Opinions on External relations: Enlargement / EU Neighbours - page 1

Results 1 to 10 out of 72.

  • 6 Jun 2017
    REX/490 - Economic, social and cultural rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region Ongoing References: REX/490 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ms Felipe De Lehtonen (Employers - GR I / Spain)
  • 20 Oct 2016
    EESC opinion: The 2030 Agenda – a European Union committed to sustainable development globally Adopted References: REX/461 EESC-2016-00758-00-00-AC-TRA Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ioannis Vardakastanis (Various interests - GR III / Greece) Plenary Session: 520 - 19 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016 (Summary Plenary Session)

    The 2030 Agenda represents a breakthrough in multilateral cooperation, in the sense that it puts social and human development on a par with economic progress, and sees these three dimensions as a whole. Whereas the MDGs (Millennium Development goals) addressed primarily developing countries, this new Agenda is a transformational and universal agenda for all countries, and promotes a new, inclusive and participatory method of decision-making.


    The EU showed significant leadership in the process leading up to the adoption of the new SDGs (Sustainable Development Goasl). The opinion stresses that the EU needs to hold up its credibility both internally and externally, when it comes to implementing the Agenda and its 17 goals. Pointing to the universal and indivisible nature of the Agenda, the opinion underlines the importance of an EU response at the highest level, providing a robust base on which an overarching EU strategy should be founded. The opinion also calls upon civil society in Europe and worldwide, to play its role in monitoring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and in bringing the debate on the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals to the capitals.

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    EESC opinion: The 2030 Agenda – a European Union committed to sustainable development globally

  • 11 Oct 2016
    Regular migration to the EU Adopted References: REX/460 Rapporteur: Dimitris Dimitriadis (Employers - GR I / Greece) Co-rapporteur: Jean-Marc Roirant (Various interests - GR III / France)

    This report follows the conclusion of the 2015 Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions on cooperation with third countries in promoting regular migration to the EU and will be presented at the 2016 Euromed Summit. Cooperation with countries of origin and international bodies to increase transit possibilities for regular migrants to the EU is the most effective way of combating the illicit trafficking of people and meeting the need for workers in EU countries. The aim of the information report is to define the pillars that can facilitate cooperation on regular migration and ascertain what experience has been gained from labour migration agreements with countries of origin and from the ways in which the Member States manage recruitment abroad.

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    EESC section opinion: Information Report - Cooperation with third countries in promoting regular migration to the EU

  • 22 Sep 2016
    The role of Turkey in the refugee crisis Ongoing References: REX/476 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Dimitris DIMITRIADIS (Employers - GR I / Greece)

    Turkey’s geographical position makes it a first reception and transit country for many refugees and migrants. As the result of an unprecedented influx of people seeking refuge, the country currently hosts more than 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees and is making commendable efforts to provide them with humanitarian aid and support. The EU is committed to assist Turkey in dealing with this challenge.


    As part of a wider programme of country visits to 11 EU countries and to Turkey, an EESC delegation undertook a three-day mission to Ankara and Izmir to meet authorities and civil society organisations active in the migration field from 9 to 11 March 2016. In the report from this fact-finding mission, a significant number of important issues have been raised about the country's role – as a gateway to the EU – in the refugee crisis.


    The EU-Turkey Statement, which was issued on 18 March 2016, reconfirmed both parties' commitment to the implementation of the EU-Turkey joint action plan activated on 29 November 2015. The European Commission is issuing regular progress reports on its implementation.


    In the light of Turkey's ever-expanding role as the EU's most important partner in tackling the current migrant crisis, there is a need for an in-depth examination of different aspects of protection which Turkey offers to refugees. With this own-initiative opinion, the EESC wishes to contribute to this examination from the point of view of civil society organisations (CSOs), by devoting particular attention to evaluating economic, social and humanitarian conditions of refugees in the country, by analysing in depth the role of Turkey in tackling the refugee crisis and by identifying new areas of cooperation.

  • 19 May 2016
    Decent work in global supply chains Adopted References: REX/462 EESC-2016 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Ms Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs (Employers - GR I / France)

    The EU acknowledges the increasing importance of including the EU and partner countries' companies in the GSCs. It is also emphasised that the current interdependence of the economies may further increase due to the recently negotiated and implemented EU trade and investment agreements, as well as negotiations at the WTO. Therefore, a better understanding of GSCs operation, and their impact on the economy and labour market should help to better harness their potential and to mitigate possible negative impacts. Against this background, the issue of decent work in GSCs, such as textile-clothing and footwear, electronics, minerals, and agro-industries, becomes a critical issue for all public and private actors involved in supply chain management at the national and international levels.


    The EESC recommends in this context that the European Commission adopts a comprehensive and ambitious strategy in order to promote with all its internal (access to EU public procurement, labelling etc.), and external policies (trade, development, neighbourhood policy etc.) the decent work in GSCs.


    The EESC also recommends cooperation between international organisations and other relevant stakeholders. This would include adopting a common language and common definitions of elements related to global value chains, GSCs and decent work, and comparison and assessment of the statistical data between the various stakeholders, such as the OECD, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), WTO, the European Commission, the World Bank and IFM. This should help avoid confusion and misinterpretation, and support elaboration of a coherent policy between diverse public bodies involved.


    The EESC stresses the need to recognise and to promote the available best practices and initiatives related to decent work in GSCs. This includes e.g. the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, OECD sectorial due diligence guidance (in areas, such as textile and garment, minerals, agriculture and finances), trade aid, financial schemes to compensate damages, codes of conduct, labels, standards and self-assessment tools. The aim would be to put gradually in place a consistent and sustainable policy in the responsible management of GSCs.


