Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood - A new Agenda for the Mediterranean

EESC opinion: Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood - A new Agenda for the Mediterranean

Key points

  • The EESC applauds the Communication's renewed commitment to the rule of law, human and fundamental rights, equality, democracy and good governance as a cornerstone for the development of equitable, inclusive and therefore prosperous societies in our Southern Neighbourhood, as well as its particular focus on young people, women and disadvantaged groups. At the same time, it welcomes the new social objectives of the Porto Summit, which must have an impact in the implementation of the Joint Communication.
  • The EESC is very pleased to note the EU's commitment to promote a culture of rule of law by closely involving civil society and the business community. Civil society organisations (CSOs) and social partner organisations remain key partners in shaping and monitoring EU cooperation. The Committee therefore considers it crucial that the EU support and promote the action of the different institutions and networks of CSOs in the broad sense of the term at Euro-Mediterranean level so that they can carry out their work in the best possible conditions.
  • The EESC warmly welcomes the proposals to involve the private sector more closely in the development of the region to supplement the necessary public investment, and to deepen public-private dialogue with a view to ensuring social and economic sustainability, which will lead to the creation of decent jobs. This approach should be promoted both at the regional Euromed level and at national and local levels.
  • The EESC believes it is important to improve regional, sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation. It welcomes the decisive support for strengthening cooperation in multilateral fora, with the UN at its centre, in particular on peace and security. The Committee calls for action based on synergies between the instruments provided by the UN Charter and the EU Security Union Strategy and believes that a significant increase in the EU's efforts in the region is needed. A good example of the good governance approach in the region is a clear focus on supporting the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) as a forum for exchange and cooperation
  • The EESC stresses that the focus must be on tackling the root causes of migration in the respective partner countries, so that people do not migrate due to a lack of life chances. Examples of this would be better access to education or measures to create quality jobs. The EESC calls on the EU to ensure that the green transition is not perceived as a model imposed from the outside.
  • The EESC considers that gender equality is not only a universally recognised human right but also an imperative to well-being, economic growth, prosperity, good governance, peace and security; we must step up our efforts, including through gender mainstreaming in all cooperation programmes and target actions, in line with the EU's third Gender Action Plan.