The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has strongly supported the enlargement of the European Union to the six Western Balkans countries provided they fulfil all the necessary criteria for membership. In the aftermath of the Council's non-decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in October 2019, we have reacted swiftly by adopting, on 31 October, a Resolution expressing our profound disappointment by the lack of unanimity from the Member States. The EESC has since been committed to working closely and intensively with the civil society in the Western Balkans to support and reassure them that their place is in the European Union.
Секция „Външни отношения“ (REX) - Related News
Members of the EU-Japan Follow-up Committee of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) visited Japan recently (27-31 January) to discuss the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – in place since February 2019 – and to strengthen cooperation with Japanese counterparts. The visit included a roundtable on the circular economy and the first EU-Japan Joint Dialogue with civil society under the EPA, with trade and sustainable development issues on the agenda.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) firmly believes that infringements of human rights can be better prevented when there is an internationally agreed binding standard implemented and protected by states. Therefore, in an opinion adopted at its December plenary session, the EESC supports the United Nations Human Rights Council initiative to adopt a binding UN treaty to regulate businesses activities, including sanctions in case of violation of international human rights law.
The benefits of digitalisation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are multiple, allowing them to boost competitiveness, expand market access and improve customer relations. In an information report adopted at its December plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) considers it necessary to support the digital transformation of SMEs with measures adapted to the specific needs of different types of companies.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a debate on development cooperation policy at its December plenary session, stressing that it was essential to upgrade relations between EU and African civil society in order to move from help to development to partnership.
Representatives of European and Chilean civil society held a videoconference on 27 November, as it was impossible for them to hold the fourth meeting of their Joint Consultative Committee under present circumstances. In the videoconference, the members of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) adopted a statement in which they regretted the social and political situation in Chile.
On 22 November, participants in the 17th regional seminar of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups adopted a declaration highlighting the potential of the blue economy as a key factor for development in many eastern and southern African countries. The event, hosted by the EESC in Mauritius, was also an opportunity for civil society representatives to call for a greater role for civil society in the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements and bilateral Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) and to acknowledge the role played by African and EU economic and social groups in the development of infrastructure.
EESC criticises European Council decision to deny the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is deeply disappointed about EU leaders' decision to further postpone opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at the European Council of 17-18 October, due to the lack of unanimity between the Member States.
The ninth meeting of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), that took place in Belgrade on 10-11 October, gathered members of the European Economic and Social Committee and representatives of Serbian civil society organisations (CSOs). The general agreement was that, despite the progress made in some areas, Serbia has still a long way to go to meet interim benchmarks in the field of rule of law and Copenhagen political criteria for its accession to the EU.
On 26 September, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) approved an own-initiative opinion to mark the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). In this opinion, the EESC acknowledges the important achievements of this initiative, but also calls for further reforms in the areas of democratisation and fundamental freedoms. The opinion insists on the need to strengthen the role of civil society and to provide credible EU membership prospects to EaP states.