The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), as the main voice of Europe's civil society, wants to explore new avenues of participation and instruments for cooperation and look at key topics such as education, mobility and gender issues to tackle youth issues in the euromediterranean region. It is holding a hearing on 2 July 2014 at the EESC's headquarters in Brussels.
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Relations between the EU and its southern neighbours constitute one of our priorities. Our work covers a wide variety of areas, such as the participation of civil society in political and civil dialogue, democratic transition, youth employment, sustainable development, mobility and immigration, trade, renewable energy and business development.
The EESC has been working on these issues since 1995. Following changes in the region in 2010, we have adjusted our objectives accordingly, aiming to:
- Support civil society organisations in countries undergoing transition. Such support is targeted, in particular, at trade unions and employers’ organisations, as well as women’s, youth and farmers’ associations.
- Maintain bilateral relations with national economic and social councils in the region, and work towards creating conditions for the inclusion of civil society in political dialogue in the southern partner countries.
- Issue opinions and joint reports on the key policy challenges facing the region.
- Hold regular meetings with European institutions and international organisations to discuss the policies concerning civil society across the region.
- Organise an annual summit for economic and social councils and similar institutions, at which key policy recommendations on the region’s main challenges are put to policy-makers from national governments and the EU.
The Euromed Summit brings together over 150 participants, to promote greater understanding of the main issues affecting organised civil society in the Euromed region. The 2014 Euromed Summit will have a particular emphasis on the following:
• the challenges related to social exclusion and poverty in the north and south of the Mediterranean;
• the importance of the social economy and entrepreneurship;
• the socio-economic situation of young people in the Euromed region.
The Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions bring together some 120 participants from a range of economic and social councils, or similar institutions, representatives of employers, trade unions, other economic and social interests groups and NGOs from countries which are members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
This year, the Summit will focus on :
- Economic, Social and Cultural rights in the Mediterranean region
- A Social protection floor in the Euromediterrean Area
- A new generation of women's rights
It will conclude with the adoption of a final declaration that will be sent to the political authorities of the countries involved in the Euromed Ministerial Summits as civil society's contribution to their work, and disseminated widely amongst civil society organisations in the region.
The Anna Lindh Foundation, the European Commission's biggest partner for the implementation of civil society programmes in the Euromed region, organised the second edition of the Anna Lindh Forum. The 2013 Forum has been the largest gathering of civil society organisations from the Mediterranean region since the Arab awakening. The event which was hosted by the city of Marseille brought together more than 1 000 civil society representatives.
Following the publication of the EU Agenda on Migration and fully aware of the importance of the topic for Europe and its civil society, the EESC is preparing an opinion on the "EU Action Plan against migrants smuggling". In this framework, the EESC organised a public hearing to allow the rapporteur, Ms Brenda King and the member of the study group to gather knowledge from relevant stakeholders.
The Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions aims at promoting greater understanding of the main issues affecting organised civil society in the Euromed region and at discussing the common challenges they face. The Summit brings together aound 120 participants from economic and social councils, or similar institutions, representatives of employers, trade unions, other economic and social interests groups and NGOs from countries which are members of the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM). This year, the exchange will focus on the following topics:
The Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions aims at promoting greater understanding of the main issues affecting organised civil society in the Euromed region, discussing the role of civil society in relations with the European Union and enhancing mutual awareness of economic and social realities
Important items on the agenda of this year's summit have been youth and employment in the Mediterranean region; managing water-related challenges; mobility and immigration, and the UfM's ties to civil society. This event has been organised jointly with the UfM Secretariat.
Participation of Mr Staffan Nilsson in The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Energy which took place on 11 December 2013, in Brussels.
The hearing explored in what way migration-related issues can be integrated and mainstreamed into the EU external relations policies, drawing on policy instruments such as migration and mobility agreements, development policy,and trade and how the EU can benefit from mobility whilst making sure that the interests of its partners are respected.