Latin America and the Caribbean
The EESC has been working with Latin American and Caribbean counterpart organisations since the 1990s. Several EESC's opinions have focused on relations with this region, at regional, sub-regional and national level. The EESC's priorities include the development of civil society organisations, economic and social development, regional integration and cooperation in the multilateral sphere.
At a regional level, the EESC organises biennial meetings between civil society organisation representatives in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as one of the preparatory events prior to the EU-CELAC Summit.
At sub-regional and national level, several permanent structures have been set up: In 2009, the EESC set up a civil society Round Table with the Brazilian Economic and Social Council to provide a forum for dialogue and continuous cooperation between representatives of Brazilian and European civil society. The EU-Chile Association Agreement gave the Committee a mandate to establish a Joint Consultative Committee with its Chilean civil society counterpart in order to monitor the agreement, which was finally set up in 2016. As regards the Andean Community countries, the EESC takes part in the Domestic Advisory Group monitoring the EU-Colombia/Peru/Ecuador free trade agreement. It also participates in the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee that monitors the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. Permanent relations have been established with the EESC's institutional counterparts in Mercosur (the Economic and Social Consultative Forum) and Central America (the Consultative Committee of the Central American Integration System).
Ex-post evaluation of the EPA between the EU and its Member States and the CARIFORUM Member States
Joint statement from the fifth meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee
Concept note proposal to establish a CARIFORUM-EU Centre in Europe – Joint Statement appendix
The main conclusion of the paper is that the incorporation of environmental provisions within the EPAs may present some benefits to ACP countries. These include increased enforcement of environmental laws and the raising of domestic environmental standards. However, developing countries will have to seek ways to mitigate some risks and challenges associated with internal and regional coordination in negotiations, legal burdens of the negotiating process itself and the implementation of obligations as well as the establishment and maintenance of appropriate levels of environmental protection and institution building. ACP countries will need appropriate packages of technical assistance, capacity building, and environmental cooperation to meet this new environmental agenda in their trade agreements.
In October 2008, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, being members of the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). Haiti signed the agreement in December 2009, but has not yet applied it, as it still has to be ratified.
The first objective of Article 1 of the Agreement indicated that the EPA is expected to contribute to “the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty through the establishment of a trade partnership consistent with the objective of sustainable development, the Millennium Development Goals and the Cotonou Agreement” but also to promote regional integration, economic cooperation and good governance, and to improve CARIFORUM States' capacity in trade policy and trade-related issues.
In the context of the implementation of this EPA, the ILO Decent Work Team (DWT) for the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean based in Trinidad and Tobago put together, with the financial support of the EU, the project “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process: Challenges to CARIFORUM Labour, Private Sector and Employers to Fulfil their EPA Obligations”. It targeted all CARIFORUM countries and was to be implemented between 2015 and 2018. This project is herein after referred to as the “ILO-EU Project”.
At the dawn of the new millennium, the European Union (EU) wanted to change profoundly its economic and commercial relationship with the countries of the Africa-
Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) with whom she had a privileged relationship. This relationship was hitherto based for a quarter of a century on a traditional vision support to the former British and French colonies through the opening non-reciprocal nature of the European market to products originating from these countries. This arrangement was gradually considered ineffective and not in accordance with the rules of the international trade. This led the EU to favor a new approach neo-liberal inspiration, nuanced by a certain consideration of the differences in between the EU and ACP countries. It has in fact acted, through the Economic Partnership (EPA), to put in place free trade agreements between
the EU and large ACP regions, de jure demanding a strong reciprocity with openness from 2008 ACP markets to products (goods and services) originating in the EU.
Les Accords de Partenariats Economiques (APE) comme outil d'appui aux pays ACP dans leur stratégie de développement économique et commercial : le cas de l’APE CARIFORUM-UE
The OECS and IOC are two small regional integration and cooperation organizations, respectively, founded by small island ACP States to support them in their economic and social development efforts, and which have subsequently opened up to a certain degree of differentiated participation in French overseas territories in a context of evolving international and commercial relations.
In this article, we propose a comparative analysis of these two organizations and this participation, highlighting the common points, but also the important legal, political, socio-economic and financial differences.
The first part is devoted to the comparative analytical presentation of the two organizations, before going on to discuss in a second part the question of the participation of French Overseas Territories and its differentiated modalities. The conclusion provides an overall assessment of observed dynamics.