- The EESC considers the Social Imbalance Procedure (SIP) an opportunity to enhance the coordination of national efforts to improve their social governance and reduce social inequalities within a country and between Member States
- underlines that the SIP should be integrated into the European Semester, throughout its different phases
- calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider making existing rules for funds allocation (including the ESIF, RRF and others) more flexible.
The EESC proposes the following changes to the new proposals:
- lowering filing fees for SMEs and individual designers, perhaps charging them in proportion to their turnover;
- a more radical simplification of the design filing systems available, using the expertise of patent agents to come up with solutions.
- The EESC objects to the use of delegated acts to adopt rules on design disputes and appeals. These are matters which relate to the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
- The EESC recommends involving the EESC from the very beginning of the foresight process in future. Organised civil society can strengthen the EU's analysis and foresight capacities;
- a strategic foresight agenda geared towards a new development model that combines economic, environmental and social sustainability and puts people at the centre;
- setting out a clearer picture of the risks and scenarios should the desired objectives not be met, especially when it comes to the availability of raw materials, rare earth metals and water resources;
- looking into the following strategic policy areas in the 2023 annual foresight exercise.
- The EESC recommends striking a balance between the premature liquidation of companies, which can be very harmful, and starting proceedings too late, which will be useless;
- providing a harmonised definition of grounds for insolvency and the ranking of creditor claims, otherwise the proposal may not help reach its goal of closing gaps in the Capital Markets Union;
- revising Article 27, which would curtails entrepreneurial freedom by obliging counterparties to sign executory contracts, which would then assigned to the acquirer of the business without their consent.
The EESC :
- warns against letting the move towards digital services do away with in-person services, which must remain available, in particular for vulnerable groups;
- urges against cutting back on staffing levels in public services, as is often the case with digitalisation. Keeping sufficient staffing levels is a prerequisite for a successful transformation;
- recommends making access to data subject to different levels of authorisation in order to safeguard data confidentiality and ensure that only data that is strictly necessary is disclosed.
The following weaknesses have been pinpointed as something to bear in mind when designing future programmes:
- SME involvement
- Rigidity and red tape
- Failure to close the gap between older and newer Member States.
In the opinion, the EESC:
- is pleased with the Commission's commitment to allot financial and human resources from EU funds to address wildlife trafficking;
- highlights the significance of implementing effective and discouraging measures against wildlife trafficking, suggesting that the current level of sanctions proposed by the Council under the Environmental Crime Directive is insufficient and must be increased;
- recommends the establishment of consistent structures in all Member States;
In the opinion, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
- welcomes the communication from the European Commission regarding the fertiliser crisis and its impact on European farmers (higher costs), consumers (food price inflation) and industry workers;
- calls for both short-term and longer-term measures to limit the EU's dependence on imported mineral fertilisers, reduce the environmental impact of crop fertilisation and improve the functioning of the EU fertiliser market;
- welcomes the establishment of a new fertiliser market observatory in 2023 to ensure transparency in the EU fertiliser market;
In the opinion, the EESC:
- considers that the voluntary certification framework for carbon removals has the potential to incentivise removal efforts by providing clarity and reliability in measuring and verifying climate benefits;
- considers that questions regarding the integration of carbon removals in EU policies, their impact on emissions reduction and the risk of greenwashing need to be addressed;
- emphasises the importance of keeping the costs of measuring, reporting and verifying carbon removal activities low;
- The EESC raises concerns over the lack of mutual recognition of disabilities among EU Member States
- Recommends the implementation of an EU Disability Card by way of a new regulation
- Calls for the physical separation of the EU Disability Card and EU Parking Card to enhance accessibility