The absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals as they can contribute to the various goals of the Commission, such as creating a single and integrated regulatory framework for investment firms, building stronger capital markets to promote investment, unblock existing and provide new sources of financing for companies and households, attracting investment firms to the EU after the Brexit and strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union. The EESC is pleased that SMEs are expected to be among the main beneficiaries of the Directive and the Regulation. The EESC welcomes the fact that the proposals establish the necessary norms and requirements for initial capital and existing capital, supervisory powers, publication and remuneration. These proposals could therefore contribute to risk reduction in the EU. Finally, the EESC highlights the importance to ensure the flexibility of the legal framework for investments firms.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals to amend the Taking of Evidence Regulation and the Service of Documents Regulation and calls on the Commission to take into account its observations: without a genuine judicial area, the freedoms of the single market cannot be fully taken advantage of.
Although considerable progress has already been made towards completing EMU, there is still a need to significantly reinforce all four of its pillars, taking care to maintain the balance between them, as neglecting one or more of these pillars could result in dangerous disparities. Resilience to crises is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for completing EMU: it also requires a positive vision, as set out in Article 3 of the EU Treaty. The EESC generally calls on the European institutions and national governments to take much more ambitious action in the context of EMU reform in order to achieve a more integrated, more democratic and socially better developed Union.
This exploratory opinion, requested by the Lithuanian presidency, sheds light on the specific contribution that State-owned enterprises can make to the EU's competitiveness. It pinpoints the specific challenges that exist in this area for EU policy and the European institutions. As part of its consideration of the way in which public undertakings could contribute more to the EU's economic recovery and competitiveness, the Committee has addressed the issue of Europe's Services of General Economic Interest in a number of opinions. The EESC also raises the question of the economic activities of the EU's executive agencies, wondering if they are truly independent, while their tasks and responsibilities lead them to be directly involved in socio-economic activities.
The EESC is of the opinion that persisting imbalances as well as the creation of trust and confidence across Europe require more effective and democratic economic governance, notably in the Eurozone. It has become clear that the current system of rules underpinning the EU, and particularly the euro area, has created confusion on the legal, institutional and democratic fronts. A new approach is therefore needed. With this in mind, the Committee presents its contribution to the new five presidents' report which will propose next steps on better economic governance to the European Council in June. The EESC contribution summarises the different stages and puts forward institutional proposals and preparatory initiatives regarding the completion of the political pillar of the Economic and Monetary Union.
The EESC welcomes the establishment of economic priority programmes for the euro area at the start of the European Semester. To achieve a recovery of growth and employment a mix of financial, taxation, budgetary, economic and social policies is needed. In contrast to the recommendation of the Commission, the focus of fiscal policy should be designed to be more expansionist than neutral. The EESC advocates the reduction of taxation on labour insofar as it does not threaten the financial sustainability of social protection systems. The EESC calls for a coordinated effort to create a more business-friendly environment for SMEs through better regulation, adequate financing and facilitation of exports to markets outside the EU. There is a particular need to open up new funding opportunities for micro-enterprises and start-ups.
The success of the new Industrial Strategy will depend on the way it is implemented. Business organisations are calling for a broad, horizontal approach to industrial policy – these are some of the conclusions of the seminar on Industrial Policy that took place on 18 December in Brussels. The participants of the discussion presented their views on a recent proposal by the European Commission on industrial policy.