The EESC calls on the authorities at all levels to engage in close cooperation with all the stakeholders with a view to drawing up a specific action plan on the future of European retail in the 21st century.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
The EESC welcomes the Commission proposal on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, while calling for the indeterminate legal concepts such as "terrorist information, terrorist acts, terrorist groups or advocacy of terrorism" to be defined as precisely as possible. The EESC highlights the need to assess the effects of the application of this proposal on SMEs, as well as to consider transition arrangements facilitating their adaptation and a level playing field.
The EESC points out that a non-immigration scenario in Europe would mean among other things that Member States' economies would suffer substantially; demographic challenges would be aggravated; pension systems might become unsustainable; racism and xenophobia would flourish even more than at present. Non-integration bears economic, socio-cultural and political risks and costs. Hence, investment in migrant integration is the best insurance policy against potential future costs, problems and tensions.
The proposals discussed in this opinion form the second package of proposals launched for the development of a European Education Area – the proposal on the automatic mutual recognition of diplomas, on early childhood education and care and on the teaching and learning of languages. The EESC welcomes the setting up of a European Education Area, given its contribution towards the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and in promoting amongst others Europe's social, economic and demographic development. It encourages however to incorporate this initiative within a long-term vision for education, training and lifelong learning, based on effective social dialogue.
In this opinion, the EESC considers that whisteblower protection apart from protecting whistleblowers, is an important tool to help companies to better address unlawful and unethical acts. It thinks that the directive's scope should be assessed on the basis of the evaluation of its implementation, and that it should be broad enough to safeguard the general interest. The Committee makes further recommendations:
The EESC agrees with the need to allocate more resources to operational and preventive security-related actions and programmes and supports the creation of a flexible and transparent fund – distributing resources according to clear and predictable operational criteria and objectives – in order to strengthen them. The Security Fund should be designed so as to strengthen a preventive policy, which requires active engagement and cooperation with civil society, especially in terms of caring for and making arrangements for victims, auditing security actors, and preventing radicalisation. Grants from the Fund – in the case of both EU Member States and third countries – must only go to public institutions that can effectively ensure that human rights will be strictly upheld.
The EESC considers the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) as pivotal factors to achieve sustainable development in the EU and therefore strongly regrets the cut of 12% in the ERDF and 46% in the CF.