When it comes to development and EU-Africa relations, the EESC consistently emphasised the importance of sustainable development and cooperation based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Initiatives focused on trade, investment and business relations with Africa could be welcomed, but not to the detriment of traditional development policies focusing on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EU and Africa leaders agreed in 2015 at the Valletta summit on migration on setting up the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), as the main instrument of EU external migration policy. The Fund finances the development of border protection capacities, but also long-term development policy projects so as to decrease the likelihood of further migration.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
This additional opinion complements and updates the proposals made in the yearly EESC AGS opinion. The EESC welcomes country-specific recommendations focus on investment and underlines that special attention must be paid to productive investments and investment in social infrastructure to prioritise sustainable growth. Next year's cycle should contain more CSRs to combat the existential threat of climate change. Investment would also be needed to enable the implementation of the social pillar to prevent an increase of social, economic, and environmental inequality. Taxation should favour this type of investment.
AI systems must comply with existing legislation. It is important to identify which challenges can be met by means of codes of ethics, self-regulation and voluntary commitments and which need to be tackled by regulation and legislation supported by oversight and, in the event of non-compliance, penalties.
The proposed opinion will look at new approaches to more fairly distributing the burden of transformation towards a sustainable Europe.
The Commission launched a debate on an enhanced use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in social policy to render decision-making more flexible and efficient. The EESC supports the transition to QMV in the areas of non-discrimination, social security and protection of workers, as well as for employment conditions of third-country nationals.
The EESC welcomes the proposal to use the passerelle clauses to establish a qualified majority in the Council and a co-decision system with the European Parliament. In this new set-up, the EESC could play an important role in supporting the trilogue and should be involved.