    Equally important would be the promotion of practical and suitable, risk-based approaches that will take into account the specific nature of the global value chain and the GSC. Based on assessment of the existing practices, promoted should be multi-stakeholders’ engagement, involving public and private actors, social partners, NGOs, experts etc., in order to develop the best portfolio of actions inspired by the OECD Guidelines to identify risks, to prevent and to mitigate them, to communicate and to report on the action plans. The measures involved in the action plans could include both, legislative and non-legislative measures, best practices, financial incentives, access to training, and capacity building for social dialogue and the trade unions.


    There is also a need to push for a specific reflection on the kind of transparency tools that could be put in place in order to inform the final consumers about the social conditions of production.


    The EESC recommends as well that the International Labour Conference (the ILO supreme decision making body) at its upcoming meeting in June considers the possibilities for the ILO to play an active role in securing decent work along the GSCs, including exploring the development and future adoption of any relevant and suitable instruments, that with the commitment of all the stakeholders will contribute to an effective improvement of working conditions.

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    EESC opinion: Decent work in global supply chains

  • 28 Apr 2016
    The external dimension of the EU's energy policy Adopted References: REX/459 EESC-2016-83 Exploratory Opinion Rapporteur: Mr Vitas MACIULIS (Various interests - GR III / Lithuania) Plenary Session: 516 - 27 Apr 2016 - 28 Apr 2016 (Summary Plenary Session) Official Journal of the EU: OJ C 264, 20.7.2016, p. 28–34

    The EESC already produced an opinion on the same topic in January 2009 (see 'Related EESC Opinions'), but the geo-political developments over the past 7 years (Arab spring, increased tensions with Russia over the Eastern Partnership, crises in the Middle East, fluctuating oil prices) and other economic and technical factors (level of oil prices, new LNG terminals, debate around fracking, etc.) suggest a revision of this opinion.


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    The external dimension of the EU's energy policy

  • 28 Apr 2016
    EESC opinion: The new EU strategy on foreign and security policy Adopted References: REX/463-REX/463 Own-initiative Rapporteur: José María Zufiaur Narvaiza (Workers - GR II / Spain) Plenary Session: 516 - 27 Apr 2016 - 28 Apr 2016

    With this Opinion, the EESC wishes to weigh in on the new EU Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which is expected to be presented to the Council before the summer. The rapporteur argues that internal and external policy are intertwined and both require better coordination of policies, objectives and resources. Social exclusion today is a key factor in crises, and the EU must be a defender of equality and a promoter of freedom, security and prosperity.

    The Opinion goes on to address the wide range and crucial nature of topics that the new strategy will cover, such as resource allocation to foreign and defense policy, the EU's role as a constructive and regulatory power, the refugee crisis, development cooperation, or trade.

    Finally, the rapporteur calls on an increased participation of civil society in the EU's foreign policy, proposing the establishment of a formal cooperation between the EESC and the EEAS, an annual foreign a security policy audition with the High Representative, and carrying out an evaluation report on the participation of civil society in the EU's external policy.

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    EESC section opinion: The new EU strategy on foreign and security policy

  • 10 Dec 2015
    EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015-2020) Adopted References: REX/452 EESC-2015 Referral - Rapporteur: Ms Brenda King (Employers - GR I / United Kingdom) Plenary Session: 512 - 9 Dec 2015 - 10 Dec 2015 (Summary Plenary Session)

    The EESC welcomes the stated aims of the EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling , namely "to counter and prevent migrant smuggling, while ensuring the protection of human rights of migrants" and "to address the root causes of irregular migration", and supports the Action Plan's efforts to disrupt organised criminal networks through intelligence-led and financial investigations, to put an end to money laundering and to confiscate the assets of illicit activities. However it strongly recommends that the plan adopts a more balanced and comprehensive approach by detailing how the EU will protect and assist those who are smuggled.

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    EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015-2020)

  • 7 Dec 2015
    Establishing a european list of safe countries of origin Adopted References: REX/457 EESC-2015-5379 Referral - Rapporteur: Mr José Antonio MORENO DIAZ (Workers - GR II / Spain) Plenary Session: 512 - 9 Dec 2015 - 10 Dec 2015 (Summary Plenary Session) Official Journal of the EU: J.O. C 71, 24.02.2016 p.82

    The European Commission presented a comprehensive European Agenda on Migration on 13 May 2015, outlining, in addition to the immediate measures proposed shortly thereafter by the Commission to respond to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean, further initiatives that need to be taken to provide structural solutions for better managing migration in all its aspects.

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    EESC opinion: Establishing a european list of safe countries of origin

  • 23 Jun 2015
    Towards a new European neighbourhood policy Adopted References: REX/447 EESC-2015 Referral - Rapporteur: Mr Gintaras Morkis (Employers - GR I / Lithuania) Co-rapporteur: Mr Cristian Pîrvulescu (Various interests - GR III / Romania) Plenary Session: 509 - 1 Jul 2015 - 2 Jul 2015 (Summary Plenary Session) JO C 383 17.11.2015, p. 91

    The Neighbourhood policy is high on the agenda of the EESC's external relations priorities. This opinion will provide the contribution of the Committee to this consultation process as a first step, to be followed by a reaction to the Commission document that will be issued in the 2nd semester of 2015.


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    EESC opinion: Towards a new European neighbourhood policy

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