During the meeting, the composition of the presidency was confirmed. The Group discussed its mandate, and proposed topics ahead of the 2019 Civil Society Forum. Moreover, the EU DAG discussed with representatives of the EC matters related to the implementation of the EU-Korea FTA under three pillars of sustainable development.
Asia and Pacific
In Asia, the EESC maintains relations with civil society organisations in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.
A Civil Society Round Table with China is in place: it was set up in 2007 following the 9th EU-China Summit and convenes once a year.
A Follow-up Committeewith Japan was established in February 2009 to monitor the civil society dimension of EU-Japan relations and promote cooperation between the EESC and business, workers', environmental and consumer organisations and other major civil society organisations in Japan. An EU-Japan Domestic Advisory Group was established under the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which assigns a monitoring and advisory role to civil society under its trade and sustainable development chapter.
The EU has concluded free trade agreements with the following Asian countries: South Korea (2011), Japan (2019), Singapore (2019) and Vietnam (2020). These agreements are characterised by the inclusion of trade and sustainable development chapters, and give the EESC and other civil society organisations – together with civil society organisations in the partner countries – a formal role in monitoring their implementation and advising the relevant political authorities in the areas of environmental, social and labour standards and other matters which are of direct relevance to civil society, through the Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs). Two to three meetings of the EU DAGs are held in each year, and a joint meeting takes place once a year.
In addition, the EESC engages with civil society in other Asian countries and in relevant international events on an ad hoc basis.
During the meeting, the Chair of the EU DAG under the new mandate was elected. The Group also discussed its mandate, working methods, reporting procedures and cooperation with other civil society organisations, as well as exchanged views on its rules of procedure and assess possible amendments . Moreover, the EU DAG discussed with representatives of the EC matters related to the implementation of the EU-Korea FTA under three pillars of sustainable development.
The 16th EU-China Civil Society Round Table will take place in Varna, Bulgaria from 28 May to 29 May 2018.
The topics of the Round Table meeting will be the following: Social security and social solidarity mechanisms, and trade and investment as part of EU-China relations. In the fringes of the Round Table, a tripartite seminar on EU-China Tourism Year 2018 will be organised.
During the 6th EU-Korea Civil Society Forum (CSF), participants discussed labour standards with the ILO representative, including progress achieved by both Parties to the Agreement as well as the next steps in the ratification and effective implementation of the ILO fundamental and other up-to-date conventions. Both DAGs also exchanged information about the role of civil society in the EU and the Republic of Korea in the development and implementation of the climate change policy at national, EU and international level. They then adopted final conclusions.
During the meeting, the EU DAG discussed with a representative of the European Commission the preparation for the meetings with Korea under the trade and sustainable development chapter, as well as about the current business environment in Korea and presentation of the white paper of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea. Preparations of the 6th meeting of the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum in Seoul were also discussed.
In the light of the agreement in principle reached in July 2017 between the EU and Japan on an Economic Partnership Agreement, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)'s Follow-up Committees on International Trade and Japan are taking the opportunity to organise a half-day joint seminar. The seminar aims at examining the significance of the EU-Japan Agreement in the global context, reflecting on the role that civil society may play in the implementation of such agreement, and aims to assess possible challenges and benefits for different stakeholders (the business community, workers, farmers, consumers, etc.).
During the meeting, the EU DAG discussed with a representative of the European Commission the outcome and follow-up of the last CTSD meeting, held on March 24th, as well as the Commission's annual report on the EU-Korea FTA that was presented in June. Presentations of the recent developments in the Republic of Korea were also made by representatives of the correspondent country desk oin the European Commission and the EEAS. The EP shadow rapporteur on the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Korea, Dr Joachim Schuster, MEP (S&D Group), presented the European Parliament resolution adopted on 18 May 2017 to the EU DAG.
The 15th EU-China Civil Society Round Table will take place in Beijing from 28 to 30 June 2017. To mark this anniversary edition of the Round Table – it has been 10 years since it was first set up – an overarching theme, “Partnership for Growth, Civilization of mutual benefit”, was chosen. Thematic session will examine key aspects of this partnership.
During the 5th EU-Korea Civil Society Forum (CSF), participants will discuss labour standards with the ILO representative, including progress achieved by both Parties to the Agreement as well as the next steps in the ratification and effective implementation of the ILO fundamental and other up-to-date conventions. Both DAGs also will exchange information about the role of civil society in the EU and the Republic of Korea in the development and implementation of the climate change policy at national, EU and international level. They then will adopt final conclusions.
The discussion focussed on the preparation (topics, stakeholders, organizational aspects) of the Civil Society Forum with Korea and the Workshop on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), held In February in Brussels (20-21 February 2017).