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.
Plenary session 9-10 December 2015 - Related Opinions
Delivering on the European Agenda on Migration from May, the European Commission has put forward a comprehensive package of proposals which should help address the refugee crisis by alleviating pressure from the most affected Member States. One of the measures announced was a Permanent Relocation Mechanism for all Member States.
The refugee crisis in the EU has reached the point at which the founding principles of human rights protection and democracy are being called into question. Despite the difficulties, EESC strongly believes that these principles must be upheld and properly implemented. The crisis relocation mechanism is a concrete example of cooperation based on solidarity and responsibility. However, the EESC wishes to have this relocation mechanism and other similar initiatives included as part of a general strategy in order to ensure coherence and efficiency.
On 13 May, the European Commission presented a European Agenda on Migration outlining the immediate measures that will be taken in order to respond to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean as well as the steps to be taken in the coming years to better manage migration in all its aspects. The EESC welcomes the Commission's "European Agenda on Migration", which it believes symbolises a new-found understanding of the need to address migration at a European level, and encourages the Member States to collectively support the implementation of this Agenda.
The EESC supports the European Digital Single Market Strategy proposed by the Juncker Commission, which is an extension of existing digital strategies and programmes. Its intention is to end the fragmentation of European digital policy into 28 strategies and national digital markets and merge them within a European approach, so as to guarantee a leading position for the EU in the global digital economy, a privilege that has become the preserve of third countries.
The EESC is convinced that the European Union, which has at its disposal excellent skills and considerable experience in certain aspects of digital technology, can still catch up. With this in mind, the EESC strongly recommends developing multidisciplinary research poles and European synergies in the European Research Area, in spheres such as cloud computing, nano-electronics, the storage and processing of big data, appliances that can be consulted or controlled remotely (connected objects), and smart services.
The EESC recognises the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to thoroughly simplify common agricultural policy (CAP) implementation and that it has already proposed, and will continue to propose, the simplification of certain Commission acts, making EU legislation easier to understand and to implement on the ground. The EESC believes that increased transparency and legal certainty, and the reduction of unnecessary administration and associated costs for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations, is a necessary part of the simplification process.
The EESC expresses its support for the Commission in combating the erosion of Member States' tax bases and unfair tax competition. The Committee in this context endorses the introduction of a CCCTB and is also pleased that the Commission has published a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. The EESC goes even further and proposes that EU rules should include sanctions for companies that continue to run their business through tax havens.
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.