The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a conference on the prospects for the European economy in times of crisis. The event gathered high-level policy-makers, civil society representatives and economic researchers to see how the EU can tackle new dilemmas posed by low-growth prospects and record-high levels of inflation. All agreed that the war in Ukraine has only aggravated trends that have been going on for years.
The EESC held a debate in plenary on the growing importance of organised civil society and cities in Europe's ability to face asymmetric shocks and unforeseen crises. This was linked to the adoption of two opinions, on Flexible Assistance to Territories (FAST-CARE) and on the Ljubljana Agreement on the Urban Agenda of the EU. The Committee welcomes both initiatives, but finds they miss the bar in terms of properly empowering and involving organised civil society.
A resilient, sustainable and inclusive Europe is only possible if organised civil society is systematically involved in both national recovery plans and the Commission's new REPowerEU strategy. During its annual conference in June, the European Semester Group (ESG) renewed its call for a regulation or directive to ensure civil society participation, and proposed a permanent and common investment financing mechanism to enhance crisis preparedness and response capacity.
The European Economic and Social Committee is calling on the European Commission to carry out more targeted impact assessments of its proposals for new EU budget funding sources to repay NextGenerationEU debt. The EESC generally agrees with the proposed EU "own resources" revenues for the budget. However, they need to be stable and fair – and should not burden households or businesses.
The European Commission relaunched the public debate on the review of the EU economic governance framework in October 2021, almost a year after it was put on hold. Following up on this relaunch, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) held a joint online conference as part of the public debate.
On Friday, 14 April 2023, the NAT Section is organising a public hearing "Towards a European Food Policy Council / Sustainable Food System" to feed into the own-initiative opinion NAT/892- Towards a European Food Policy Council as a new governance model in the future EU Framework on Sustainable Food Systems in order to compile the views of the civil society organisations working on these issues.
While Europe and its societies are still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the Conference on the Future of Europe in its closing stages, the EESC will be holding its annual Civil Society Days in March 2022.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are invited to actively play a leading role in co-shaping a new vision for the EU. What is certain is that Europe’s future is closely linked to the future of its industry: strong ambitions require strong and innovative companies that have the means to meet the needs of the digital and green transitions while boosting EU competitiveness.
Europe and its Member States have to deliver wellbeing to the citizens and this can only be done through investments and jobs. This means that the impact which taxes and tax measures have on investments, jobs, trade and growth must be brought to the forefront of the debate.
While the OECD stresses that all taxes have the potential to discourage growth, its analysis of tax structures has found corporate taxes to be the form of taxation that is most harmful to economic growth. Empirical studies confirm that there is a negative relationship between corporate taxes and economic growth.
In order to encourage a broader and more balanced discussion on taxation, the Employers' Group requested that the EESC commission, in 2018, the study on The role of taxes on investment to increase jobs in the EU – An Assessment of Recent Policy Developments in the field of corporate taxes.
- The EESC deems that reporting obligations should not be limited solely to exchanges and transfers in crypto-assets;
- stresses the need for effective and proportional penalties, leaving the decision on the specific amounts of sanctions to be issued up to the Member States;
- hopes that the penalties and compliance measures will be able to strike a proper balance between effective rules and adequate deterrence on one hand, and proportionality on the other.