European democracy action plan - Related Opinions
Through this Opinion, the EESC supports the proposal by the European Commission to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech. It considers that the criteria set out in Article 83(1) of the TFEU for such an extension (significant developments in the area, a cross-border dimension, the need to act on a common basis) are met. The EESC therefore encourages the Council to adopt the proposed Decision in order to allow the European Commission to set minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and penalties in this area of crime.
Through this Own-Initiative Opinion proposed by its Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law Group, the EESC expresses its deep concern regarding the way COVID-19 has impacted the life, safety, welfare and dignity of all of the people living in the EU and worldwide. The EESC recalls that the EU is based on common European values which are non-negotiable under any circumstances. Therefore, special measures to address the COVID-19 crisis should remain exceptional and time-limited and should not go against the rule of law or endanger democracy, the separation of powers and the fundamental rights of European inhabitants. The EESC insists on the importance of checks and balances like parliaments, independent judiciaries, and civil society in ensuring balances responses. It calls for an inclusive recovery process leaving no one behind and fostering participation, democracy and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The "Reinforcing democracy and integrity of elections" package was issued by the European Commission in November 2021. The EESC was asked to address two of the three legislative components of the package: the revision of the Regulation on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations, and a proposal for a Regulation transparency and targeting of political advertising. In this Opinion, the EESC welcomes the aims and motivation of the package but also suggests specific recommendations to make the text of the Regulations more ambitious. One of the main objectives of the Opinion is to promote conscious political participation by citizens and a role for civil society in ensuring transparent, accessible and honest political activities.
This Guidance sets out the Commission’s views on how platforms and other relevant stakeholders should step up their measures to address gaps and shortcomings in the Code and create a more transparent, safe and trustworthy online environment
The EESC welcomes the Commission's Communication on Further Strengthening the Rule of Law within the Union. It regrets that the short reflection period has not allowed for deeper consultation. The EESC recalls the essential watchdog role played by the civil society, which should be further supported. It reiterates its support for an EU mechanism to monitor rule of law and fundamental rights and proposes to establish an EU stakeholders Forum to debate solutions. The EESC also calls on the Commission to adopt a Strategy on communication, education and citizen awareness concerning these key issues.