This own-initiative opinion will draw upon the first-hand experiences of the non-state actors (civil society, business and trade unions) engaged in the accession negotiations between Croatia and the EU over the period 2005-11, as well as experiences of EESC members who have been engaged in the work of Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs) with accession countries over the past seven years (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and Montenegro) as well as the Western Balkans Follow-up Committee.
Außenbeziehungen - Related Opinions
The exploratory opinion is being drawn up at the request of the Greek Presidency of the European Union. Immigration-related issues remain a key challenge for the European Union and its Member States with a comprehensive and common strategy at EU level remaining elusive, in spite of the continued pressures that are being felt on the EU's borders.
The EESC has been requested by the Commission to prepare an Opinion which will contribute to shaping the EU position on the post 2015 HFA to be presented during the UN-led negotiations in July and November this year. The Committee's Opinion will be important given that the Commission Communication proposes involvement of civil society and private sector in decision making and implementation of actions related to disaster risk management within the post 2015 HFA.
The main goal of the opinion is to provide a good and qualitative source of information and opinion in the beginning of TTIP negotiations process.
The ILO Governing Body in March 2013 has decided to include a discussion on the adoption of a Protocol to complement the Convention on Forced Labour and labour trafficking at the International Labour Conference in June 2014. For the EESC, taking into account the existence of forced labour and trafficking in many European and third countries, an own initiative opinion would be a strong political signal to the EU institutions and to the Member States.
The European Commission aims to ensure European graduates gain the international skills they need to work anywhere in the world and that Europe remains the most attractive destination for international students.
The aim of the European Year for Development 2015 is to inform EU citizens about EU development cooperation, highlighting what the European Union can already achieve as the biggest aid donor in the world and how it could do even more with the combined strength of its Member States and its institutions.
Given the EESC specific expertise, the EESC's opinion is particularly sought on the role of the private sector –taking into account its diversity from SMEs to multinational companies- in fostering smart and sustainable economic growth and creating jobs, as well as investing in training, education, research and innovation, key enabling technologies such as information and communication technologies (ICT). Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, Public-Private Partnerships, joint innovation and inclusive business models could also be issues to be investigated. Possible mechanisms, processes allowing the involvement of the "private sector" in a global partnership for development in a post 2015 framework would also be of interest.
The EESC endorses views expressed in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid regarding the objectives and assets of humanitarian action and expresses its conviction that humanitarian aid includes protecting people affected by humanitarian crises, maintaining their dignity and respecting their rights. The Committee stresses the genuine nature of voluntary action which should not be confused with other types of action involving work Volunteer involvement must always be needs-based, following an analysis and assessment of the situation and the needs of populations affected by disasters or complex crises.
The opinion will set out civil society's perspective on the dual challenge which EU Member States face in dealing with recent waves of immigrants and at the same time fulfilling - or in some cases failing to fulfil - their duty in guaranteeing immigrants' human rights, be it in detention or whilst on high seas. This issue is particularly topical since the European Commission and European Court of Justice are coming increasingly under pressure to act against Member States that fail to meet EU rules.