EESC: Public money should help reduce impacts of further shocks

Recovery of the economy will be possible with the active participation of civil society

Photo: EESC Petr Zahradnik.

The European Economic and Social Committee 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 EU executive next year's work programme.

In a resolution adopted at the July plenary session, on EESC contribution to the European Commission's 2021 work programme, the Committee members say it should focus on “restructuring and improving our economy and society” and be based on protecting human and social rights, democratic values and the rule of law, unlocking the full potential of the Single Market, EESC members said.

They also accented on the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, 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.

“In my opinion, the work programme should be more focused in investment activities,” Petr Zahradnik, rapporteur for the resolution on the part of the Employers' Group, highlighted. “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,” he noted.

Stefano Palmieri, rapporteur for the Workers' Group, stressed the need for structural changes, saying that 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.

In the same vein, Jan Dirx, rapporteur representing the Diversity Europe Group, welcomed the fact that the Commission had maintained the six key objectives set by Ursula von der Leyen at the beginning of her mandate.

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,” EESC members emphasised. They expressed hope 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”.

The Committee has formulated its concrete proposals for the 2021 work programme along the lines of the Commission's six main priorities.

The EESC supports the European Green Deal not only as a way of improving the environmental sustainability, but also “as an effective tool to sustainably restart the economy through massive investments supporting the necessary structural changes that Europe is facing”.

According to the resolution, “public money invested in recovery plans should not only help restore the European economy and society, but also help reduce drastically the impacts of further shocks by investing in a resilient, inclusive and climate-friendly economy”.

The EESC also welcomes the European Climate Law, which sets a legally binding EU-wide common target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and establishes a framework for achieving that objective, and calls for the participation of all Europeans, through civil society organisations, to make this possible.

As the pandemic has shown, the digital revolution is an important part of increasing our societies' crisis resilience, and investing in the digitalisation of essential services has become paramount. The EESC underlines “the importance of digitalisation in all sectors of society, particularly through teleworking and digital services, including e-commerce and e-health,” while preserving the European model of rights, standards and consumer policies and updating the legal framework accordingly.

 

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