- Composition of the Study Group
- Administrator / Assistant in charge: Ana DUJMOVIĆ / Tena VUKELIĆ
The Single Market is Europe’s greatest success story and a big cornerstone of our market economy.
The main objective of this opinion is to deliver, eight years after its official launch, an EESC assessment of the state of play of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a soft-power tool through which China has assumed a new strategic geopolitical position on the world chessboard. In this context, the EESC needs to investigate what impact the BRI can have on the EU's policies such as twin transition, open strategic autonomy, access to critical technologies and critical raw materials, security and defence, TEN-T network, foreign direct investments, EU screening, etc.
One of the main conclusions of the 8th Cohesion Report is that although cohesion and convergence among regions in the European Union has improved, there are still remaining gaps especially in less developed regions related with their territorial characteristics. EU islands, mountain areas and sparsely populated areas still face many challenges on their growth and income and disparities exist.
In these regions, there are still a lot of gaps in terms of employment and investment, social exclusion is evident and gender disparities have not diminished.
The movement of skilled workers out of regions already suffering from lower economic development may further undermine the growth and development potential of these regions. Such a "brain drain" from vulnerable EU regions therefore may contribute to widening territorial disparities, going against the objective of territorial cohesion set out in Article 174 TFEU. Given the cross-border impact of such developments the Commission considers that action at EU level is necessary.
Since 2016, as requested by the Council, every second year the Commission publishes a report on the implementation of the existing macro-regional strategies (MRS). This is the fourth report, covering the period from mid-2020 to mid-2022. It assesses the state of play and progress on implementing the MRS and examines ways forward especially in the context of the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 crisis.