Trade Policy Review - An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy
The EESC underlines the role of adult learning to help adults improve and acquire citizenship skills and to be more active in society. It considers that lifelong learning should become a lifestyle for all and a reality at the workplace, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to achieve and raise the target of 60% of adult learning participation per year. It recommends Member States to strengthen the policy, governance and funding to adult learning and ensure equal access to lifelong learning for all adults. Better access to guidance and counselling is needed so that all adults are informed on lifelong learning possibilities. Companies, together with trade unions, should be involved as much as possible in establishing strategies for skills development for the digital and green transitions of industries.
The EESC welcomes the new EU Disability Rights Strategy, acknowledging that it is a clear step forward compared with the previous one. It is however concerned about the lack of binding measures and hard legislation implementing the Strategy.
Among other recommendations, the Committee regrets the lack of specific actions addressing the needs of women and girls with disabilities and calls for a specific flagship initiative in the second half of the period of the Strategy. It also calls for the full involvement and participation of organisations of persons with disabilities in the proposed Disability Platform. As regarding the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the EESC feels it should be strongly linked to the Disability Strategy and used to help persons with disabilities recovering from the pandemic.
The Own Resources Decision (ORD) entered into force on 1 June, enabling the Commission to start borrowing resources for the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument. For the EESC, a well-functioning funding strategy is key for the smooth implementation of NGEU. Sound and sustainable funding and solid risk management are in the very interests of civil society. Moreover, borrowing and debt management has to be based on democratic control, legitimacy and transparency.
The EESC stresses how important it is that the Commission manage the funding strategy directly and does not outsource this. The massive engagement on capital markets will be accompanied with a broad set of risks. The EESC supports the establishment of solid risk-management systems and the holding of the 'NGEU account' with the ECB.
The communication presents a vision, targets and avenues for a successful digital transformation of Europe by 2030. It proposes to agree on a set of digital principles, to rapidly launch important multi-country projects, and to prepare a legislative proposal setting out a robust governance framework, to monitor progress – the Digital Compass.
On 22 February 2021, the European Commission (EC) presented an Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defence and space industries (COM(2021) 70 final) to further enhance Europe's technological edge and support its industrial base.
The European recovery strategy is very clear, focusing on the twin transition: green and digital, and addressing strategic dependencies. In this regard, the joint undertakings have a very important role to play in bringing together European expertise from different economic sectors, fostering competitiveness, improving skills and strengthening the industrial base. In its opinion, the EESC analyses the nine institutionalised European partnerships covered by the Commission proposal based on Article 187 TFEU establishing individual joint undertakings for their implementation and formulates some recommendations regarding their framework and ecosystem.