This additional opinion complements and updates the proposals made in the yearly EESC AGS opinion. The EESC welcomes country-specific recommendations focus on investment and underlines that special attention must be paid to productive investments and investment in social infrastructure to prioritise sustainable growth. Next year's cycle should contain more CSRs to combat the existential threat of climate change. Investment would also be needed to enable the implementation of the social pillar to prevent an increase of social, economic, and environmental inequality. Taxation should favour this type of investment.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was created in 2008 by Regulation (EC) No 294/2008. Its mission is to respond to major societal challenges by improving the EU's innovation capabilities and performance. Every seven years, the Commission has to submit a proposal for a Strategic Innovation Programme (SIP) which sets out the priority areas and the long-term strategy for the EIT's action, as well as its financial needs.
Blockchain technology contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), empowers citizens, boosts entrepreneurship and innovation, improves mobility and cross-border opportunities for businesses while enhancing transparency for consumers. However, several challenges still remain to be addressed, in particular the urgent matter of providing legal clarity and certainty and protecting privacy.
Digitalisation is on everyone’s lips, often spoken of as an irresistible force for change. We are told that in its scale, speed and complexity, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is unlike anything humankind has experienced before. These changes are transforming the nature of work and the individual behaviour of users in Europe without regard for the role and place of the human factor.
AI systems must comply with existing legislation. It is important to identify which challenges can be met by means of codes of ethics, self-regulation and voluntary commitments and which need to be tackled by regulation and legislation supported by oversight and, in the event of non-compliance, penalties.
The Commission launched a debate on an enhanced use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in social policy to render decision-making more flexible and efficient. The EESC supports the transition to QMV in the areas of non-discrimination, social security and protection of workers, as well as for employment conditions of third-country nationals.
2019 is the year we are celebrating the ten-year anniversary of a real and living partnership – the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Over the last decade this partnership has gone through its share of difficulties. Yet, it not only endured - it developed, matured and delivered beyond what we foresaw at the beginning.
Thus after 10 years of EaP policy, it is crucial to properly evaluate the achievements and aims and reflect on the next possible steps. It is important to ensure that EaP policy connects countries and people and covers a broad area of issues, including supporting civil society, pluralism and independent media, as well as ensuring gender equality and non-discrimination. As it is likely that the policy will change its course from a one-size-fits-all to a tailor-made approach, it will be crucial to ensure that those wanting to get closer to the EU have this opportunity, adapted to their ambitions and pace.