Social Affairs, Digital Economy, Education, Research and Innovation

We believe

★ in the free movement of persons and the freedom of establishment as fundamental principles of the European Union.

★ in the social market economy, that favours market solutions but without losing sight of social needs.

★ that combating unemployment, especially youth unemployment, is one of the most urgent challenges that Europe is facing this decade.

★ that the digitalisation of society is a chance rather than a problem for Europe and that the EU Digital Agenda can significantly contribute to creating growth and jobs, in particular also in more remote regions.

★ in the importance of research at all levels: large-scale European projects as well as small research and innovation clusters at local universities or companies.

★ in the strict application of the principle of subsidiarity in the area of education

★ that demographic challenges need to be systematically taken into account on policymaking, in particular the ageing society.

★ that Europe needs strong and high-quality universities and research institutes that must cooperate in a common “European area of knowledge” in order to be able to compete at the same level with universities in the US and in Asia.

We will

➔ firmly oppose any attempt to reduce the fundamental freedoms, in particular the free movement of persons and the freedom of establishment, and actively promote (cross-border) labour mobility, but fight against clear abuses of this principle.

➔ support common European rules on data protection that ensure a high level of protection, in particular on the internet. We support the introduction of the right to be forgotten. A fine balance has to be found between new technological developments and data protection rules;.

➔ encourage interoperable e-government and m-government solutions at all levels of government, including at the CoR itself, and call for concepts such as e-residency scheme to be developed across the EU.

➔ fight to have high-speed internet access for every European citizen recognised as universal right. There must be no urban-rural divide in digital opportunities.

➔ work towards the creation of employment, in particular for the youth, by stimulating economic growth and activity. Small and medium-sized enterprises, and not-for profit actors such as social businesses, will receive our support.

➔ make proposals to increase the funds available to research and innovation in the EU budget and observe whether member states and regions respect their obligation to devote 3% of GDP to R&D

➔ encourage new proposals to increase European funding for (top-level) research, to further increase the mobility of students and researchers, and to create favourable working conditions for young researchers in all Member States.