In response to the deaths of thousands of people in the Mediterranean, the EESC plenary session, with deep sorrow and indignation, once again calls on the institutions of the European Union and Member States to take the necessary humanitarian actions and political decisions. The European Union has a responsibility to people fleeing war, persecution, conflict and poverty.
A year and a half after the catastrophe in Lampedusa, tragedies continue to take place every day. Regarding the 10-point plan adopted by the EU Foreign and Home Affairs Ministers on 20 April, the EESC considers that it is essential to go beyond a security approach. A humanitarian approach, solidarity and a fair sharing of responsibilities should be the essential principles of a common immigration policy in the EU.
The Committee has received a request for an exploratory opinion from the incoming Latvian Presidency, which recommended to look at the following aspects in regard to the agricultural and forestry sectors: rural development, social aspects, regional contribution and the potential in achieving objectives and the "self-sufficiency" of the EU in the fields of food and renewable energy. A holistic assessment and approach is required in order to facilitate the reduction of GHG emissions without hampering the sustainable development and competitiveness of the EU.
The specific objective of this "Going Local" event is to focus Latvian attention on the key importance of the Digital Single Market as a driver of growth and employment. This topic has gained much political importance in the new Juncker Commission, which addresses it as one of its key priorities.