Under the auspices of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS)-European Union relations, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organises regular consultation meetings with ACP and EU economic and social stakeholders, including representatives of civil society originating from the 79 ACP countries.
ACP and Africa
From the first Lomé Convention (1975) to the Cotonou agreement (2000-2021), EU-ACP Parterships have governed the relations between the EU and 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), which recently became the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
Throughout this period the EESC, together with ACP civil society, fought for recognition of the essential role played by non-state operators in the development process until this was achieved in the Cotonou Agreement, which mandated the EESC to organise activities and consultations with "ACP-EU economic and social interest groups" in order to gather the views of, and give voice to the organised civil society. The aim has been to foster exchanges and provide recommendations on issues and policies relevant to ACP-EU relations, later officially addressed to the EU and ACP leaders.
In practical terms, the EESC's activities concerning EU-OACPS relations are mainly carried out under the guidance of an inclusive ACP-EU Follow-up Committee made of EESC members and delegates representing ACP economic and social interest groups.
The ACP-EU Follow-up Committee maintains regular contacts with the representatives of civil society in the ACP countries at different levels, through:
- Regular meetings of the ACP-EU Follow-Up Committee,
- Regional Seminars in ACP countries, providing a forum for discussing topics of common interest with civil society representatives in alternating regions,
- Triennial General Meetings of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups in Brussels.
The EESC also maintains regular contacts with the African Union's representatives of economic and social interest groups, in the framework of the Joint EU-Africa strategy. In particular, the EESC holds annual meetings with the Africa-EU Economic and Social Stakeholder's network.
The EESC has for many years kept up regular contact with the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, presenting a report on its activities at sessions of the Plenary Assembly.
The EESC is likewise in close contact with international employers', workers', farmers', cooperatives' and consumers' organisations. These organisations nominate the ACP representatives invited to the meetings held by the EESC, including the ACP-EU Follow-up Committee.
This meeting is opportunity to take stock of the EU-Africa comprehensive agenda and strategy, the role of the organised civil society and social partners and the cooperation on development in the new negotiated partnership agreement between the EU and the organisation of ACP states as well as to prepare the 29th meeting of the ACP-EU economic and social interest groups.
The Meeting of the ACP-EU Follow-up Committee will virtually take place on 2 March 2021, 9.30 - 12.30 a.m. Brussels time.
This meeting will be the opportunity to welcome the delegates to the new mandate (2021-2013) of this ACP-EU Follow-up Committee.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Seventh meeting of the EU-Africa Economic and Social Stakeholders' Network originally scheduled in 2020 had been postponed to 2021.
The EESC proposes holding the Seventh meeting of the EU-Africa Economic and Social Stakeholders' Network at the EESC building in Brussels, on 2 March 2021, from 2.30 to 6.15 pm.
The meeting will be held virtually from the EESC building in Brussels. The system INTERACTIO will used as it allows simulations interpretation in EN, ES FR and PT, which is the linguistic regime applied to EESC regular activities with Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP).
The Meeting of the Follow-up Committee ACP-EU will virtually take place on 14 December 2020, 5-7 p.m. Brussels time, which is 4-6 p.m. G.M.T., 12 a.m.-5 p.m. in Trinidad and Tobago, 7-9 p.m. in Nairobi or 4-6 a.m. in Suva (Fiji).
This meeting will be the opportunity to properly say good-bye and thank our delegates for the good cooperation during the 2018-2020 period, before the EESC launches call for the nomination of new delegates.
Meeting of the Follow-up Committee ACP-EU
The EESC organised a regional seminar in Eastern and Southern Africa, which comprises the Indian Ocean islands (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles), countries from the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan) and some countries of Southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
The regional seminar took place in Mauritius, on 21-22 November 2019.
The sixth meeting of the EU-Africa Economic and Social Stakeholders' Network took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 3 and 4 July 2019. A political declaration was adopted by the network to be addressed to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the African Union.
On the basis of the Cotonou agreement, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is mandated to organise consultation sessions and meetings of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups in order to voice these actors' views on the ACP-EU partnership and foster cooperation between civil society organisations.
Within this framework, the EESC organises regional seminars every year in one of the ACP regions.
This year, the EESC is organising a regional seminar in Windhoek (Namibia) on 8-9 November 2018.
The Consultative Committee (CC) is one of the 5 institutions foreseen in the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement. The CC is composed of 40 (25 from the CARIFORM side and 15 from the EU side) standing representatives of organisations of the civil society representing employers' organisations, trade unions, other economic, social and non-governmental organisations, including development and environmental organisations; and the academic community.