Digitalisation is on everyone’s lips, often spoken of as an irresistible force for change. We are told that in its scale, speed and complexity, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is unlike anything humankind has experienced before. These changes are transforming the nature of work and the individual behaviour of users in Europe without regard for the role and place of the human factor.
AI systems must comply with existing legislation. It is important to identify which challenges can be met by means of codes of ethics, self-regulation and voluntary commitments and which need to be tackled by regulation and legislation supported by oversight and, in the event of non-compliance, penalties.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was created in 2008 by Regulation (EC) No 294/2008. Its mission is to respond to major societal challenges by improving the EU's innovation capabilities and performance. Every seven years, the Commission has to submit a proposal for a Strategic Innovation Programme (SIP) which sets out the priority areas and the long-term strategy for the EIT's action, as well as its financial needs.
The EESC supports the Commission's aim of ensuring equal treatment, for VAT purposes, for armed forces of Member States working together within an EU framework and NATO armed forces employed in the EU, which already benefit from VAT exemption. The Committee suggests that different national tax authorities should have one system under which the new exemptions are implemented.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Regulation, adopted in 2008, sets out its mission and tasks, as well as the framework for its operation. This regulation was amended in 2013 to bring it in line with the Horizon 2020 programme.
For the period 2021-2027, Horizon Europe will be the Union program that will finance the EIT. Since a number of provisions of the EIT Regulation refer directly to the current Horizon 2020 program, these provisions need to be amended to make them compatible with the forthcoming EU Framework Programmes for research and innovation. It is therefore proposed to make the new EIT Regulation temporally neutral, so that it would in principle not be necessary to modify it at the end of each MFF or that the changes would be only minimal. It is proposed to amend it by means of the legislative recasting technique to ensure greater legal clarity and readability.
In this exploratory opinion, prepared at the request of the European Commission, the EESC provides its contribution to how environmental laws could be better supported at EU and national level and suggest ways to enhance the role of civil society in the framework of the EIR process.