This additional opinion will complement and update the proposals made in the yearly EESC AGS opinion, produced under time pressure, to reinforce the Committee's impact throughout the entire annual semester cycle.
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.
The EESC welcomes the proposal to use the passerelle clauses to establish a qualified majority in the Council and a co-decision system with the European Parliament. In this new set-up, the EESC could play an important role in supporting the trilogue and should be involved.
The Juncker Commission came into office with a commitment to focus on delivering the initiatives needed to support its political priorities and address the issues that really matter to people in the EU. In May 2015, the Commission published an extensive package of new measures to improve and strengthen its better regulation policy in four areas where progress was considered necessary: a) opening up policymaking; b) utilising better tools for better policies; c) keeping the existing stock of legislation fit for purpose; d) Advancing a common agenda with other EU institutions and Member States.