EU Heads of State or Government, meeting in Versailles on 11 March, committed to “bolster European defence capabilities” in light of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. They agreed to: 1) increase defence expenditures; 2) step up cooperation through joint projects; 3) close shortfalls and meet capability objectives; 4) boost innovation including through civil/military synergies; and 5) strengthen and develop our defence industry, including SMEs. Moreover, they invited “the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, to put forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps by mid-May and to propose any further initiative necessary to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base.” The tasking was also integrated in the Strategic Compass on Security and Defence adopted by the Council and endorsed by the European Council in March 2022.
The exploratory opinion will look into EU competitiveness and the regulatory impacts of Union legislation on EU's businesses. The EU must decrease its strategic dependency and ensure its higher resilience, as well as openness to the outside world and competitiveness of its businesses. According to the Czech Presidency priorities, the Single Market serves as the EU's greatest asset in order to fulfil these targets.
This own-initiative opinion will offer an overview of how gender equality and economic empowerment has been built into the RRF Regulation and will focus on gender-oriented public investments and programmes foreseen in NRRPs on targeted recovery plans to support women’s participation in the labour market, while giving concrete recommendations to ensure gender-based investments.
Considering the extent of the food security crisis and the urgency to address the issue of excessive commodity speculation, the aim of this own-initiative opinion is to analyse the current situation in more detail; gather experts' views on the impacts of commodity speculation on food price increases and food security worldwide; and provide civil society's recommendations on policy measures that are needed to address excessive price speculation and increase market transparency.