Clean energy is a top priority and fusion technologies could provide a long-term solution. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) emphasises the great potential of nuclear fusion for achieving clean energy and believes that the Commission should link the ITER project more closely to the European fusion research organised by the EUROfusion consortium.
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The 2021-2025 Euratom research and training programme is hugely important, says the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), and budget allocated in the Commission proposal is proportionate to its objectives and should be maintained regardless of Brexit. Investing in education and training is a central factor in attracting young people to research and technology careers.
Safe and clean mobility is crucial for the future of Europe. At the high-level conference in Vienna on 15-16 November 2018, the EESC members took stock of the state of play of mobility in the EU and stressed once again how fundamental a strong commitment on this matter is for the future development of European transport policy.
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.
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.