezzani and adopted by the EESC plenary session on 19 September 2018.
The transition to decentralised, renewable and digitalised forms of energy supply would not only have positive effects on the environment, it would also economically benefit the regions of the European Union. In its own-initiative opinion drafted by Lutz Ribbe, the EESC points out that there are at least four reasons why smart energy production would provide economic benefits at regional level and asks the European Commission to systematically link the future regional and social cohesion policy to the Energy Union initiative.
Transport plays a key enabling role in realising sustainable development. It contributes to the economy, trade and employment, but, on the other hand, it may face issues relating to the environment, traffic and safety. In its own-initiative opinion drafted by Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala, the EESC reviews the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, by providing a cross-cutting approach where the economic, social and environmental aspects come together, urges the Commission to prepare a new and integrated framework for future EU transport policy.
The energy transition offers huge potential for cities and regions to pursue new, innovative, and effective policies at regional level. At the July plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Energy Union, stressed how important it was to link the EU's energy initiatives to regional policy and development and to strengthen cooperation between EU bodies and civil society.