The EESC welcomes the proposed regulatory initiative, which will have an indirect positive impact as it simplifies and speeds up cross-border judicial procedures and cooperation, and will also contribute to improving the functioning of the single market. It is worth noting that e-CODEX is not limited to e-justice. In anticipation of the future, the EESC recommends including a provision to open up the possibility of other uses by other public administrations, including for example the transfer of e-health records.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The EU chemicals strategy aims to address the cumulative and combined effects of chemicals, including pesticides, stressing a need to accelerate work on methodologies that ensure existing provisions can be fully implemented.
The strategy is intended as a first step towards a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, as announced in the European Green Deal.
The EESC recommends, in order to achieve high-quality and inclusive education and training and lifelong learning for all, establishing achievable long-term goals and a constant monitoring system within the European Education Area (EEA) for each Member State. The teaching of key competences, including social sensitivity, empathy, intercultural dialogue and citizenship skills, should be applied across the whole education and training process. This opinion also points at the importance of taking a holistic approach to the implementation of recent EU initiatives on education, vocational education and training, skills, youth education and digital skills. The EESC calls on Member States to ensure effective support for those facing difficulties in accessing quality and inclusive adult education and training, via targeted funding for those in need, such as the unemployed, non-standard workers, the low-skilled and people with disabilities.
Mišljenje EGSO-a: How to promote, based on education and training, from a lifelong learning perspective, the skills needed for Europe to establish a more just, more cohesive, more sustainable, more digital and more resilient society
Teleworking has the potential to support work-life balance and should be a means of promoting gender equality. For this, the burden of the unpaid care and domestic work performed by women must be fully shared with men. Then, the rules applying to the workplace must be applied to the home office, including on health and safety and protection against harassment and violence. As there is no consolidated European framework on telework, it is necessary to assess existing rules' effectiveness. Social partners should review the 2002 Framework Agreement on Telework and give it a new impetus.
Mišljenje EGSO-a: Teleworking and gender equality - conditions so that teleworking does not exacerbate the unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work between women and men and for it to be an engine for promoting gender equality
The pandemic expedited the shift to teleworking, and it became essential in tackling the health crisis. Lessons learned from the pandemic could lead to regulations in the EU and in the Member States be amended and new regulations created so as to promote the positive aspects of telework and protect the fundamental rights of workers. The Member States, with the involvement of the social partners, need to ensure that there is an appropriate national framework for teleworking, setting out the rules of play for companies and workers interested in adopting this form of work.
- The EESC welcomes the Commission's communications adopted in 2020 in connection with the enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans and agrees that integrating the Western Balkan partners into the EU represents a geostrategic investment in the peace, stability, security and economic growth of the entire continent. The Western Balkans are an integral part of Europe and a geostrategic priority for the EU.
- The EESC welcomes the European Green Deal, which includes specific objectives for the Western Balkans, as well as the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans accompanying the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.