The Communication is intended to update the previous Communication (COM (2020) 102 final) adopted on 10 March 2020 at the dawn of the COVID-19 crisis, taking into account the latest developments related in particular to the pandemic.
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 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.
The European Green Deal announced that to protect Europe’s citizens and ecosystems, the EU needs to move towards a zero pollution ambition, and better prevent and remedy pollution from air, water, soil, and consumer products.
The EESC endorses the Commission proposal and agrees that action must be taken to bolster the instruments safeguarding the EU market and its businesses. This will entail plugging a gap in the legislative framework as regards competition, trade and public procurement with a view to guaranteeing fair competition which is not distorted by foreign subsidies. Some aspects of the intrinsically complex and far-reaching legislative mechanism need to be further refined.
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.
This opinion comments on the new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work for the period 2021-2027. The framework sets out the key actions needed to improve workers' health and safety over the coming years and focuses on three objectives: managing change brought by green, digital and demographic transitions as well as changes to the traditional work environment, improving prevention of accidents and illnesses, and increasing preparedness for any potential future crises. The EESC broadly agrees with the vision set out in the strategic framework but proposes also additional measures and initiatives to be integrated in the strategy.