This opinion presents the EESC's contribution to the current discussion on the future of care and health across Europe and to the European Care Strategy. The Committee recommends setting common minimum standards to ensure that every one living in the EU has access to affordable, accessible and high-quality care, that there is proper investment in the care services and in health, that the health sector, care providers and health workers are properly recognised and valued, including through investment in skills, decent working conditions, and the creation of quality jobs.
The Commission is proposing new EU legislation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse online. The proposed rules will oblige providers to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse material on their services. These rules will include risk mitigation measures; targeted detection obligations; effective removal; a solid oversight mechanisms and judicial redress. Together with this proposal, the Commission is also putting forward a new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids to improve age-appropriate digital services and to ensure that every child is protected, empowered and respected online.
The EESC points at the need to improve youth participation, tackling in particular the lack of youth democratic representation and the lack of a youth perspective outside of the traditional youth policy domain. The EU Youth Test should not substitute meaningful engagement with young people in general and should complement existing participatory mechanisms. It should be part of the Better Regulation Toolbox as a separate tool, since future generations and young people deserve specific attention. The EESC encourages the EU institutions and Member States to implement measures and mechanisms that ensure that the youth perspective is taken into account in every policy field. Suitable resources should be made available for meaningful youth participation in policy-making.
COM(2022) 204 concerns the reform of the current EU rules on Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services, which govern financial services sold at a distance. The overall objective of the proposal is to promote the provision of financial services in the internal market while ensuring a high level of consumer protection.
The EESC believes that ensuring equal access to energy and the security of energy supply at affordable cost must be an absolute priority for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It calls for the establishment of a broad and ambitious political coalition to analyse and address energy poverty from a holistic approach with the objective of bringing it to a minimum level by 2030 and eliminating it altogether in the long term. The actions of the coalition should be further developed in an EU Strategy against energy poverty. The EESC urges the EU to promote a common approach to energy poverty that will allow for a tangible and shared understanding of energy poverty and the collection of statistical data, taking into account Member States' differences and particularities.
Crypto-assets are a digital representation of value or rights which may be transferred and stored electronically, using distributed ledger technology or similar technology (e.g. blockhain). They are neither issued nor guaranteed by a central bank or public authority, and can be used as a means of exchange and/or for investment purposes and/or to access a good or service. A wide range of crypto-assets exist, encompassing different features and functions, hence presenting different challenges and risks.
EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.
This opinion presents the EESC's contribution to the European Commission's strategy to promote decent work not only within the EU but throughout the world. Decent work is unfortunately beyond reach for millions of workers across the globe. The Committee welcomes the Commission's initiative to promote decent work in all sectors and fields on the local and national level, within the EU and beyond. The EESC underlines that the EU must use all its policies, both internal and external, to promote and ensure decent work worldwide.
In the Declaration from the EU-Western Balkans Summit held on 6 October 2021 in Brdo, Slovenia, leaders from the EU and the Western Balkans launched a dedicated Agenda for the Western Balkans on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport - a comprehensive, long-term cooperation strategy that aims to "promote scientific excellence as well as reform of the region’s education systems, create further opportunities for the youth, and help prevent brain drain". ...