On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Single Market, the EESC held a debate about the future of the world's largest trading bloc with Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager. The Single Market is widely considered the EU's greatest achievement, but has also shown its limitations in the face of current crises.
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At the European Economic and Social Committee plenary session on Wednesday, EESC members discussed the EU's response to geopolitical challenges with Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. The presidents of both institutions agreed that competitiveness, together with more strategic autonomy, is crucial in the current challenging times.
How should wages and company profits be taxed in a way that answers the needs of today's work environment? In an opinion adopted during its July plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee takes up this challenge, while welcoming and encouraging the rise of teleworking.
In an exploratory opinion, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) insists on the importance of coordinated European legislation establishing tax rates for digital service companies. This will ensure a growth-friendly business environment and benefit the internal market, while avoiding the gaps that separate national initiatives would create.
As renewed calls to set out EU-wide common standards for NGOs and associations gain momentum, civil society organisations have high hopes of the new European statute for associations, which will give NGOs and associations recognition at EU level and allow them to operate across borders, a right they do not currently enjoy – unlike their for-profit counterparts
The European Economic and Social Committee backs up the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative of the European Commission. The initiative is aimed at promoting investment in the healthcare systems of the European Member States and other sectors of their economies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the EU would mobilise cash reserves, i.e. unspent pre-financing for EU funds, and provide financial support.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) suggests that the EU should develop a certification for trustworthy AI applications, to be delivered by an independent body after testing the products for key requirements such as resilience, safety, and absence of prejudice, discrimination or bias. The proposal has been put forward in two recent EESC opinions assessing the European Commission's ethical guidelines on AI.
The EESC draws forward-looking conclusions from the 2019 Semester and the Committee's civil society consultations in the Member States
Having SME policy as a horizontal priority is an indispensable way to address numerous, cross-cutting challenges that they are currently facing. Current trends cause bigger challenges for SMEs than for bigger companies. Therefore, it is high time for policy makers to act upon it. This was discussed at the conference "Placing European SMEs at a horizontal priority in post-2020 policy making process". The conference took place on 24 October 2019 in Chania, Greece and was organised by the Employers' Group, Chania's Traders Association and the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
"An open economy and open society are key enablers of European prosperity, wellbeing and way of life" states the Helsinki Declaration on Open Europe. The declaration was signed by the EESC Employers' Group, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and Finland Chamber of Commerce during the conference "An open Europe – How does it benefit us all?" on 9 October in Helsinki, Finland.
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