This opinion underlines that by creating a fertile ground for women entrepreneurship and the adequate financial and legislative instruments, such as gender budgeting, we can create an inclusive financial ecosystem in the EU and Member States and advance faster towards gender equality. It suggests that diversity of teams with a specific focus on women should be a criterion for receiving public funding. This Opinion also calls for an ambitious vision from the European Commission and the European institutions on gender budgeting and gender lens investing. It suggests that the EC publishes a gender impact assessment of the annual EU budget and creates a task force to include gender mainstreaming EU objectives in the next MFF and in the mid-term review of the current MFF.
Strengthening the role and independence of equality bodies - Related Opinions
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Combating all forms of discrimination is one of the aims of the EU, as enshrined in the Treaties. Yet, Member States have never agreed on the Directive proposed by the European Commission in 2008, which would have extended the existing EU protection against discrimination to all policy areas. Such a situation has created an "artificial hierarchy of protected grounds" whereby areas such as sex, and racial or ethnic origin, enjoy wider protection than other grounds like religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation. This Own-Initiative Opinion seeks to address this situation, by recalling the need to adopt a comprehensive directive, but by proposing complementary actions notably based on the recognition of the general principle of equality.
The EESC considers that the proposed guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States are appropriate as they address the most urgent issues in the labour market. In current turbulent times, steps must be taken to strengthen both the role of the social partners and their involvement in designing and implementing employment, social and economic reforms and policies, including by building their capacity. As labour shortages are on the rise again, effective measures should be implemented in order to encourage the social partners to work on skills needs at national level, with action adapted to individual sectors and local situations. With fast technological change and the twin transition, the "lifespan" of previously acquired skills and competencies is getting ever shorter and lifelong acquisition of relevant skills and competencies is increasingly important for both workers and businesses. Labour mobility within the EU and legal labour migration should be encouraged.
The EESC believes that any phenomenon of antisemitism is incompatible with European values and norms, as it leads to violations of the law and to exclusion, which is a threat not only to the communities concerned and Jewish life, but also to Europe's heritage and present, and to a democratic European future. The Committee broadly supports the establishment of the Strategy and the fact that it was preceded by a broad consultation process in 2021. It strongly supports that the Strategy is not only about combating antisemitism, but also about fostering Jewish life. It firmly believes that antisemitism is not only a violation of the law affecting European Jews, but is also a test of the European idea, European coexistence, the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy. The EESC believes that all Member States have a fundamental obligation to ensure that their citizens have the freedom to hold religious beliefs and practice their religions without fear.
Member States prepared their recovery and resilience plans that set out a coherent package of reforms and public investment projects. To benefit from the support of the Facility, these reforms and investments should be implemented by 2026.
EESK:s yttrande: The role of cohesion policy in combatting inequalities in the new programming period after the COVID-19 crisis. Complementarities and possible overlaps with the RRF and the national recovery plans (Own-initiative opinion)
In this opinion the EESC makes the following points:
1. The EU and Member States should ensure that the gender perspective is fully integrated in COVID-19 recovery measures.
2. Gender equality should be fully taken into account in the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
3. The Gender Equality Strategy should be coordinated involving all Member States, social partners and civil society organisations.
4. To put an end to the gender pay gap (16%), binding measures on gender pay transparency are unavoidable.
5. ... Read more
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