EU should crack down on breaches of the rule of law

Disbursement of EU funds, including the Recovery Fund, must be tied to respect for the rule of law in all Member States. Systematic deficiencies in the rule of law always undermine the implementation of EU-funded programmes, and the absence of a rapid and comprehensive EU response to this will jeopardise the EU’s credibility, warns the EESC

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has taken a tough stance on breaches of the rule of law in the EU, declaring it is committed to ensuring that the Council of the European Union and the European Commission impose high dissuasive penalties on Member States which systematically disrespect the rule of law in a way that puts the EU budget at risk.

In the own-initiative opinion Rule of law and the recovery fund adopted at its plenary session on 20 January, the EESC welcomed the EU’s Regulation 2020/2092, which enables the Commission to impose financial penalties for systematic shortcomings in the rule of law in a given EU country, and called for the regulation to be applied strictly in all areas that are relevant to the budget. Continue reading “EU should crack down on breaches of the rule of law”

A sustainable industrial strategy for the EU must be inclusive and consider social impacts to succeed

A post-pandemic industrial strategy to ensure a strong recovery must include civil society, stresses the EESC in a newly adopted report on the draft new EU industrial strategy. It must focus on sustainability and wellbeing, measure social impacts and promote an efficient, accessible healthcare system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in Europe’s economic landscape, notably regional inequalities, skills gaps and risks to the single market and supplies of strategic goods. In the light of these lessons, the European Commission has updated its blueprint for a greener, more digital and competitive industrial landscape, the New Industrial Strategy for Europe.

In an report on the updates, the EESC calls for all groups involved in Europe’s economy to shape its future, from trade unions, industry and SMEs to other civil society organisations and public authorities. It adds that competitiveness cannot be the only indicator of a viable long-term strategy. Indicators must also measure social inclusion, working conditions and environmental sustainability. Continue reading “A sustainable industrial strategy for the EU must be inclusive and consider social impacts to succeed”

Strategic Foresight Report : Enhancing the EU’s long-term capacity and freedom to act

The Commission has adopted its second annual Strategic Foresight Report – “The EU’s capacity and freedom to act”. This Communication presents a forward-looking and multidisciplinary perspective on the EU’s open strategic autonomy in an increasingly multipolar and contested global order. The Commission has identified four main global trends, affecting the EU’s capacity and freedom to act: climate change and other environmental challenges; digital hyperconnectivity and technological transformation; pressure on democracy and values; and shifts in the global order and demography. It has also set out 10 key areas of action where the EU can seize opportunities for its global leadership and open strategic autonomy. Strategic foresight thereby continues to inform the Commission’s Work Programmes and priority-setting.

European Commission President Ursulavon der Leyen said: “European citizens experience almost on a daily basis that global challenges such as climate change and digital transformation have a direct impact on their personal lives. We all feel that our democracy and European values are being put into question, both externally and internally, or that Europe needs to adapt its foreign policy due to a changing global order. Early and better information about such trends will help us tackle such important issues in time and steer our Union in a positive direction. Continue reading “Strategic Foresight Report : Enhancing the EU’s long-term capacity and freedom to act”