Multiannual Financial Framework after 2020 - Related Opinions
The absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
The EESC notes that the international role of the euro has not yet recovered to the pre-financial crisis level. Whereas the European Commission's proposed measures are welcome and deemed necessary by the EESC, they may not go far enough given the extent of the euro area's social and economic challenges. Social cohesion, economic upward convergence and the promotion of competitiveness and innovation should be the basis on which the euro area's economy gathers pace and supports a stronger international role for the euro.
The opinion tables proposals on how to enhance the European project and bring it closer to its citizens.
This proposal is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) outlined in the European Commission’s Communication ‘A modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends – The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027’. On 14 June 2018 the European Commission presented the budget for the external action of the European Union, which includes and the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the European Instrument for Nuclear Safety.
The EU’s geopolitical context has changed dramatically in the last decade. The situation in its neighbouring regions is unstable and it faces a complex and challenging environment in which new threats, such as hybrid and cyber-attacks, are emerging, and more conventional challenges are returning.
EU citizens and their political leaders agree that the EU should collectively take more responsibility for its security. In the joint declaration of 25 March 2017 in Rome, leaders of 27 Member States and the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission stated the Union will strengthen its common security and defence and foster a more competitive and integrated defence industry.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the proposal for a regulation for the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) research and training programme 2021-2025.
The EESC considers the EURATOM budget to be proportionate to the objectives set and considers it essential to maintain this financial allocation regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. The Committee also considers it crucial in this respect to manage the United Kingdom's exit from the Euratom programme with the utmost care, particularly with regard to research already in progress, shared infrastructure and the social impact on staff (e.g. working conditions) both on British soil and elsewhere.
The proposal for a Regulation (COM(2018) 366) is based on Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union: the EU pursues the goal
to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples, the EU
shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced. But there is a clear perception that the number of challenges to face is larger, in particular the competition from online platforms and search engines, the concentration of the sector around a limited number of big players, or the rise of disinformation. With this new programme, the EU Commission wants to offer opportunities for operators to develop technologically and artistically innovative European trans-border initiatives to exchange, co-create, co-produce, and distribute European works. The purpose is also to strengthen the position of EU actors in the EU and global markets.
The EESC notes that achieving clean energy is a high priority and to this end fusion energy is recognised as a potential long-term solution with Europe being at the forefront of developing fusion technologies which are carbon-free, sustainable and help secure our mix of energy supplies.
The EESC emphasises that the high level of long-term investment needed for the development of a fusion power plant does still entail some industrial risk, but in the event of success the realisation of a fusion power plant would be a newly introduced factor that would significantly change the existing energy supply by providing a disruptive innovation, with fusion fuel being abundant and virtually inexhaustible.