The opinion presents the EESC's proposal for the new European Disability strategy 2020-2030, at a crucial moment in the EU landscape. With a new European Commission, a new European Parliament and a new budget programming period, the timing is perfect to come up with a Disability Strategy that fully takes into account the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD), the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The opinion tackles various policy areas, drawing attention to the crosscutting character of disability rights.
Against a background of rising poverty levels during the crisis, levels that remain high in many Member States, in particular among the unemployed, this own-initiative opinion would address the huge differences in levels of protection under national unemployment insurance systems within the EU.
Possible standards in this respect could be:
- a minimum standard for the net replacement rate of unemployment benefits;
- a minimum standard of coverage ratio of unemployed people receiving unemployment payments;
- a minimum standard for the duration of unemployment benefit entitlement;
- a right to (re)qualification and training
With the objective of promoting upward social convergence within the EU, the proposal for such standards is a concrete step towards effective implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights recently announced by the EU institutions in Gothenburg.
An effective and principled competition policy to be one of the pillars of the European Union and an essential tool in achieving the internal market, pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the construction of a social market economy and the content of the Social Pillar. In the 2018 report on Competition Policy 2018, the European Commission develops an approach aimed at strengthening the Single Market, economic development and social policy objectives.
When it comes to development and EU-Africa relations, the EESC consistently emphasised the importance of sustainable development and cooperation based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Initiatives focused on trade, investment and business relations with Africa could be welcomed, but not to the detriment of traditional development policies focusing on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EU and Africa leaders agreed in 2015 at the Valletta summit on migration on setting up the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), as the main instrument of EU external migration policy. The Fund finances the development of border protection capacities, but also long-term development policy projects so as to decrease the likelihood of further migration.
Taxation policies are fundamental for the SDGs as they determine the economic environment in which investment, employment, and innovation take place while providing the government with revenues for financing public spending. Businesses are global drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth, job creation, investment and innovation. Private sector expertise holds the keys to unlocking many of the challenges linked to sustainable development. Tax bases should be as broad as possible allowing tax rates to be as non-distortive as possible.
This own-initiative opinion refers to what a comprehensive approach to industrial policy should include, in order to reposition European production of goods and services in the global context, on the basis of an eco-social open market model that responds to the tradition and the future of the EU.
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) 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.