568th Plenary session 23-24 March 2022 - Related Opinions
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The purpose of the opinion is to contribute to the further development of the foresight in the EU policy-making so to strengthen the EU's capacity and freedom to act. The opinion should ensure that EESC views are integrated in the new EU policymaking cycle which introduced foresight as a new compass as well as in the next European Commission's Annual Foresight Report.
The EESC believes that any phenomenon of antisemitism is incompatible with European values and norms, as it leads to violations of the law and to exclusion, which is a threat not only to the communities concerned and Jewish life, but also to Europe's heritage and present, and to a democratic European future. The Committee broadly supports the establishment of the Strategy and the fact that it was preceded by a broad consultation process in 2021. It strongly supports that the Strategy is not only about combating antisemitism, but also about fostering Jewish life. It firmly believes that antisemitism is not only a violation of the law affecting European Jews, but is also a test of the European idea, European coexistence, the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy. The EESC believes that all Member States have a fundamental obligation to ensure that their citizens have the freedom to hold religious beliefs and practice their religions without fear.
The EESC welcomes the renewed EU action plan and the comprehensive approach it proposes. It considers it essential to combat migrant smuggling by means of a "whole-of-route" approach, including by improving judicial and police cooperation and cooperation and dialogue with neighbouring countries in the fight against smuggling networks. Safeguarding external borders is a priority for the European Union, but these must always be protected with respect for human rights and the inviolability of public international law. The EESC points out that protecting people and providing medical care and solidarity aid should not be criminalised and treated in the same way as smuggling networks.
Environmental criminal offences are a growing concern for human health, the environment and the economy that is reflected in increasing levels of pollution, degradation of wildlife, a reduction in biodiversity and the disturbance of ecological balance within and outside the EU. This EESC opinion will cover the Commission's Proposal for the new Directive and the Communication that accompanied it.
The EESC underlines that the shortcomings of the Directive relate to its actual transposition and implementation by the Member States, in particular the considerable variability in sanctions, which in most cases means they do not do much to dissuade employers from hiring illegally staying third‑country nationals. The EESC calls on Member States to step up their efforts to implement the Directive and to work actively with the Commission to ensure it is effective. As regards sanctions, the EESC fully supports the Commission's commitments and recommendations to the Member States and puts forward many additional recommendations on how to make the sanctions effective.
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