The EESC held a debate in plenary on the growing importance of organised civil society and cities in Europe's ability to face asymmetric shocks and unforeseen crises. This was linked to the adoption of two opinions, on Flexible Assistance to Territories (FAST-CARE) and on the Ljubljana Agreement on the Urban Agenda of the EU. The Committee welcomes both initiatives, but finds they miss the bar in terms of properly empowering and involving organised civil society.
A resilient, sustainable and inclusive Europe is only possible if organised civil society is systematically involved in both national recovery plans and the Commission's new REPowerEU strategy. During its annual conference in June, the European Semester Group (ESG) renewed its call for a regulation or directive to ensure civil society participation, and proposed a permanent and common investment financing mechanism to enhance crisis preparedness and response capacity.
The European Economic and Social Committee is calling on the European Commission to carry out more targeted impact assessments of its proposals for new EU budget funding sources to repay NextGenerationEU debt. The EESC generally agrees with the proposed EU "own resources" revenues for the budget. However, they need to be stable and fair – and should not burden households or businesses.
The European Commission relaunched the public debate on the review of the EU economic governance framework in October 2021, almost a year after it was put on hold. Following up on this relaunch, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) held a joint online conference as part of the public debate.
While Europe and its societies are still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the Conference on the Future of Europe in its closing stages, the EESC will be holding its annual Civil Society Days in March 2022.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are invited to actively play a leading role in co-shaping a new vision for the EU. What is certain is that Europe’s future is closely linked to the future of its industry: strong ambitions require strong and innovative companies that have the means to meet the needs of the digital and green transitions while boosting EU competitiveness.
Europe and its Member States have to deliver wellbeing to the citizens and this can only be done through investments and jobs. This means that the impact which taxes and tax measures have on investments, jobs, trade and growth must be brought to the forefront of the debate.
While the OECD stresses that all taxes have the potential to discourage growth, its analysis of tax structures has found corporate taxes to be the form of taxation that is most harmful to economic growth. Empirical studies confirm that there is a negative relationship between corporate taxes and economic growth.
In order to encourage a broader and more balanced discussion on taxation, the Employers' Group requested that the EESC commission, in 2018, the study on The role of taxes on investment to increase jobs in the EU – An Assessment of Recent Policy Developments in the field of corporate taxes.
Today, if an EU taxpayer holds money in crypto-currencies, the platform (or other electronic provider supplying the portfolio services) is not obliged to declare any such amounts or gains acquired to the tax authorities. In an effort to go further in the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, the Commission proposes an updated Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC). DAC 8 aims to expand reporting and the exchange of information between tax authorities to include income or revenue generated through crypto-assets by users residing in the European Union. Tax authorities do not currently have the necessary information to monitor proceeds obtained using crypto-assets, which are easily traded across borders.
In December 2022, the Commission published a set of measures to further develop the EU's Capital Markets Union (CMU), which remains fragmented and underdeveloped in size. Part of the package – a new Listing Act – aims to reduce the administrative burden on companies of all sizes, particularly SMEs, so that they can better access funding by listing on European public markets. Studies show a sub-optimal situation with respect to SME initial public offerings (IPOs) in Europe. Also, the total number of listed companies on SME growth markets in Europe has barely increased since 2014, despite the fact that listed companies enjoyed clear benefits.
A safe, robust and competitive clearing ecosystem is an essential part of a well-functioning Capital Markets Union (CMU). But we are not there yet, and European financial markets are put at risk by overdependence on services provided by third-country Central Counterparties (CCPs). In December 2022, as part of a larger package of measures designed to further develop the CMU, the Commission proposed a new European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) to enhance the clearing capacity within the EU. The section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO) at the EESC has adopted an opinion on the Commission proposal.