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The Western Balkan countries have some of the lowest female labour force participation and employment rates across Europe. Almost two-thirds of working age women in the region are either inactive or unemployed. The gender gap starts early and persists across all age groups.
The report will try to find out the correlation between education, employment opportunities, family responsibilities and the nowadays status of the women in the region and to propose adequate measures for improving the situation of women in the region.
The introduction of digitalisation in business is having a momentous impact on the production systems, labour conditions and organisational models of the labour market and the society in general. Quality basic education, high-standard and effective training, lifelong learning, up- and re-skilling for all will be the necessary tools for grasping the job opportunities of the future and fostering enterprise competitiveness. In this context, it is important to keep a human-centred approach and to find ways to accompany vulnerable people who will not be able to respond to the growing demands of the new technological era.
Social sustainability is achieved through the reaffirmation of the role and value of the European social model, which represents the identity and specificity of our continent and which guarantees high social protection and citizenship rights for all. There is a clear connection between competitiveness, productivity and social sustainability: all stakeholders must commit themselves to promoting inclusive growth and at the same time foster conditions that are favourable for the world of enterprise, with the aim of creating more and better jobs.
The EESC supports the proposal to increase the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) budget and to include a dedicated reform delivery tool for the "reform commitments". Priority should go to the reforms that have direct spill-over effects on the other Member States. While the increase in the SRPS budget is welcomed, its scale is insufficient considering the growing number of requests from the Member States. Special attention should be given to non-eurozone Member States that are on track to join the euro area.
In order to continue the funding of nuclear research and training it is necessary to adopt a new regulation to prolong all research activities carried out under Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1314/2013. The Euratom programme proposal for 2019-2020 continues to complement the Horizon 2020 programme.
In accordance with Article 7 of the Euratom Treaty, the current (2014-2018) Euratom programme is bound by a five-year timeframe. The present proposal intends to ensure the seamless continuation of the programme in 2019-2020. This approach will ensure greater coherence with the Horizon 2020 timeline. This is all the more important in view of the fact that the Euratom programmes and Horizon 2020 pursue mutually reinforcing objectives.
The Commission's report highlights the key findings of the mid-term evaluation of the European Earth monitoring programme, Copernicus, three years into its implementation. The EESC welcomes the results achieved so far by the Copernicus programme and emphasises that when assessing the achievements of the programme, social and environmental aspects should be considered, in addition to the economic aspect.
The EESC agrees with the Commission's objectives regarding the harmonisation of legal systems and the interpretation of the 2004 intellectual property rights enforcement directive (IPRED).
The EESC welcomes the new set of measures proposed by the European Commission to complete the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and move towards an optimal monetary zone. The EESC supports the various proposed goals for reinforcing the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM). The EESC welcomes that the present communication provides scope for a broader discussion and for a phased approach to implementing the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) and underlines the importance not to lose momentum in implementing the Banking Union. Finally, the EESC reiterates its commitment to a diverse financial ecosystem in which the large pan-European players coexist with small and medium-sized banks and other non-banking entities that focus reliably on the financing of the real economy on an equal footing, in an environment of much reduced systemic risk.