The Communication on 8th Report presents the main changes in territorial disparities over the past decade and how policies have affected these disparities. It highlights the potential of the green and digital transitions as new drivers of EU growth, but argues that without appropriate policy action new economic, social and territorial disparities may appear. It also launches a reflection on how cohesion policy should evolve to respond to these challenges and in particular how to ensure that place-based, multilevel and partnership led approaches continue to improve cohesion, while building on synergies and mainstreaming cohesion objectives into other policies and instruments.
EESC will present its views on this report stressing the important role that civil society plays and that local policies need local strategies, drawn up with local partners.
Health and social services such as care, helping disadvantaged individuals and those with disabilities to break back into the labour market, childcare and social housing are fundamental when it comes to guaranteeing social cohesion in the ongoing period of post-pandemic recovery, humanitarian crisis and international tensions. European rules on state aid for these services are therefore fundamental.
The EESC welcomes the European Commission's decision to prolong the State aid Temporary Framework stemming from the pandemic. However, these measures are too exceptional for them to be extended to the general framework and therefore become permanent.
The EESC considers that it is necessary to add new own resources to cover the debt repayment resulting from borrowing under the NextGenerationEU initiative without jeopardising the budgets of other EU programmes and instruments, or substantially increasing the Gross National Income (GNI)-based resource contribution. Although the Commission proposals as set out in the communication are deemed necessary, EESC believes that the Commission should ensure that the design of the new system is based on achieving equity and fairness, efficiency, transparency, simplicity and stability, with a focus on competitiveness and applying solidarity where necessary.