The coronavirus pandemic has hit the health of Europe's citizens and its economy hard, notably its industrial production. The European companies in the sectors with high consumption of resources and energy (REIIs) were already in a precarious situation, and are now undergoing this further, unexpected, crisis.
The EESC welcomes the proposal to designate 2022 as the European Year of Youth. Clear indicators need to be developed for the Year, which should focus on the impact on policies and cross-sectoral work beyond the activities organised. The EESC calls for a more ambitious budget, and emphasises the need to ensure that harder-to-reach groups are included in this Year. Welcoming the work that this Year envisages with regard to external relations, it points at the important role that the relatively well-developed youth policies in Europe can play in our neighbourhood and beyond. It points at the need for all institutions to further develop the voice of youth in their policy proposals.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the EU developed a wide range of health policy responses and initiatives, while also tackling the economic fallout of the pandemic. Many difficulties were encountered, but while some of them have been addressed, longer-term solutions are needed for mitigating future health crises.
In this opinion, the EESC comments on the Commission's evaluation of the measures taken so far to fight the pandemic and on the ten lessons learnt and proposes various recommendations in the field of crisis management, health protection, social and societal aspects, economy and finance, society and technology, international relations and democratic standards.
The EESC strongly supports the goal of redirecting investments in such a way that they contribute to the EU's transition to a sustainable economy but calls for the social partners and civil society to be brought better on board in the design and implementation of sustainable finance. The EU green bond standard has the potential to yield significant economic benefits for both issuers and investors alike and help the green transition.
The EESC laments the severity of the money laundering phenomenon in the EU. Current European legislation is largely inadequate in the face of coordination failures and national divergences, and therefore strongly supports the Anti Money Laundering legislative package, in particular the creation and design of the new European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) with direct supervisory powers.