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.
Opinions in the spotlight
The Communication stresses the EU's commitment to safeguarding an online environment providing the highest possible freedom and security, for the benefit of its citizens.
This proposal is the first of a set of measures announced in the 2020 European strategy for data.
The Digital Markets Act addresses the negative consequences arising from certain behaviours by platforms acting as digital “gatekeepers” to the single market.
The landscape of digital services is significantly different today from 20 years ago, when the eCommerce Directive was adopted. Online intermediaries have become vital players in the digital transformation. Online platforms in particular have created significant benefits for consumers and innovation, but at the same time, they can be used as a vehicle for disseminating illegal content, or selling illegal goods or services online.
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.
The EESC stresses the crucial importance of having effective training systems and the ability to anticipate skills needs at a time of profound upheavals due to the COVID-19 crisis. The EESC considers the social partners to be effective players in designing and managing training systems. They are very well placed to measure the skills needs of the labour market and must systematically play a major role in the development of qualifications and their content.
The EESC recommends drawing up national strategic agreements on vocational training and guidance, on the basis of negotiations between the authorities and the social partners, involving vocational education and training stakeholders.
The Commission is undertaking a series of evaluations of the Common Agricultural Policy for the timeframe 2014-2020, assessing performance against the CAP's general objectives. Since the evaluation targets CAP socioeconomic impacts, representing a wide-ranging scope, the EESC provided a complementary evaluation focusing on five countries whose selection has been made together with the Commission in order to maximise complementarity and added value to the EC evaluation.
The SUD can play a central role in the European Green Deal framework, being crucial to the Commission's Farm-to-Fork strategy for shifting to a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system, and complementary to both the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Zero Pollution Strategy.