The EESC welcomes the NRRPs as an unprecedented opportunity to drive change and trigger investments in sustainable growth and creation of quality jobs. It urges the Commission to put in place measures that guarantee structured involvement of the social partners, CSO and youth organisations in the implementation and monitoring of the NRRPs. It calls on the Member States to ensure quality and inclusive guidance and counselling for all young people in order to provide them with more information on their further education and, subsequently, on career possibilities in the context of the green and digital transition of the labour market. Close attention should be paid to the issue of mental health and psycho-social disorders, especially among young people, by reducing the stigma around mental health issues through prevention and awareness-raising work.
The EESC welcomes the proposal to designate 2022 as the European Year of Youth. Clear indicators need to be developed for the Year, which should focus on the impact on policies and cross-sectoral work beyond the activities organised. The EESC calls for a more ambitious budget, and emphasises the need to ensure that harder-to-reach groups are included in this Year. Welcoming the work that this Year envisages with regard to external relations, it points at the important role that the relatively well-developed youth policies in Europe can play in our neighbourhood and beyond. It points at the need for all institutions to further develop the voice of youth in their policy proposals.
In this opinion, the EESC underlines that volunteering involves millions of citizens in the European Union, acting out of solidarity for others, individually or within organised structures (both informal and formal). This movement requires systematic and thoughtful support, at both EU and Member State level, because its impact on social development is many times greater than the potential cost. The activity of volunteers has real economic value; in many social spheres volunteers are necessary to ensure the basic needs of citizens, including their safety; volunteers play a crucial role in implementing all the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and volunteers are present in every social and age group. The EESC therefore thinks it is unreasonable to limit EU-level and EU-funded volunteer support programmes to just young people.
The Communication is intended to update the previous Communication (COM (2020) 102 final) adopted on 10 March 2020 at the dawn of the COVID-19 crisis, taking into account the latest developments related in particular to the pandemic.
In its opinion, the EESC welcomes the proposal for a Regulation on general product safety (GPSR) as it updates and has the potential to improve the current Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety (GPSD), especially with regard to the challenges and new developments in markets and technology.