The formal inclusion of European citizenship rights in the recent treaties has not been enough to stop the rise of euro-scepticism in public opinion.
It is urgent to enable European citizenship to be used fully.
Firstly, the EESC proposes to put right particularly unjustified deficiencies in Europe, i.e.:
- re-start work on and adopt rapidly a European statute for associations;
- do the same as regards a European statute for mutual societies;
- create a simplified European statute open to SMEs;
- implement the Community patent between the Member States which have ratified it;
- remove all double taxation, at least in the eurozone;
- ensure non-discriminatory portability of social security benefits.
Secondly, the EESC proposes to develop a more citizen-oriented governance of the Union, i.e.:
- put right the media's failure to make people aware of Europe by encouraging best practices, with the support of a European audiovisual agency;
- upgrade the consultation phase in preparing projects, by ensuring they have more added value for citizens;
- identify and justify publicly the reasons for proposals concerning European citizens' rights being blocked at the Council or withdrawn by the Commission;
- promote socio-professional self-regulation and co-regulation in all areas of direct relevance to civil society;
- set out the ground rules, in liaison with the various single market support agencies, for a concept of European public service, ultimately including a Europeanised customs service at the EU's external frontiers; develop more interactive methods of providing information about Europe;
- involve socio-professional players in the interventions of the Structural Funds on the ground.
Finally, the EESC proposes to promote joint initiatives with a strong identity content, such as:
- giving greater priority to EU budget funding of particularly significant major European projects (trans-European networks, research, advanced technology);
- investing in ambitious European education and training programmes, not least in the field of languages, including a European non-military voluntary service scheme that is attractive to young people;
- getting celebrities to talk about their sense of having a "European" identity;
- investing in equally ambitious European cultural and media programmes, with a common statute for foundations and sponsors;
- making particular progress in economic and social integration in the eurozone;
- adopting decisions of major political significance, such as electing the European Parliament on the same day, making 9 May a European public holiday and bringing forward a European right of popular initiative.