The Civil Society Forum under the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) held its sixth meeting in Seoul on 11 April, co-chaired by Mr Lee Ho-Geun and Mr Georgi Stoev. In their joint statement the co-chairs emphasized that the uncertain geopolitical environment posed new challenges to the EU-Korea relations. It called for promoting shared values and interests in the region and for making the partnership Korea and the EU more relevant to the request of the citizens.
- The circular economy
The Civil Society Forum recommended that the main emission-intensive sectors in Korea and the EU such as manufacturing, construction, waste management and transport should use the new circular economy models for the decarbonisation of industries and for a better quality of life for their citizens.
- Environmental risk factors
The two parties expressed their commitment to a sustainable and inclusive global economy which delivers benefits to all people and communities. The joint statement also stressed the need to involve all stakeholders in the dialogue towards sustainability.
- The gender pay gap
The Civil Society Forum members agreed that equal pay for work of equal value should be a key priority both for the EU and Korea and that concrete measures should be taken in order to eliminate the gender pay gap. Special areas which need to be addressed are gender stereotypes in education and training and proactive recruitment of women in underrepresented sectors.
- Labour standards
The two parties reiterated their request to the Korean Government to ratify the remaining ILO conventions on the prohibition of forced labour and on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The civil society representatives also emphasised the need for both parties to lead a constructive social dialogue with representatives of employers and workers on employment and labour policy and law.