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ESC Opinion: From the Single Act to Maastricht and beyond

At its 296th Plenary Session (30.4.1992) the Economic and Social Committee adopted, by a majority vote in favour, an Opinion on the Commission communication entitled "From the Single Act to Maastricht and beyond - The means to match our ambitions" (COM(92) 2000 of 21.4.1992), ...
At its 296th Plenary Session (30.4.1992) the Economic and Social Committee adopted, by a majority vote in favour, an Opinion on the Commission communication entitled "From the Single Act to Maastricht and beyond - The means to match our ambitions" (COM(92) 2000 of 21.4.1992), which sets out the Commission's proposals concerning the Single Act, the priorities laid down at Maastricht, and the resources needed for the period 1993-1997.

The ESC summarizes the proposals, stressing that the 1993-1997 financial perspective should be the last in the current institutional framework, since economic and monetary union is expected to enter into force in 1997.

With regard to RTD, the financial perspective includes a new "internal policies" heading, grouping all internal policies applying horizontally throughout the Community, covering research and development policy, transEuropean networks, the environment, and measures to accompany the single market (apart from those for strengthening cohesion). This heading is to have an annual increase of 11.3%.

The Committee endorses the importance the Commission attaches to boosting European competitiveness. As regards the new approach to R&D, the undertaking to strengthen the competitiveness of Community industry implies that EC support must be used to avoid distortions in competition and to create conditions conducive to the development of company activity, innovation and the introduction and industry-wide dissemination of new technologies; such support must not focus on financing R&D in large companies, or on the commercial application of their products. Community funding should be tied to better coordination of efforts at EC level and greater coordination between R&D centres.

The Commission should also take urgent steps to further the inter-operability and inter-connection of networks on a transEuropean basis, since these were originally designed from a national viewpoint (see the Committee's opinion of 30 October 1991, published in OJ No C 14 of 20.1.1992).

Horizontal measures concerning Community environmental policy will also be financed under this heading, in addition to planned structural measures. The Committee considers that the various measures already being implemented, plus others that might prove necessary, should be included under this heading since they cover the EC as a whole and cannot be limited as hitherto to the regions targeted by the structural funds.

Measures to accompany Community integration should be stepped up, not least with regard to information for businesses (and small firms in particular) and for economic operators in general. Studies on employment problems, education and public health, the introduction of new technologies, social security arrangements in tandem with EMU, and social dialogue measures, are a few of the areas to be included in the accompanying measures. The Committee views them as vital for improving the transparency of the internal market.

Other topics included in the ESC Opinion are: Economic and social cohesion; CAP; external relations; staff and administration; reserves; resources.

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