Opinions with Diversity Europe - Group III members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
In its opinion, the EESC welcomes the commitment to the renewed European Solidarity Corps (ESC) with an increased budget and target for participation. It also appreciates the merging with the EU Aid Volunteers. The Committee believes that in the future, the EU needs to develop two independent support programmes, one for youth and one for volunteering.
The EESC makes a series of concrete recommendations, such as: 1) the employment strand of the ECS needs to be subject to strict regulation and regular review; 2) there should be no age restriction on the ESC as it should be a support for volunteering; 3) the ESC should be restricted to the not for profit sector; 4)the main civil society platforms in the field (the European Youth Forum and the European Volunteering Centre) should be centrally involved in the regulation and oversight of the ESC.
The opinion pleads for an holistic approach to reconcile growth, climate, environmental challenges and societal problems in a fair transition design.
It underlines that Europe's renaissance ( rEUnaissance) means a fully fledged master plan for European industry, mainstreaming industrial policy across all EU policies, enabling industry to transform and generating industrial added value through creativity and smart design, social innovation and fostering new sustainable and inclusive industrial models.
The future Austrian Presidency of the Council has requested the EESC to draw up an exploratory opinion on the Bioeconomy, and how it can contribute to achieving the EU's climate, energy goals and the UN's sustainable development goals.
The EESC believes that the current proposal, although a step in the right direction, is not enough to tackle the existing barriers on the SME Growth Markets.
It stands by its previous opinions that the low level of communication and bureaucratic approaches are significant barriers and much more effort must be put into overcoming these obstacles.
Communication from Brussels should always target the bottom of the chain – the SMEs themselves. The EESC also advises the European Commission to look into the possibility of attracting institutional investors, such as private pension funds, to invest in these SME Growth Markets.
The EESC advocates for a stronger budget for the Connecting Europe Facility for after 2020.
The EESC recommends that the European Commission and the Member States further encourage synergies at project level between the three sectors, which are currently limited because of the rigidity of the budgetary framework as regards the eligibility of projects and of costs.
The EESC urges the co-legislators to maintain the commitment in the previous CEF regulation to spend "the major part" of the energy budget on electricity projects.
The EESC recommends that the financial capacity of the CEF programme under the next MFF should be increased and better balanced between the three sectors in order to maintain high credibility and attractiveness for investors.
The EESC agrees with the European Commission about the need to modernise and simplify EU consumer policy and considers that the new legislative package contributes to bridging the gap created by the exponential growth of e-commerce, undermining consumer confidence and causing distortions to the single market.
The EESC believes that AI and automation processes have enormous potential to improve European society in terms of innovation and positive transformation, but they also pose significant challenges, risks and concerns.
The annual revision of the Eurostat SDG Report must be an opportunity for broader dialogue with civil society concerning which indicators be included and what the target for each of these should be. This own-initiative opinion examines how organised civil society could be better involved in a more qualitative follow-up of the annual revision of the Eurostat SDG report as part of SDG monitoring and follow-up programmes that have been established.