The EESC highly appreciates the first activation of the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The current activation of the Directive could well be used to develop solidarity mechanisms among the Member States. It strongly supports an urgent need for effective, genuine, humane – and humanitarian – common European regulations on migration, asylum and security cooperation in an open, but equally secure Schengen area, in full accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The consequences of the war are also a threat for the European model of the social market economy as well as for the freedom and rights of EU citizens and other inhabitants. The EESC encourages preserving and valuing the Schengen area as it is currently constituted, to guarantee not only the free movement of human beings, but also the functioning of the Single Market.
European Union statistics clearly show the enormous amounts of packaging materials currently used for the safety, hygiene, transportation, conservation, presentation and application of all kinds of goods – be they for industrial purposes, construction work, communication systems or individual consumption. Most of them are of carbonic or metallic origin, which are limited resources. A largely predominant part of the waste of these packaging materials can, and mostly do, have a negative environmental impact and may seriously endanger human health as well as animal and plant well-being. Material transformation and recycling for the reuse of the basic substances can only very partially reduce the many problems connected.
The Communication on 8th Report presents the main changes in territorial disparities over the past decade and how policies have affected these disparities. It highlights the potential of the green and digital transitions as new drivers of EU growth, but argues that without appropriate policy action new economic, social and territorial disparities may appear. It also launches a reflection on how cohesion policy should evolve to respond to these challenges and in particular how to ensure that place-based, multilevel and partnership led approaches continue to improve cohesion, while building on synergies and mainstreaming cohesion objectives into other policies and instruments.
EESC will present its views on this report stressing the important role that civil society plays and that local policies need local strategies, drawn up with local partners.
The EESC welcomes the European Commission's decision to prolong the State aid Temporary Framework stemming from the pandemic. However, these measures are too exceptional for them to be extended to the general framework and therefore become permanent.
Health and social services such as care, helping disadvantaged individuals and those with disabilities to break back into the labour market, childcare and social housing are fundamental when it comes to guaranteeing social cohesion in the ongoing period of post-pandemic recovery, humanitarian crisis and international tensions. European rules on state aid for these services are therefore fundamental.