The EESC points out that a non-immigration scenario in Europe would mean among other things that Member States' economies would suffer substantially; demographic challenges would be aggravated; pension systems might become unsustainable; racism and xenophobia would flourish even more than at present. Non-integration bears economic, socio-cultural and political risks and costs. Hence, investment in migrant integration is the best insurance policy against potential future costs, problems and tensions.
Secção Especializada de Emprego, Assuntos Sociais e Cidadania (SOC) - Related Opinions
The EESC welcomes the proposal for economic corrective measures regarding Member States that commit serious violations of the rule of law in Europe, and recommends that the interdependence between democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law is better reflected. The Commission should develop further channels for debate on Article 2 TEU values, and should include the EESC in this work. The EESC reiterates its call for the creation of a system of regular and independent monitoring of the implementation of these values in the Member States.
The proposals discussed in this opinion form the second package of proposals launched for the development of a European Education Area – the proposal on the automatic mutual recognition of diplomas, on early childhood education and care and on the teaching and learning of languages. The EESC welcomes the setting up of a European Education Area, given its contribution towards the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and in promoting amongst others Europe's social, economic and demographic development. It encourages however to incorporate this initiative within a long-term vision for education, training and lifelong learning, based on effective social dialogue.
The Justice, Rights and Values Fund is a much-needed instrument for the promotion of EU values, fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and in support of a vibrant and diverse civil society. Overall funding should be increased to EUR 1.4 billion, and innovative funding tools be used to reinforce civil society participation and capacity. 50% of the different strands should be earmarked for civil society organisations, and funding for litigation in support of civil society organisations defending fundamental rights be supported. Synergies should be found with programmes supporting media freedom.
The EESC agrees with the need to allocate more resources to operational and preventive security-related actions and programmes and supports the creation of a flexible and transparent fund – distributing resources according to clear and predictable operational criteria and objectives – in order to strengthen them. The Security Fund should be designed so as to strengthen a preventive policy, which requires active engagement and cooperation with civil society, especially in terms of caring for and making arrangements for victims, auditing security actors, and preventing radicalisation. Grants from the Fund – in the case of both EU Member States and third countries – must only go to public institutions that can effectively ensure that human rights will be strictly upheld.
In this opinion, the EESC considers that whisteblower protection apart from protecting whistleblowers, is an important tool to help companies to better address unlawful and unethical acts. It thinks that the directive's scope should be assessed on the basis of the evaluation of its implementation, and that it should be broad enough to safeguard the general interest. The Committee makes further recommendations:
The EESC welcomes the new funds, very different to each other, that will give continuity to the work undertaken, and approves of the increase in their financial allocation. Equal treatment and anti-discrimination policies represent the pillars of European policies, including those concerning the integration of third-country nationals. The removal of the word "integration" from the title is worrying, as this could be seen as reflecting diminishing concern for this aspect. The Committee welcomes the importance given to flexibility in both funds, as this entails acknowledging the importance of better reflecting the needs of each Member States within the framework of joint action.