Multiannual Financial Framework after 2020 - Related Opinions
The proposal for a Regulation (COM(2018) 366) is based on Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union: the EU pursues the goal
to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples, the EU
shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced. But there is a clear perception that the number of challenges to face is larger, in particular the competition from online platforms and search engines, the concentration of the sector around a limited number of big players, or the rise of disinformation. With this new programme, the EU Commission wants to offer opportunities for operators to develop technologically and artistically innovative European trans-border initiatives to exchange, co-create, co-produce, and distribute European works. The purpose is also to strengthen the position of EU actors in the EU and global markets.
The EESC notes that achieving clean energy is a high priority and to this end fusion energy is recognised as a potential long-term solution with Europe being at the forefront of developing fusion technologies which are carbon-free, sustainable and help secure our mix of energy supplies.
The EESC emphasises that the high level of long-term investment needed for the development of a fusion power plant does still entail some industrial risk, but in the event of success the realisation of a fusion power plant would be a newly introduced factor that would significantly change the existing energy supply by providing a disruptive innovation, with fusion fuel being abundant and virtually inexhaustible.
The Justice, Rights and Values Fund is a much-needed instrument for the promotion of EU values, fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and in support of a vibrant and diverse civil society. Overall funding should be increased to EUR 1.4 billion, and innovative funding tools be used to reinforce civil society participation and capacity. 50% of the different strands should be earmarked for civil society organisations, and funding for litigation in support of civil society organisations defending fundamental rights be supported. Synergies should be found with programmes supporting media freedom.
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 welcomes the proposal for economic corrective measures regarding Member States that commit serious violations of the rule of law in Europe, and recommends that the interdependence between democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law is better reflected. The Commission should develop further channels for debate on Article 2 TEU values, and should include the EESC in this work. The EESC reiterates its call for the creation of a system of regular and independent monitoring of the implementation of these values in the Member States.
The Committee believes that the amount of funding allocated is insufficient considering the aims to be pursued and considers it important to provide equipment with the commensurate speed to those customs offices under greatest pressure to carry out controls, such as sea border offices.
The EESC believes that the amount earmarked for the customs programme may prove to be insufficient in view of the breadth of the proposal's objectives and the targets set. It recommends Member States to increase their willingness to tackle fraud together.
The EESC is pleased to observe that many of its recommendations for the Horizon 2020 mid-term evaluation have been taken up in areas such as collaborative research and mobility, steps to strengthen innovation, overcome disparities among regions, promote science and innovation activities among citizens, remedy low success rates and reduce the administrative burden.