The consequences of the Russian military aggression have grown in scope and its impact has expanded. As a result, Member States are facing continuous substantial inflows of persons fleeing the Russian aggression. This situation comes on top of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, notably the disruption of value chains, which challenges public budgets that were focused on the recovery of the economy, but also risks delaying investments, especially in infrastructure.
EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.
The EESC believes that ensuring equal access to energy and the security of energy supply at affordable cost must be an absolute priority for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It calls for the establishment of a broad and ambitious political coalition to analyse and address energy poverty from a holistic approach with the objective of bringing it to a minimum level by 2030 and eliminating it altogether in the long term. The actions of the coalition should be further developed in an EU Strategy against energy poverty. The EESC urges the EU to promote a common approach to energy poverty that will allow for a tangible and shared understanding of energy poverty and the collection of statistical data, taking into account Member States' differences and particularities.
In its opinion, the EESC insists on the need to invest in peoples' digital and financial literacy in order to enable consumers to correctly understand their rights and duties relating to financial contracts concluded at a distance, particularly the right to withdrawal from a contract and the right to obtain more information in a pre-contractual phase. The EESC also states that a balanced approach between the digital and the "brick and mortar" experience is crucial. In this respect, the EESC calls for the right to ask for "human intervention" in financial services at a distance to be guaranteed.
On 19 July, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation by the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) for 2022-2024.
This opinion will assess the chances and challenges that SMEs face due to the green transition and will call the EU and the Member States to provide them with a favourable business environment, proper funding and support measures.
Crypto-assets are a digital representation of value or rights which may be transferred and stored electronically, using distributed ledger technology or similar technology (e.g. blockhain). They are neither issued nor guaranteed by a central bank or public authority, and can be used as a means of exchange and/or for investment purposes and/or to access a good or service. A wide range of crypto-assets exist, encompassing different features and functions, hence presenting different challenges and risks.