The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) paid tribute to its British members on 22 January 2020 at the last plenary session they will attend before the UK leaves the EU on 31 January. The 24 members representing the United Kingdom received a commemorative medal in a ceremony that showed the EESC's commitment to maintaining strong ties with British civil society after Brexit.
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The European Union should grasp the opportunity of the new political mandate and financial period to improve its economic policy coordination and governance. The European Semester should become the most important element of economic policy coordination and a multi-level and multi-actor governance approach should be implemented, says the European Economic and Social Committee. It suggests that an EESC competence centre for exchange of information could be established to address implementation concerns in relation to a future EU strategy.
At its plenary session in July, the European Economic and Social Committee presented proposals for the economic agenda of the upcoming legislative period (2019-2024) and recommended that they should form the basis of a new European economic strategy. The Committee's proposals seek to develop more resilient and sustainable EU economic policies within an improved governance framework for the Economic and Monetary Union.
The euro ranks second in the world as a reserve currency and as a currency used for fixed income securities issues and international trade transactions. However, its use internationally has yet to return to levels before the financial crisis, and its future role in the international monetary system is tied to the economic prospects of the euro area.
The European Union urgently needs a new, ambitious and clear strategy for its future. Cohesion policy must be an integral part of it. New provisions for cohesion policy post-2020 must provide for sufficient means and guarantee improved policy efficiency and visibility, urges the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in an exploratory opinion on the future of cohesion policy, requested by the Romanian Council Presidency.
At a time of growing social and economic disparities between the regions of the European Union and when Euroscepticism is on the rise, all relevant stakeholders must advocate for an ambitious and future-proof cohesion policy post-2020. The goal must be sustainable and inclusive economic and social growth, competitiveness and employment across the EU.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is making sure it has more effective tools to ensure strict adherence to ethical standards, non-discrimination, equal opportunities and dignity in the workplace, with sanctions for harassment of any kind.
In the public debate organized by the Robert Schuman Foundation and the Wilfried Martens Centre, speakers included: Alain Lamassoure (MEP-EPP), Markus Schulte (Cabinet of Commissioner G.H.Oettinger) and Eva Palackova (political adviser, EPP). Eric Maurice (Schuman Foundation.) and Tomi Huhtanen and Dimitar Lilkov (Martens Centre.) performed the role of moderators.
- The EU will not be able to face the upcoming economic, social, environmental, and political challenges with the proposed allocation of resources.
- Cohesion and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding should be maintained, not reduced, during the next budgetary period.
- The EU must increase its own resources, including taxes on financial transactions, and on digital multinationals.
The EESC firmly believes that cohesion policy is a key element for Europe's future, warranting sufficient resources and appropriate reform. It therefore rejects the Commission's proposal that the cohesion policy budget be cut back for the next programming period (2021-2027) and points to the potentially harmful effect on effectiveness, profile and reputation.