The 7th edition of the Western Balkans Civil Society Forum, which took place in Tirana on 16 and 17 April, concluded with a call for the next Commission to maintain the Western Balkans enlargement policy as one of its priorities in the interest of both the region and of the EU.
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Civil society representatives from both the EU and Turkey called on Turkish authorities to undertake major reforms in the fields of rule of law and human rights as a prerequisite to resume accession negotiations with the EU. This was one of the main conclusions of the 38th meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) held in Brussels on 8 and 9 April, which also agreed on the important role of the JCC as an open channel for exchanges at civil society level.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted at its March plenary session an opinion on the Joint Communication "Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy", issued by the European Commission and the EU High Representative in September 2018. The EESC considers it to be a seriously missed opportunity, with many significant strategic gaps, little ambition and no real depth of vision offered as to the development of EU's relationship and connectivity with Asia.
Der Europäische Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss (EWSA) verabschiedete auf seiner Plenartagung im März eine Stellungnahme, in der er eine EU-geführte globale Strategie der Friedenskonsolidierung vorschlägt, die auch die Schaffung des Weges der weißen Taube vorsieht. Dieser Friedensweg von Nordirland nach Nikosia soll auf den Spuren des irischen Wandermönchs Columban, der im 6. Jahrhundert lebte, den Dialog und die Konfliktprävention fördern und zur Versöhnung aufrufen.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted in its February plenary session an opinion supporting the continuation of the European Peace and Reconciliation Programme (PEACE) in Northern Ireland after the UK's withdrawal from the EU. This continued support is considered as "crucial" given the sensitivity of the debate on the UK/Ireland border in the context of the Brexit negotiations.
Civil society representatives from both Serbia and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) asked the EU institutions to monitor more effectively the reforms in the area of the rule of law in Serbia and other EU candidate countries in a joint declaration issued as an outcome of the 8th meeting of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) that took place in Brussels on 27 February.
At its January plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on the reinforcement of the role of Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs) in monitoring the implementation of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the European Union. DAGs are already responsible for supervising the implementation of FTAs in the areas of sustainable development and labour standards, but the EESC wants to extend this monitoring role to include all aspects of the agreements, including the core trade provisions.
The EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee went to Tirana last week to meet representatives of Albanian civil society. On 24 September the committee members met social partners to discuss the state of social dialogue in Albania, and on 25 September they held a hearing on youth policy and youth participation in Albanian society.
Transatlantic relations remain strong and important even though they have recently had a very bad press. Business, both in the EU and the US, has a role to play in overcoming current difficulties. Together, we can effectively promote a positive transatlantic agenda and help to fight stereotypes and misinformation. These are just some of the conclusions of the debate with Susan Danger, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU. The debate took place during the Employers' Group meeting on 11 July 2018.
Speech of Ms Brenda King - EESC Member during the 35th Joint ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.