THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- greatly regrets the overall imbalance in the three-pillar structure not only as regards the number of measures proposed, their nature, and the clarity of their content, but also regarding progress in their implementation; calls on the Commission to clarify its second- and third-pillar proposals - inter alia, by putting forward an outline for legislative proposals - so that these proposals contain the same level of detail as the proposals concerning the first pillar;
- recommends that the Commission implement - in the context of the Single Market Act - all the advances of the Lisbon Treaty that could help restore EU citizens' confidence in the single market, particularly Article 3 TEU, which establishes new social objectives for the EU in terms of combating social exclusion and discrimination, promoting social justice and protection, gender equality, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the application of the "horizontal social clause" as well as universal access to essential services for EU citizens in their local areas (Article 14 TFEU and Protocol 26);
- recommends that the Commission bring greater clarity in particular to the area of restoring the confidence of the European people by grouping into an initial package of measures all of the proposals on access to core services, which is one of the day-to-day concerns of the public, on the basis of the advances of the Lisbon Treaty; recommends therefore that the proposals on the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (No 29), the reform of the systems for the recognition of professional qualifications and the creation of a "European Skills Passport" (Nos 33 and 35), improvements to the Posting of Workers Directive (No 30), simplification of the rules on public procurement and services of general interest (Nos 17 and 25), the social business initiative (No 36), elimination of the tax obstacles facing European citizens (No 42) and access to certain basic banking services (No 40) be incorporated into the first package of measures;
- proposes that territorial pacts be established where, through a flexible regional approach, local and regional authorities would focus their activities and funding on implementing the EU 2020 Strategy and the flagship initiatives. There needs to be particular emphasis on projects which promote societal innovations in the region concerned and which have the maximum possible societal impact. The use of territorial pacts and the content of such pacts are part of the criteria for allocating EU funds to projects.