The introduction of digitalisation in business is having a momentous impact on the production systems, labour conditions and organisational models of the labour market and the society in general. Quality basic education, high-standard and effective training, lifelong learning, up- and re-skilling for all will be the necessary tools for grasping the job opportunities of the future and fostering enterprise competitiveness. In this context, it is important to keep a human-centred approach and to find ways to accompany vulnerable people who will not be able to respond to the growing demands of the new technological era.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The EESC supports the proposal to increase the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) budget and to include a dedicated reform delivery tool for the "reform commitments". Priority should go to the reforms that have direct spill-over effects on the other Member States. While the increase in the SRPS budget is welcomed, its scale is insufficient considering the growing number of requests from the Member States. Special attention should be given to non-eurozone Member States that are on track to join the euro area.
In order to continue the funding of nuclear research and training it is necessary to adopt a new regulation to prolong all research activities carried out under Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1314/2013. The Euratom programme proposal for 2019-2020 continues to complement the Horizon 2020 programme.
In accordance with Article 7 of the Euratom Treaty, the current (2014-2018) Euratom programme is bound by a five-year timeframe. The present proposal intends to ensure the seamless continuation of the programme in 2019-2020. This approach will ensure greater coherence with the Horizon 2020 timeline. This is all the more important in view of the fact that the Euratom programmes and Horizon 2020 pursue mutually reinforcing objectives.
The EESC agrees with the Commission's objectives regarding the harmonisation of legal systems and the interpretation of the 2004 intellectual property rights enforcement directive (IPRED).
With this amended proposal, the Commission proposes to extend the scope of the proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods to cover also face-to-face sales.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals in principle as a balanced compromise between the objectives of climate-neutral mobility, the innovation capacity of the European automotive industry and preserving quality jobs. In particular, the EESC considers the planned interim target for 2025 of a 15% reduction in emissions compared to 2021 to be very demanding as the required changes are to be made to combustion engines at the cutting edge of technology. Despite this, the EESC views the market development towards zero-emission vehicles and low-emissions vehicles and hybrids as an opportunity. Furthermore the EESC calls for a mid-term review for 2024 to include the state of play regarding the qualification and (re)training of staff as well as an updated analysis of the areas in which (additional) action is required.
The EESC has played an important role in raising awareness of EU trade policy among civil society both in the EU and in third countries. The EESC encourages the Commission to strengthen its dialogue with civil society to develop the functioning of TSD chapters in current and future trade agreements. However, the EESC urges the Commission to be more ambitious in its approach, in particular with respect to strengthening effective enforceability of the commitments in TSD chapters, which is of crucial importance to the EESC. TSD chapters must be given equal weight to those covering commercial, technical or tariff issues.
As a key driver of productivity and innovation, industry has always been a cornerstone of economic prosperity in Europe. We can rely on a strong industrial base, but important efforts are needed by Member States, EU institutions and most importantly industry itself to maintain and reinforce Europe's industrial leadership in the age of globalisation, sustainability challenges and rapid technological change.
The EESC welcomes and supports the European Commission's decision to tackle the problem of intermediaries enabling aggressive tax planning. The Committee notes that the related administrative costs must be reduced to the furthest extent possible for all sizes of businesses and stresses that the taxpayer carries the ultimate responsibility to comply with the proposed directive.
The EESC recognises the important role of transport as a driver of the EU economy and supports the European Commission (EC) in its ambitions to ensure that the EU remains in a leading position in clean, competitive and connected mobility in the future.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the EC is taking the initiative to clarify the regulatory framework on road transport and to ensure better enforcement and closer cooperation between Member States.
However, the EESC is of the opinion that the proposed changes to legislation on driving times and rest periods and on the posting of drivers fail to effectively address the identified problems in road transport in several aspects, including not making the rules simpler, clearer and more enforceable.