The European recovery strategy is very clear, focusing on the twin transition: green and digital, and addressing strategic dependencies. In this regard, the joint undertakings have a very important role to play in bringing together European expertise from different economic sectors, fostering competitiveness, improving skills and strengthening the industrial base. In its opinion, the EESC analyses the nine institutionalised European partnerships covered by the Commission proposal based on Article 187 TFEU establishing individual joint undertakings for their implementation and formulates some recommendations regarding their framework and ecosystem.
In this opinion the EESC:
- Welcomes Europe's Beating Cancer Plan as a milestone in the fight against cancer and calls for a concrete roadmap for its implementation, with performance indicators, realistic timeframes and close involvement of Social Partners (SP) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO).
- Considers important that the EU and Member States ensure the availability of igh-quality, accessible healthcare infrastructure and effective support systems for patients' physical and mental well-being.
- Asks for the negative consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in accessing to health services to be urgently addressed, recognising as well the supportive role SP and CSO can play in this area.
In its own-initiative opinion, the EESC examines the extent to which existing EU company law currently serves as an "expedient" for the politically-desirable Green Deal and which gaps still need to be closed, in particular regarding corporate social responsibility obligations. The opinion aims at following-up on the European Commission's initiative on due diligence and broadening the debate on sustainable corporate governance interlinking the social, environmental and economic dimensions.
This opinion is the EESC's contribution to the implementation of the European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP) published by the European Commission in December 2020. The EESC welcomes the document, which it views as both positive and necessary, and recommends that the European Commission add to it a specific pillar for the involvement of civil society and social partners and the promotion of labour democracy. Indeed, the EESC regrets that the EDAP has failed to address the important role of the social contract, social dialogue and collective bargaining in reducing inequalities and encouraging Europeans to embrace democratic ideals. The EESC also believes that greater emphasis should be placed on civil dialogue, and it therefore reiterates its call for the creation of an annual Civil Society Forum on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (SOC/627).
The EESC recommends, in order to achieve high-quality and inclusive education and training and lifelong learning for all, establishing achievable long-term goals and a constant monitoring system within the European Education Area (EEA) for each Member State. The teaching of key competences, including social sensitivity, empathy, intercultural dialogue and citizenship skills, should be applied across the whole education and training process. This opinion also points at the importance of taking a holistic approach to the implementation of recent EU initiatives on education, vocational education and training, skills, youth education and digital skills. The EESC calls on Member States to ensure effective support for those facing difficulties in accessing quality and inclusive adult education and training, via targeted funding for those in need, such as the unemployed, non-standard workers, the low-skilled and people with disabilities.
ETSK:n lausunto: How to promote, based on education and training, from a lifelong learning perspective, the skills needed for Europe to establish a more just, more cohesive, more sustainable, more digital and more resilient society
The opinion, presenting EESC's position on the four proposals of the Health package published by the European Commission in November 2020, supports and welcomes these initiatives but draws the attention on some elements.
- The EU and Member States should ensure that everyone has equal access to quality, well staffed, well equipped health and social services. This is particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has deepened existing inequalities.
- Special attention in future EU policies should be given to healthcare workers and the need to improve working conditions, including pay, recruitment and retention, as well as their health and safety.
- The new EU health package should be combined with the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), particularly its principles 12, 16, 17 and 18 and the Action Plan on the EPSR. It should also be part of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.