The Commission proposal contributes to the creation of a "Europe fit for the digital age" that can make the most of the digital transition, in order to give citizens better opportunities to connect, communicate and facilitate professional and business activity in the single market. The Committee welcomes this draft European regulation and deems it necessary that the proposal at last aim to provide consumers with the same level of service and protection abroad as at home.
Opinions with Workers' Group members as rapporteur/co-rapporteur/rapporteur-general
Digital transformation begins with the trust of citizens and businesses. This exploratory opinion at the request of the Slovenian EU Presidency proposes the tools needed to build public trust in digital technologies and motivate people to participate in digital training.
Trade Policy Review - An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy
The Own Resources Decision (ORD) entered into force on 1 June, enabling the Commission to start borrowing resources for the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument. For the EESC, a well-functioning funding strategy is key for the smooth implementation of NGEU. Sound and sustainable funding and solid risk management are in the very interests of civil society. Moreover, borrowing and debt management has to be based on democratic control, legitimacy and transparency.
The EESC stresses how important it is that the Commission manage the funding strategy directly and does not outsource this. The massive engagement on capital markets will be accompanied with a broad set of risks. The EESC supports the establishment of solid risk-management systems and the holding of the 'NGEU account' with the ECB.
The EESC welcomes both the Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the Child Guarantee, and considers that their implementation will help support efforts at European and national level aimed at promoting children's well-being and reducing child poverty. This opinion calls for the consultation and involvement of organised civil society, children's and family organisations, amongst other stakeholders, in the drafting of national action plans and their monitoring mechanisms. The EESC recommends all Member States to earmark ESF+ funding for lifting children out of poverty, with the designated 5% taken as a minimum. Furthermore, it recommends them to grant free access to early childhood education and care, education and school-based activities and healthcare or grant these services free of charge.
On 22 February 2021, the European Commission (EC) presented an Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defence and space industries (COM(2021) 70 final) to further enhance Europe's technological edge and support its industrial base.
The EESC underlines the role of adult learning to help adults improve and acquire citizenship skills and to be more active in society. It considers that lifelong learning should become a lifestyle for all and a reality at the workplace, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to achieve and raise the target of 60% of adult learning participation per year. It recommends Member States to strengthen the policy, governance and funding to adult learning and ensure equal access to lifelong learning for all adults. Better access to guidance and counselling is needed so that all adults are informed on lifelong learning possibilities. Companies, together with trade unions, should be involved as much as possible in establishing strategies for skills development for the digital and green transitions of industries.
This opinion examines how European legislation on circular public procurement can combine the main purpose of the contract with environmental protection, greater attention to SMEs, sustainable local production and the protection of social rights. This can be achieved by seeking and favouring solutions with a lower impact on the environment throughout their lifespan.
In its own-initiative opinion, the EESC examines the extent to which existing EU company law currently serves as an "expedient" for the politically-desirable Green Deal and which gaps still need to be closed, in particular regarding corporate social responsibility obligations. The opinion aims at following-up on the European Commission's initiative on due diligence and broadening the debate on sustainable corporate governance interlinking the social, environmental and economic dimensions.