The EESC has issued key recommendations for the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The Committee calls for a prompt agreement on the MFF revision still this year, to guarantee continued financial backing of Ukraine and financing the EU´s evolving political priorities. However, the EESC criticizes the proposed changes as being too limited and lacking ambition, resembling mere patches. It advocates for long-term strategies centred on fiscal sustainability, efficient resource allocation, and measures to guard against unexpected events. Civil society should be engaged for effective planning and monitoring of MFF programmes.
At the request of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the EESC is drawing up this opinion to suggest recommendations on how to tackle inequalities, foster upwards social convergence and strengthen social security systems and ensure its long-term affordability, in an EU economic governance framework/European Semester defined around debt sustainability, productive investments and reforms. This opinion is also focusing on the implications of such a framework for the European Semester, and the further strengthening of the social pillar herein. Finally, the opinion also looks at ways of continuing to further develop fiscal instruments that have a stabilising role at the European level, based e.g. on the experience of SURE.
In a geopolitical context of increasing power competition and intensification of threats to the EU and its Member States, EU leaders have identified space as a strategic domain in the Strategic Compass and have called for an EU Space Strategy for security and defence. The European Commission presented on 10 March such strategy aiming to enhancing the resilience and protection of space systems and services in the EU, responding to space threats, enhancing the use of space for security and defence and partnering for responsible behaviours in outer space.
The preparatory meeting between the rapporteur, the corapporteur and the president of the study group is scheduled for 31 March. The first study group meeting and an expert hearing are scheduled for 3 May and the second study group meeting on 31 May. The document will go to CCMI meeting on 22 June and to EESC plenary on 12-13 July.
One of the main conclusions of the 8th Cohesion Report is that although cohesion and convergence among regions in the European Union has improved, there are still remaining gaps especially in less developed regions related with their territorial characteristics. EU islands, mountain areas and sparsely populated areas still face many challenges on their growth and income and disparities exist.
In these regions, there are still a lot of gaps in terms of employment and investment, social exclusion is evident and gender disparities have not diminished.
The EESC considers that it is necessary to add new own resources to cover the debt repayment resulting from borrowing under the NextGenerationEU initiative without jeopardising the budgets of other EU programmes and instruments, or substantially increasing the Gross National Income (GNI)-based resource contribution. Although the Commission proposals as set out in the communication are deemed necessary, EESC believes that the Commission should ensure that the design of the new system is based on achieving equity and fairness, efficiency, transparency, simplicity and stability, with a focus on competitiveness and applying solidarity where necessary.