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.
Liberal Professions 4.0 - Related Opinions
The own-initiative opinion presents the EESC’s views on the gaps in the current system and indicates potential measures for a European wide push for digital up-skilling of health and care workers, and also for policies that prevent further digital divides by addressing skill gaps in the population at large. This own-initiative opinion is in part a follow-up to the own-initiative opinion entitled "Towards digital health".
The EESC welcomes in principle the integration of five predecessor programmes (and of the European Statistical Programme, though that extends beyond the scope of the single market) and a number of budget headings into a single market programme, as it can be expected to produce synergies and improve cost efficiency. Due to steadily increasing volume of work in consumer protection policy EESC urges the Commission to further develop cooperation with consumer networks and organisations and to increase funding for consumer protection. It is also concerned that the negotiations on the EU financial framework could result in cuts and thus in a lower budget than in the past.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the Commission has made it clear that research and innovation must continue to be an essential EU priority.
The EESC agrees with the vision outlined in the communication. It believes that in the course of the changes generated by digital transformation, people must be at the center of care. The digitalisation processes must help healthcare professionals to spend more time with patients. It must be ensured that healthcare professions are appropriately staffed with qualified personnel and equipped with appropriate digital skills. Digital tools must be a lever to develop new forms of organisation in health and care systems.
The EESC welcomes the request of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union for an exploratory opinion on "The impact of subsidiarity and gold-plating on the economy and employment". It adds value and more aspects to the ongoing debate on Better Regulation to provide legal certainty, clear rules and "to ensure that regulatory burdens on businesses, citizens or public administrations are kept to a minimum".
The EESC reiterates its demand that future-related issues including debates on competences and on the level of regulations must be addressed at national and European level with the full participation of social partners and other civil society organisations. This is a fundamental expression of multi-level participatory democracy and must therefore be strengthened in the EU and the Member States.
The EESC considers that social economy enterprises have a fundamental role since they are active in four key aspects of the migrant integration process: health and assistance, housing, training and education, as well as work and active inclusion. It believes that social economy enterprises can encourage and support not just the creation of new jobs, but also entrepreneurship and access to economic activities for migrants and refugees. It therefore asks the European institutions to prioritise policies geared towards social economy enterprises, a request it also made in its contribution to the Commission's 2018 work programme.
The Commission's report highlights the key findings of the mid-term evaluation of the European Earth monitoring programme, Copernicus, three years into its implementation. The EESC welcomes the results achieved so far by the Copernicus programme and emphasises that when assessing the achievements of the programme, social and environmental aspects should be considered, in addition to the economic aspect.
The EESC believes that equal access to healthcare, one of the main objectives of health policies, can benefit from digital support provided certain conditions are met: equal geographical coverage; bridging the digital divide; interoperability among the various components of the digital architecture (databases, medical devices); and protection of health data which must under no circumstances be used to the detriment of patients. The EESC highlights the need to develop and facilitate people's digital health literacy to encourage a critical approach to health information and to support the development of a nomenclature of reimbursable treatments and wellbeing services
In its Opinion, the EESC draws attention to significant inefficiencies still existing in both the formulation and implementation of SME policies, warns against a bureaucratic approach still prevalent in EU policies and calls for a visible, coordinated and consistent horizontal policy for SMEs, based on a multiannual action plan. The EESC also proposes that the Commission assess whether the current definition of SMEs corresponds to their heterogeneity, sectoral dynamics, specific features and diversity during the last decade.