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At the 2018 Euromed Summit, it was agreed that the next Information Report to be presented to the 2019 Summit of ESCs and Similar institutions will deal with the topic of the impact of digitalisation on SMEs in the Mediterranean area.
The integration of millions of young graduates into the job market each year constitutes a major challenge for the countries of the Southern Mediterranean. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) play a decisive role in the fight against youth unemployment as they are important drivers of job creation and provide 80% of employment in the region.
The directive on services in the Internal Market was designed to promote competitiveness, growth and employment in line with the Lisbon Strategy. It has, at the same time, triggered an intensive debate on the form to be taken by the freedom to provide services. The effects of the Directive on national labour markets, social conditions and consumer protection requirements remain a highly controversial issue.
The European Union is greater than the sum of its Member States operating within the single market.
Since the Bratislava Declaration and Roadmap, and even more since the Rome Declaration, EU firms' and citizens' support for the EU has improved, thereby helping the EU leaders to achieve their essential objective of regaining business and citizens' trust: new sound ideas to foster incrementalinnoation in EU manufaturing must be elaborated and tested before the special summit on the Future of Europe debate, due to take place in the Romanian city of Sibiu on 9 May 2019.
In response to the Commission's request for civil society's contribution to the evaluation of the directive, the EESC has consulted CSOs in the Member States. The Committee's conclusions address the directive's transposition, scope, effectiveness and potential revision.
In each of the 27 EU countries, there are laws or organisational arrangements which exclude some voters with disabilities from participating in EP elections. If the best practices from across all countries were implemented, an ideal system would emerge in which every EU citizen with disabilities not only would have the full possibility to vote but also would be able to choose for themselves the most convenient way in which to vote.
The EESC regularly produces information reports to be presented at the yearly Euromed Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar institutions. In 2018, based on feedback from the previous summit, the Euromed Follow-Up Committee decided to focus on the topic of education and vocational training (VET) in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
In its evaluation of the implementation of EU directives on legal migration from the perspective of organised civil society in selected Member States, the EESC considers the impact of these directives to be generally positive, albeit partial and fragmented. It also notes the impact of irregular migration on the directives' applicability.
The EESC provides a series of recommendations, covering the design of wider legal channels for labour migration; the role of the social partners and other organisations in this field; a simplified implementation of the directives and the modification of some of them; fact-based discourse to better inform the general public, integration and the fight against discrimination.
The EESC has been asked by the European Commission to contribute to the EC's mid-term evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme. In this context, two questionnaires were widely disseminated by the EESC in the member states and four fact-finding missions have been organised. The EESC also held an expert hearing to collect the views of specialised civil society organisations. An information report has been drafted containing the results of this exercise, accompanied by a detailed technical appendix containing important data on the awareness and perception of the programme. The aim of this evaluation was to provide information to the EC on the experience of civil society organisations with the enlarged and improved programme.