Išorės santykių skyrius (REX) - Related Opinions
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.
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.
The EESC wishes to draw up an opinion on the revision of the agreement with Mexico, paying special attention to civil society participation in the process, i.e. consultations during the negotiations and monitoring implementation of the new agreement following its entry into force.
The workers' group at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for a proposal for the new ILO standard (convention accompanied by a recommendation) on gender-based violence at work. The ILO Governing Body at its session in November 2015 will take a decision on whether to place this item on the agenda of the International Labour Conference (ILO supreme decision making and standard setting body) for the years 2017-2018. In this context, the EESC Opinion would represent a contribution of the European civil society, including workers' representatives, to the ILO discussion on the need for a new labour standard. In the past, the EESC contributed with its Opinions to the ILO discussions on new standards on domestic workers and prohibition of forced labour.
The own-initiative opinion will focus on the impact of the TTIP on SMEs and reflect on the provisions that would need to be included in the TTIP in order to take account of the specific character of SMEs in the negotiations and implementation of an eventual EU-US agreement. The opinion will also look at how to increase the awareness of SMEs as to existing support services and programmes, and particularly about the new business opportunities that may arise with this agreement.
2015 is marked as the European Year for Development (when the process of discussion for the post-Cotonou arrangements will begin to gain momentum), but also as the year where the Millenium Development Goals (defined until 2015) will give way to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To combine development and sustainability, all available resources of financing must be explored. The magnitude of this challenge is so large that all players including governments, private sector, banks, civil society organisations and development agencies must contribute to the implementation of these goals.
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.
The recent flow of disinformation in Europe, following the crisis in Ukraine, has underlined the need to consider the influence it has on social and political processes in the EU and the Eastern neighbouring countries. The impact caused by disinformation is often underestimated, as heavily funded disinformation is being spread not only via media, but also through cultural channels and public figures; its presence is strong and influential in the lives of European citizens, especially in Eastern Europe.