The Future of the EU: Benefits to citizens and respect for European values (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Romanian Presidency)

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Dictamen del CESE: The Future of the EU: Benefits to citizens and respect for European values (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Romanian Presidency)

Key points:

The European project has brought the longest period of peace in the continent's history, created a region of unprecedented wealth and social development, facilitated free movement of people, goods and services and created the largest single market in the world. All this ensures that European citizens have a significantly better standard of living, social welfare and increased opportunities compared to most parts of the globe.

The EESC:

  • underlines that EU citizens must regain the sense that acting at European level does not mean renouncing national policies, rather acknowledging that some projects have a better outcome when decisions are made together;
  • believes that European workers must be provided with training, re-skilling, up-skilling and life-long learning programmes, in order to fully benefit from technological change;
  • believes that the EU should not engage protectionist trends in trade policy but should continue to promote free, fair and sustainable trade in a multilateral system and trade agreements that respect social, consumers and environmental rights, while supporting businesses to grow and evolve;
  • emphasises that sound economic growth must be achieved together with a stable social dimension, while the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) represents one of the main driving forces for social cohesion;
  • underlines that social partners and other civil society organisations (CSOs) are crucial players in the European democratic project
  • is of the opinion that Europe can and needs to deliver on the implementation of the sustainability goals and that it is essential to respect the commitments made in the various agreements on climate, biodiversity and water;
  • believes that programmes, like Erasmus + that facilitate youth education and inclusion in the labour force play an important role for the future of the European Union and that alongside these other similar programmes supporting those with less economic resources must be immediately developed;
  • believes that the EU must prove to our citizens that it is an effective security provider and welcomes the Commission's plan for a balanced, comprehensive and common migration policy;
  • believes that the EU need to step up its effort in communicating with its citizens by simultaneously providing more funds for communication while using all the available channels: European, national, but also the social partners and other representative organised civil society bodies;
  • asks for common and firm action in order to increase people's power of analysis, safeguarding freedom of expression, prevent dissemination of fake news, and build fact-checking and verification tools.