The future of the European automotive industry will be green and digital and green means carbon neutral and circular as clearly stated in the European Green Deal Communication. The Green Deal is the political compass of the European Union Industrial policy for the coming decades even though the number of challenges ahead is huge.
Batteries placed on the EU market should become sustainable, high-performing and safe all along their entire life cycle. This means batteries that are produced with the lowest possible environmental impact, using materials obtained in full respect of human rights as well as social and ecological standards. Batteries have to be long-lasting and safe, and at the end of their life, they should be repurposed, remanufactured or recycled, feeding valuable materials back into the economy.
The EESC recommends, in order to achieve high-quality and inclusive education and training and lifelong learning for all, establishing achievable long-term goals and a constant monitoring system within the European Education Area (EEA) for each Member State. The teaching of key competences, including social sensitivity, empathy, intercultural dialogue and citizenship skills, should be applied across the whole education and training process. This opinion also points at the importance of taking a holistic approach to the implementation of recent EU initiatives on education, vocational education and training, skills, youth education and digital skills. The EESC calls on Member States to ensure effective support for those facing difficulties in accessing quality and inclusive adult education and training, via targeted funding for those in need, such as the unemployed, non-standard workers, the low-skilled and people with disabilities.
The opinion, presenting EESC's position on the four proposals of the Health package published by the European Commission in November 2020, supports and welcomes these initiatives but draws the attention on some elements.
- The EU and Member States should ensure that everyone has equal access to quality, well staffed, well equipped health and social services. This is particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has deepened existing inequalities.
- Special attention in future EU policies should be given to healthcare workers and the need to improve working conditions, including pay, recruitment and retention, as well as their health and safety.
- The new EU health package should be combined with the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), particularly its principles 12, 16, 17 and 18 and the Action Plan on the EPSR. It should also be part of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.