The Commission's decision to create a Digital Single Market (to remove virtual borders, boost digital connectivity, and make it easier for consumers to access cross-border online content) is therefore a welcome move. But what does it mean for SMEs in practice? How will this affect their day-to-day running? And, given the lessons learnt from previous rapid changes, how do we make an "inclusive" success of the Digital Single Market?
Rannóg um an Margadh Aonair, Táirgeacht agus Tomhaltas (INT) - Related Opinions
The EESC affirms that it is time for the European Commission to propose legislation on mandatory due diligence that acknowledges responsibility based on current standards and offers a clear and secure legal framework for European businesses. It must be ensured that victims of business-related Human Rights infringements have guaranteed access to fair proceedings, courts and authorities.
Europe is embarking on a transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. European businesses can lead the way as we enter this new age, as they has done in the past.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity. Based on the new SME Strategy, the EU will support SMEs by:
- encouraging innovation through new funding and digital innovation hubs as part of the sustainable and digital transitions;
- cutting red tape by reducing barriers within the Single Market and opening up access to finance;
- allowing better access to finance by setting up an SME Initial Public Offering Fund (with investments channelled through a new private-public fund) and the ESCALAR initiative (a mechanism to boost the size of venture capital funds and attract more private investment).
The EESC supports the Commission's 'Long-term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules' and endorses the Communication on Identifying and tackling barriers to the single market.
The EESC believes that the insufficient or inadequate application of EU rules has been the Achilles heel of EU law and that therefore many instances of fraud and illegal behaviour have not been dealt with. It urges the Commission to include in the action plan a clearly defined role for civil society actors, entrepreneurs, workers and consumers.
The EESC welcomes this package of new initiatives in a wide range of areas and advocates a European path to digitalisation by seizing the opportunities for the economy together with the protection of our data to ensure privacy and self-determination.
The European Union and its Member States must stand united to protect their sovereignty. The EESC firmly believes that if Europe is to maintain its leading role in the world, it needs a strong, competitive industrial base. The EESC recognises the crucial importance of shifting to a carbon-neutral economy and of reversing the current curve of biodiversity collapse. Without a green industrial strategy as a cornerstone of the Green Deal, the EU will never succeed in reaching a carbon-neutral economy within one generation. The new industrial strategy must ensure the right balance between supporting European businesses, respecting our 2050 climate neutrality objective and providing consumers with incentives to shift consumption to sustainable goods and services .
The Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan focuses on sustainable products, less waste, product value chains, and circularity in regions and cities, and the global level.
The EESC congratulates the Commission's for its strategy to encourage the uptake of AI technologies while also ensuring their compliance with European ethical norms, legal requirements and social values.
The annual Union work programme for European standardisation for 2020 identifies priorities for European standardisation. The EESC agrees with the Commission that standardisation is crucial to the strategy for the single market and that it should be constantly updated. Moreover, the EESC considers that there is an urgent need to modernise the European standardisation system to meet global challenges with an innovative process of cooperation.
This exploratory opinion of the incoming Croatian Presidency should concentrate on the question, how the achievements and advantages of the Single Market could be better presented to the citizens and businesses in order to ensure their support in further efforts towards developing a comprehensive and long-term Single Market strategy for the future.