Joint Statement on EU-Brazil Civil Society Round Table

Following the meeting of the Sustainable Economic and Social Development Council of Brazil (CDESS) and the European Economic and Social Committee, held in Brasília, 9-10 April 2024, the President of the EESC, Oliver Röpke and Minister Alexandre Padilha, representing the CDESS, decided to work towards the establishment of a new EU-Brazil Civil Society Round Table.

The Round Table, the highest forum of cooperation for civil societies, will allow the parties to discuss common priorities and mutual interests on environmental, economic and social issues, while enhancing the strategic partnership between the EU and Brazil. It will foster a more inclusive and participatory democracy, while upholding fundamental values, rule of law and human rights. The initiative will bolster EU-Brazil relations at the civil society level promoting renewed democratic dialogue.

President Röpke said "The Round Table will be a milestone in reconnecting with our Brazilian civil society partners following a few difficult years. I can only commend the renewed engagement of Brazil on the international scene. I am looking forward to strengthening our collaboration and welcoming you in Brussels, and returning soon to Brasília for more inspiring exchanges."

Minister Padilha said “The Round Table initiative underscores our shared commitment to strengthening democracy and promoting inclusive dialogue between civil societies in the EU and Brazil. It's a crucial platform for advancing mutual interests while upholding fundamental values and human rights. Looking forward to fruitful discussions and collaboration in Brussels and Brasília."

The initiative directly follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions on 9 April [see a full press release], just one year after the reestablishment of the CDESS by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Memorandum calls for an increased cooperation, committing EESC and CDEES to exchange information regularly, organise joint activities like trainings, conferences, and research. The establishment of the Round Table would serve as a tangible outcome of the commitments outlined in the Memorandum.

In the context of the mission of the EESC to Brazil on 9-10 April 2024, the delegations of the CDESS and of the EESC held panel debates on the matters of democracy (with focus on disinformation and social media), sustainability (including the energy transition agenda), and on the employment and decent work in the rise of the new technologies. Both sides expressed the firm wish to further promote a united and coordinated position of civil society for defending multilateralism, rules-based order and just transition to greener and more digital economy.

The EESC and CDESS delegations discussed the role and experiences of economic and social councils as bridges between civil society and public authorities, and expressed the wish to provide a platform for their civil societies to reconnect and jointly debate domestic and international issues.

Background

The first Memorandum of Understanding between the EESC and CDES dates back to 2003. This memorandum paved the way for the establishment of the EU-Brazil Round Table, a platform for dialogue and cooperation between our civil societies. It played a pivotal role in strengthening the bilateral relations within the EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership, initiated in 2007.

Over the years, the Round Table convened eight times, fostering fruitful discussions and exchanges (from the inaugural meeting in Brussels in 2006 to the 8th meeting in Brasília in 2014).

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