This additional opinion on the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2022 takes into account the ongoing Semester process and provides input for the next cycle. This is particularly important this year. Since Russia´s attack on Ukraine the geopolitical landscape has dramatically changed, and policy has been quickly adapted, as reflected in the Communications on RepowerEU and Our European Growth Model. The EESC also points to the outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which envisages further political measures, including a convention to assess the need for Treaty changes. The Semester, which is itself undergoing a systemic change, has proved to be a credible framework for EU policy coordination during the pandemic. In the Spring Package, the implications of the war in Ukraine are again reflected comprehensively.
Recovery and Resilience Facility and Technical Support Instrument - Related Opinions
Member States prepared their recovery and resilience plans that set out a coherent package of reforms and public investment projects. To benefit from the support of the Facility, these reforms and investments should be implemented by 2026.
Dictamen del CESE: The role of cohesion policy in combatting inequalities in the new programming period after the COVID-19 crisis. Complementarities and possible overlaps with the RRF and the national recovery plans (Own-initiative opinion)
This additional opinion updates and complements the proposals made in the original ASGS opinion, adopted in February this year. The EESC welcomes the step forward towards embracing a more social, inclusive and sustainable economic model, particularly given the economic and social effects of COVID-19. To support the economic recovery and public investment, and in support of a digital and green transformation, the EESC believes that a revision of the Stability and Growth Pact, flexibility in state aid rules and a rethink of tax policy is necessary. Well-resourced public health measures and social security systems are likewise of vital importance. The EESC also welcomes the Commission's proposals for Next Generation EU and sees the ASGS as an opportunity for the EU to shift towards an economic model that gives equal weighing to both economic and social objectives.
The absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
The EESC welcomes and endorses the rationale behind the establishment of the Reform Support Programme. However, the EESC believes that, in order to launch the programme successfully and obtain the expected benefits, better responses are needed to a number of still open questions.
The EESC supports the proposal to increase the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) budget and to include a dedicated reform delivery tool for the "reform commitments". Priority should go to the reforms that have direct spill-over effects on the other Member States. While the increase in the SRPS budget is welcomed, its scale is insufficient considering the growing number of requests from the Member States. Special attention should be given to non-eurozone Member States that are on track to join the euro area.