564th Plenary session 20-21 October 2021 - Related Opinions
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The EESC welcomes the proposal's intention to implement the EPSR and other EU initiatives aimed at making quality and inclusive education a reality within the green and digital transitions. The EESC calls on Member States to ensure that blended learning is not detrimental to the social value of education or to the relevance of face-to-face teaching. They need to ensure that blended learning is established to support the quality and inclusion of education, in particular for children in need. The EESC notes that well-developed blended learning needs to be supported by sustainable public investment and should be implemented in curricula with a whole-school approach, taking into consideration the needs of teachers, students and their families.
This opinion deals with the new Strategy for the future of Schengen issued by the European Commission last June. The Strategy is part of a broader effort to update and strengthen Schengen, which also includes a proposal to amend the regulation on the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism. In this opinion, the EESC welcomes the Commission's Strategy towards a fully functioning and resilient Schengen area and reaffirms its full support for the principles underlying Schengen cooperation. Nevertheless the opinion also advances some concerns, such as: reports of fundamental rights violations at the EU's external borders; the semi-permanent reintroduction of border controls at parts of Member States internal borders and the negative economic and social impact this has had on businesses, and in particular frontier workers, border communities and Euroregions.
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.
The EESC strongly believes in the importance of the next Semester cycle as a key instrument for implementing the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
However, it is still concerned about the lack of clarity in most Member States as regards their National Recovery and Resilience Plan governance systems and the distribution of responsibilities for their implementation.
The EESC would also draw attention to the need to measure progress in implementation, for which good monitoring indicators are needed; in this connection it welcomes the "Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard" initiative.
Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for a strong industrial policy to avoid dependence on other economic zones for many products and services.
The EESC wants to see real action in this respect by Member States, in terms of investment in education, infrastructure and industrial policy to raise employment and boost European industry.
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