The EESC welcomes this package of new initiatives in a wide range of areas and advocates a European path to digitalisation by seizing the opportunities for the economy together with the protection of our data to ensure privacy and self-determination.
Opinions in the spotlight
The Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan focuses on sustainable products, less waste, product value chains, and circularity in regions and cities, and the global level.
In its White Paper on AI the Commission makes proposals to promote the development of AI in Europe while guaranteeing respect of fundamental rights. AI is growing fast, which is why Europe must maintain and increase its level of investment. At the same time, AI presents potential risks that need to be addressed. The White Paper identifies options for maximizing the benefits of AI and solving the problems it poses, and invites stakeholders to comment on these options.
Europe is embarking on a transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. European industry can lead the way as we enter this new age, as it has done in the past.
Three drivers will transform our industry, support our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and keep Europe sustainable and competitive.
In this opinion the EESC defends the following points:
1. The EU and Member States should ensure that the gender perspective is fully integrated in COVID-19 recovery measures.
2. Gender equality should be fully taken into account in the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
3. The Gender Equality Strategy should be coordinated involving all Member States, social partners and civil society organisations.
4. To put an end to the gender pay gap (16%), binding measures on gender pay transparency are unavoidable.
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Disruptions like coronavirus (COVID-19) threaten to bring the world economy and social life to a standstill. Its impacts include recessions in the USA, the EU, Japan and other regions of the world, extremely slow growth in China and huge losses in terms of output. Governments have to offset economic damage with fiscal and monetary policies and cope with the expected changes of the economic paradigm. The EESC stresses the need for efficient business models and trade defence mechanisms, in particular with regard to Asia, and notes that 36 million jobs in the EU depend on the EU's exporting potential, and that the share of EU employment supported by sales of goods and services to the rest of the world in relation to total employment increased from 10.1% in 2000 to 15.3% in 2017. The fiscal, economic and social response to the crisis is necessary for preventing its negative impact on these and other sectors.