The Commission launched a debate on an enhanced use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in social policy to render decision-making more flexible and efficient. The EESC supports the transition to QMV in the areas of non-discrimination, social security and protection of workers, as well as for employment conditions of third-country nationals.
2019 is the year we are celebrating the ten-year anniversary of a real and living partnership – the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Over the last decade this partnership has gone through its share of difficulties. Yet, it not only endured - it developed, matured and delivered beyond what we foresaw at the beginning.
Thus after 10 years of EaP policy, it is crucial to properly evaluate the achievements and aims and reflect on the next possible steps. It is important to ensure that EaP policy connects countries and people and covers a broad area of issues, including supporting civil society, pluralism and independent media, as well as ensuring gender equality and non-discrimination. As it is likely that the policy will change its course from a one-size-fits-all to a tailor-made approach, it will be crucial to ensure that those wanting to get closer to the EU have this opportunity, adapted to their ambitions and pace.
In this opinion, the EESC notes that the measures taken by the EU Member States to address the challenge of an ageing workforce remain isolated and their impact has not been gauged. Therefore, the EESC highlights the need for comprehensive strategies, to deal with the demographic and employment challenges in a holistically manner.
The Committee also issues concrete recommendations to encourage longer active working lives.
This opinion calls on the EU to develop a strategy to enhance continuous, learner-centred learning, with digitalisation and the deployment of trustworthy AI at its heart, and stresses the essential role of both public education and non-formal education to enhance inclusiveness and active citizenship. Such a strategy requires an increased allocation of EU funds and more cooperation between policymakers, education providers, social partners and other civil society organisations.
The EESC would like a vigorous SME-friendly initiative (Act Small First) to be implemented with a view to achieving this objective, and calls for the Think small first principle and the SME test to be evaluated. The goal here will be to make these tools more effective and to design SME-compatible legislation so that SMEs can develop within the single market on the basis of complete legal certainty...