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With this amended proposal, the Commission proposes to extend the scope of the proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods to cover also face-to-face sales.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals that are a new, important step in the efforts to achieve greater integration and convergence by increasing integrated supervision and provide new building blocks for the realisation of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) in the EU. A smoothly operating CMU can make an important contribution to private, cross-border risk-sharing. The challenge is to find the right balance between the competences of national and European supervisors and, where possible, to apply the subsidiarity and proportionality principles. Keeping the future in mind, new developments and modern technologies, such as FinTech, as well as more sustainable financing, in line with international activities and agreements should be reflected in the system of supervision. Close attention should be paid to costs for the supervision. Where part of the costs is directly borne by the private sector, care should be taken to exercise budgetary discipline and avoid duplication.
The Commission's proposal on the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union represents one of the most important legal aspects of the future European policy for developing the data economy and its repercussions on economic growth, scientific research, industry and services in general and public services in particular.
This opinion is on the Annual Growth Survey 2018 (AGS), which establishes the main economic priorities and provides policy guidance for the following year. The European Commission published the 2018 AGS on 22 November 2017 as part of the European Semester Autumn Package. The 2018 AGS is focused on fostering job creation and growth and establishes three main priorities: boosting investment to support the recovery and to increase long-term growth; structural reforms for inclusive growth, upward convergence and competitiveness; responsible fiscal policies to support sustainability and convergence.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals in principle as a balanced compromise between the objectives of climate-neutral mobility, the innovation capacity of the European automotive industry and preserving quality jobs. In particular, the EESC considers the planned interim target for 2025 of a 15% reduction in emissions compared to 2021 to be very demanding as the required changes are to be made to combustion engines at the cutting edge of technology. Despite this, the EESC views the market development towards zero-emission vehicles and low-emissions vehicles and hybrids as an opportunity. Furthermore the EESC calls for a mid-term review for 2024 to include the state of play regarding the qualification and (re)training of staff as well as an updated analysis of the areas in which (additional) action is required.
The Communication presents a public procurement strategy which sets out the overall policy framework and defines clear priorities to improve procurement in practice and support investment within the EU. Three concrete initiatives are presented alongside this strategy. The Commission presents a Communication on a mechanism for large infrastructure projects to provide clarity and guidance to public authorities on public procurement. It also proposes a Recommendation to professionalise public buyers because a skilful workforce is essential for effective implementation. In parallel, a targeted consultation is launched on a draft guidance on public procurement of innovation, to support the breakthrough of new and more sustainable solutions for our societies.
The EESC has played an important role in raising awareness of EU trade policy among civil society both in the EU and in third countries. The EESC encourages the Commission to strengthen its dialogue with civil society to develop the functioning of TSD chapters in current and future trade agreements. However, the EESC urges the Commission to be more ambitious in its approach, in particular with respect to strengthening effective enforceability of the commitments in TSD chapters, which is of crucial importance to the EESC. TSD chapters must be given equal weight to those covering commercial, technical or tariff issues.
The EESC considers that ENISA's new permanent mandate as proposed by the Commission will significantly contribute to enhancing the resilience of European systems. However, the accompanying provisional budget and resources allocated to ENISA will not be sufficient for the agency to fulfil its mandate.
The EESC recommends to all Member States to establish a clear and equivalent counterpart to ENISA, as most of them have not done it yet.
The EESC also feels that, ENISA should prioritise actions to support e-government, should provide regular reports on the cyber-readiness of Member States focusing on sectors identified in Annex II to the NIS Directive and monitor the performance and decision-making of national certification supervisory authorities.
The EESC supports the proposal to create a cybersecurity competence network sustained by a Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre (CRCC).
The Committee recommends that future crises in the European Union should be managed by striving for a better balance between fiscal and social objectives and urges the Commission to design "supplementary economic and social recovery" programmes, to be applied at the same time as or at the end of an adjustment programme. The EESC recommends that in any future crises situation, the EU Institutions should be solely responsible for developing and implementing the adjustment programmes and stresses that social partners and representatives of civil society must be included in the programme's monitoring and assessment panel, on an equal footing with representatives of the EU, the ECB and other bodies.