On 6 May 2019 the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) organised in its headquarters at Place du Congrès in Brussels a day of debates which focused on analysing the reform process of the Economic and Monetary Union, the various positions of the Member States' governments and some social actors, as well as the possible way forward from a situation that was qualified as a "blockage of the main reforms". In the six round tables that structured the debate, a total of 26 people participated, including keynote speakers, speakers and moderators. All of them were academics or officials of the European institutions.
A fair, competitive and sustainable business environment that encourages enterprises to grow innovate, invest and trade – this is what representatives of the European employers ask from the next European Commission and Member States. The participants of the European Entrepreneurship Forum taking place in Bucharest agreed that it is time for a political recognition of SMEs – shifting from "think small first" approach to "act small first" principle.
The member states of the European Union must strengthen stakeholder involvement in their efforts to reform national economies. Together with a new long-term EU strategy for sustainable development, improved stakeholder involvement could help create a more efficient and inclusive European semester that enjoys the support of society and is prepared to tackle the challenges facing the EU.
The EESC draws mixed conclusions from the European Commission's growth survey
Statement of the President of the Employers' Group
On 20 February 2019 the EESC adopted an opinion calling for an EU framework directive on minimum income. The Employers' Group fully shares the view of the EESC that fighting against poverty is a necessity. However, for us the instrument proposed in the opinion is not the correct one. For this reason, the Group tabled a counter-opinion, presenting its views on measures needed to reduce poverty. The counter opinion was supported by almost 40% of the EESC Members.
A new VAT system for taxing trade between Member States must tap its full potential and limit any possible negative effects for the single market, says the European Economic and Social Committee in its recently adopted opinion on a proposal presented by the European Commission. Greater collaboration between national authorities and extensive communication by the Commission will be key to its successful implementation. Clarifications are needed on some proposed concepts and criteria and a common system for goods and services must follow as soon as possible.
At its last plenary session, held on 17 October 2018, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion aiming to improve the EU space programme's outcomes and raise its profile. The EESC supports the EU's efforts to remain a major independent space power, but calls for more investment in research, start-ups and business incubators as well as for a consistent application of the "European preference" principle. Clear emphasis should be placed on space mining research and the benefits that space activities could provide in terms of sustainable development.
Stakeholders stressed the importance of cohesion policy and the need for appropriate and effective funding
The EESC believes that the European Commission's Action Plan is a good basis but that additional measures are needed to tap the full potential of financial technology and to ensure certainty and protection for all market participants
In order to bridge the skills gap, we must first identify precisely which skills are needed for the future. This remains difficult, due to the rapid pace of change we are seeing today. Adaptation of education systems, development of lifelong learning systems and close cooperation between employers, policy-makers and academics are some of the ways to help people adapt their skills to the demands of future labour markets. These were among the conclusions reached at the conference on
Bridging the Skills Gap for Growth and Job Creation – the Business Perspective, which took place on 22 March 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.