This opinion is the EESC's contribution to the implementation of the European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP) published by the European Commission in December 2020. The EESC welcomes the document, which it views as both positive and necessary, and recommends that the European Commission add to it a specific pillar for the involvement of civil society and social partners and the promotion of labour democracy. Indeed, the EESC regrets that the EDAP has failed to address the important role of the social contract, social dialogue and collective bargaining in reducing inequalities and encouraging Europeans to embrace democratic ideals. The EESC also believes that greater emphasis should be placed on civil dialogue, and it therefore reiterates its call for the creation of an annual Civil Society Forum on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (SOC/627).
The EU chemicals strategy aims to address the cumulative and combined effects of chemicals, including pesticides, stressing a need to accelerate work on methodologies that ensure existing provisions can be fully implemented.
The strategy is intended as a first step towards a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, as announced in the European Green Deal.
The Communication stresses the EU's commitment to safeguarding an online environment providing the highest possible freedom and security, for the benefit of its citizens.
The EESC fully supports the European Commission's action plan on intellectual property as a very good and holistic approach to modernising the EU IP system. The EESC welcomes all measures to enforce the fight against IPR infringement, and the strengthening of the role of the European Anti-Fraud Office in the fight against counterfeiting.
The opinion, presenting EESC's position on the four proposals of the Health package published by the European Commission in November 2020, supports and welcomes these initiatives but draws the attention on some elements.
- The EU and Member States should ensure that everyone has equal access to quality, well staffed, well equipped health and social services. This is particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has deepened existing inequalities.
- Special attention in future EU policies should be given to healthcare workers and the need to improve working conditions, including pay, recruitment and retention, as well as their health and safety.
- The new EU health package should be combined with the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), particularly its principles 12, 16, 17 and 18 and the Action Plan on the EPSR. It should also be part of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.