The opinion examines the possible introduction of a new concept into EU law: "low-profit". This concept would define all organisations that are likely to make a profit but that do not intend to distribute it to their owners or shareholders, as they have a different purpose.
Making a reality of the European Pillar of Social Rights (the "Social Pillar") will require improvements in Member States and a robust budgetary base, investment and current spending.
More public investment within Member States can be facilitated by reference to a Golden Rule for public investment with a social objective, which would allow more flexibility in budget rules with a view to achieving the aims of the European Pillar of Social Rights. More public investment can also be supported by the use of existing EU instruments, especially the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs), and by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). This support should explicitly include objectives linked to the Social Pillar.
Appropriate taxation policies, including effective fight against tax fraud, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, should allow Member States and the EU to raise additional means to contribute to the financing of the Social Pillar.
The speech delivered by von der Leyen in the 2021 State of the Union Address has to be critically received, mainly for what it lacks in terms of ambition and clarity, despite naming virtually all the key challenges Europe faces.
According to the EESC, the Commission's Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights is both timely and necessary to thwart the threat of inequalities deepening across Europe in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Plenary debate on the EESC Resolution
Climate protection and the pandemic have placed the State and Governments in a strong position. The European Commission has received a mandate from the governments of all EU member states to achieve climate neutrality for Europe by 2050 with the Green Deal, and to successfully lead the economy out of the Covid-19 crisis. A dynamic change of course is necessary. To protect workers during this transformation process, their rights have to be highlighted and enshrined as a special pillar at EU level.
The European Economic and Social Committee backs up the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative of the European Commission. The initiative is aimed at promoting investment in the healthcare systems of the European Member States and other sectors of their economies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the EU would mobilise cash reserves, i.e. unspent pre-financing for EU funds, and provide financial support.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) firmly believes that infringements of human rights can be better prevented when there is an internationally agreed binding standard implemented and protected by states. Therefore, in an opinion adopted at its December plenary session, the EESC supports the United Nations Human Rights Council initiative to adopt a binding UN treaty to regulate businesses activities, including sanctions in case of violation of international human rights law.