The EESC calls upon the Commission to amend its plans to make the use of EU funding by Member States dependent upon their respect for the rule of law, democratic standards and fundamental rights.
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Measures to enhance the international competitiveness of European SMEs by reducing costs and streamlining registration and company changes through digitalisation were welcomed by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in a report adopted at its October plenary. New common rules simplifying cross border conversions, mergers and divisions also received a thumbs-up, with European civil society appreciating the Commission's wholistic approach, taking into account the impact of these processes on employees and society as a whole.
The EESC hearing on the new MFF and cohesion policy seen from the disability perspective shows the EC proposal could still be improved
The European Commission's proposals for new rules governing the funds that underpin EU cohesion policy fail to list equality and accessibility for persons with disabilities among mandatory eligibility criteria for funding. This poses a risk that public money may be used to finance infrastructure or services that will only increase their discrimination, an EESC hearing revealed.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) supports the creation of the funds for asylum and migration as well as for border and visa management. In the opinion adopted at its October plenary session and drawn up by Giuseppe Iuliano, the Committee agrees with the Commission decision to increase the budget for both funds, but points out that it is inappropriate to remove the word 'integration' from the title of the migration fund: regular channels for access to the EU should also be specified.
It needs target-oriented support to blossom fully
The Creative Europe programme must help the industry to flourish and unleash its full potential. The main focus needs to be placed on social inclusion, by creating sustainable, well-paid jobs and helping Europe's various creative industries to become competitive on the world market.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) believes a fully-funded, strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is essential and rejects any cuts to the CAP budget. The EESC welcomes the legislative proposals on the CAP, with the new focus on increased environmental and climate change ambition, subsidiarity and simplification.
While welcoming the greater freedom the new proposals on subsidiarity would give individual Member States, the EESC is keen to ensure that the CAP remains a common policy with a strong single market.
The EESC firmly believes that cohesion policy is a key element for Europe's future, warranting sufficient resources and appropriate reform. It therefore rejects the Commission's proposal that the cohesion policy budget be cut back for the next programming period (2021-2027) and points to the potentially harmful effect on effectiveness, profile and reputation.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has drawn up an exploratory opinion on Bioeconomy - contributing to achieving the EU's climate and energy goals and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) following a request from the Austrian Council Presidency.
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.