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EU public opinion on jobs, social rights, banks and e-commerce

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Monday 7 October will mark the opening of a third round of live, interactive online debates – this opinion sharing time on banks – between citizens, businesses, organisations, and policy makers in the framework of Single Market Month. This is an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to make proposals for the future of the EU, and to debate these proposals online, in real time, with other citizens, stakeholders, officials and leaders, and experts from all over Europe. The Commission is again taking to the web in order to involve citizens and civil society groups in its policy agenda. The online forum offers stakeholders a unique and immediate line of communication to Brussels policymakers. Throughout Single Market Month, the forum is hosting successive debates on four themes: Jobs, Social Rights, Banks, and e-Commerce – in all 24 EU languages.

Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier said: “We have had two truly enriching weeks of online opinion debates on key issues in the Single Market: jobs, and the future of social rights in a changing economic context. Several hundred policy proposals were put forward and debated. For the coming week of debates, we will be tackling the thorny question of bank regulation. I want to hear from people on the ground what they think we should be doing for a more stable banking system in Europe, and to make sure that the financial sector, rather than taxpayers, pays its fair share.”

The debates will run from Monday to Wednesday (7-9 October) on 140 policy proposals from 27 countries, ranging from a proposal to create a single European consumer protection authority for all financial services, to an initiative that would regulate multi-currency mortgages across the EU. In addition, 18 live chat sessions in 9 different languages will take place online, with speakers from Finance Watch, the French and Finnish Central Banks, a Member of the European Parliament, and many more. This debate on the financial sector takes place at a time when the consequences of the financial crisis are still very present in the daily life of people and businesses. During the coming days of debate, people, organisations and businesses on the ground will have the opportunity to highlight what obstacles remain, and put forward their suggestions for actions at European level.

Public opinion matters

Single Market Month is taking place online on the yourideasforeurope.eu over the course of 4 successive weeks, with a different policy theme explored each week:

  • 23-25 September, on jobs: How to find work, set up a business, or get qualifications recognised in Europe?
  • 30 September-2 October, on social rights: What social protection rights exist in the EU Single Market, in terms of pensions, healthcare, public services…?
  • 7-9 October, opinion on banks: What more could be done to protect deposits, prevent another financial crisis, and make sure that banks invest in the real economy to foster growth?
  • 14-16 October, on e-commerce: How easy is it to sell products online, or buy them and get them delivered across borders as a customer? How protected are the data people share on social networking sites?

Single Market Month provides a unique opportunity for Europe’s “netizens” to comment on, challenge, and refine new policy ideas put forward online from the ground. It offers participants a number of ways to interact with policy makers. They can:

  • vote and comment on the policy submissions of individuals, organisations and businesses,
  • question and debate with Commissioners, MEPs, EU experts and national personalities through live video chats; around 80 of these live chat sessions are scheduled during the month of debates,
  • Five participants will be invited to a final debate with Commissioner Michel Barnier on Euronews on 23 October at the European Parliament in Strasburg.

Ideas can still be submitted as of now on the online platform. Nearly 700 ideas submitted by stakeholders and individuals are published on the website yourideasforeurope.eu. These ideas were opened for debate on 23 September for the ideas on jobs, and on 30 September for the ideas on social rights, and will open on 7 October for the ideas on banks, and 14 October for the ideas on e-commerce.

Independent moderators will summarise the results of these debates – the ideas that participants think can change Europe. They will also be written into a final report that will be published and may feed into the EU’s work of tomorrow.

Source: European Commission

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