European Commission 2021 Work Programme – EESC sees an opportunity to improve the EU’s economy and society
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted a Resolution on its contribution to the European Commission's 2021 work programme at its July plenary session. The document welcomes the proposals made by the European Commission to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and sees the next year as an opportunity to restructure and improve the EU’s economy and society.
The resolution adopted by the EESC welcomes and fully supports the Next Generation EU plan and the overall EU budget for 2021-2027 proposed by the European Commission and expresses the hope that this will be "fully and concretely extended" in the Commission's work programme for 2021.
For EESC members, the work programme should focus on "restructuring and improving our economy and society" and be based on the following principles: "protecting human and social rights, democratic values and the rule of law; unlocking the full potential of the Single Market; achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); creating a circular economy and achieving climate neutrality in the EU by 2050 at the latest; and ensuring good governance and democratic accountability."
Many of the proposals made by the EESC in this resolution emphasise points made in an earlier resolution adopted at its June plenary session – "EESC proposals for post-COVID 19 crisis reconstruction and recovery" – where members called for an ambitious programme of reforms that could lead to a new societal model.
Petr Zahradník, rapporteur for the resolution on the part of the Employers’ Group, yesterday highlighted the following:
“Many of the priorities set by the European Commission are in line with the EESC's proposals adopted in June, but, in my opinion, the work programme should be more focused in investment activities. The document we are presenting today also sees added value in two other areas: strengthening the single market and consolidating the external dimension of EU activities.”
His colleague Stefano Palmieri, rapporteur for the Workers’ Group, yesterday stressed the need for structural changes:
“For the EU to come out of this crisis, the Commission has to build up a resilient and sustainable economic governance system, as the Stability and Growth Pact has been interrupted by the pandemic. We hope that the Conference on the Future of Europe will strengthen the governance of the EU to address the challenges we will have to face in the next few decades.”
Jan Dirx, rapporteur representing the Diversity Europe Group, yesterday welcomed the fact that the European Commission had maintained the 6 key objectives set by Ursula von der Leyen at the beginning of her mandate:
“We have drafted a balanced and firm resolution and members have given their strong endorsement of its main lines, which sends out a clear signal from civil society organisations to the European Commission and other stakeholders.”
In the resolution, EESC members also express their firm belief that the process of recovery and reconstruction of the economy and society will only be possible "with the active participation of civil society organisations and social partners". In this regard, the EESC hopes that the forthcoming Conference on the future of Europe will lead to a "strengthening and deepening [of] the EU's institutional structure and to a real renewal of the EU project, [leaving it] able to face the challenges of the next decades".
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