The Digital Europe programme put together by the Commission takes a step in the right direction by recognising the key role played by digital skills, but it could be more closely tied to social realities. In its opinion drawn up by Norbert Kluge and Ulrich Samm and adopted at the October plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Commission proposal and points out that digitalisation in Europe must be made inclusive: the "digital dividend" must be equally distributed through appropriate policy measures.
The new Commission proposal must go further, taking all available forms of transport into account. It should focus on intermodality in freight and passenger transport. In the opinion drafted by Giulia Barbucci and adopted at its October plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) backs the Third Mobility Package presented by the Commission but advocates a more ambitious project not limited to road transport.
Shortly after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 8 October urging countries to massively shift towards a new paradigm, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted an opinion arguing for a "finance-climate pact" to ensure the financing of the necessary transitions. With the EU budget for the period 2021/2027 about to be adopted, the EESC tables the most ambitious proposal among the EU institutions: 40% of the EU budget should be devoted to the fight against climate change and its consequences, be it environmental, economic or social.
At a meeting of the Parliament's Committee on Budgets on 9 October, EESC member Javier Doz Orrit assured the European Parliament of the EESC's full support in the quest for a strong Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.
Despite voicing its support for the Commission's initiative to help solve the problems confronting cross-border mobility, the EESC gives a number of suggestions and recommendations and asks for clarifications
The new EESC European Semester Group reflects the growing importance of the European Semester and the lack of involvement and policy contributions on the part of social partners and civil society organisations in the process
The EU needs to ensure that the AI revolution does not endanger the quality of work in Europe. Interactions between workers and machines must be regulated in such a way that humans never become underlings to machines, argues the European Economic and Social Committee in a report adopted at its September plenary.
EESC calls for appropriate indicators to measure progress at EU and Member States level
In its own-initiative opinion Indicators better suited to evaluate the SDGs – the civil society contribution, the EESC reiterates its call on the Commission to establish an overarching European Sustainable Development Strategy with concrete objectives, targets and actions to achieve the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the EU. To properly measure progress on SDG implementation, quantitative indicators should be accompanied by qualitative ones, and should be developed with the involvement of civil society.
The EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee went to Tirana last week to meet representatives of Albanian civil society. On 24 September the committee members met social partners to discuss the state of social dialogue in Albania, and on 25 September they held a hearing on youth policy and youth participation in Albanian society.
EESC also pushing to extend protection to all operators
Unfair trading practices (UTPs) result in negative economic, social and environmental effects. The food supply chain is particularly vulnerable to UTPs, due to severe imbalances of power between small and large operators. The European Commission has recognised this problem, and the EESC appreciates the Commission's proposal for a directive on unfair trade practices in the food supply chain as a necessary first step; however, it regrets that it does not go far enough.