The 2nd meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform took place on 11 February 2016 in EESC premises in Brussels. During the meeting, a debate was held assessing the state of play in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and two reports, prepared by both sides, were discussed and adopted – on energy policy and on the rule of law, with a focus on fight against corruption. A Joint Declaration was adopted at the end of the meeting to be forwarded to the EU-Ukraine Association Council, the Association Committee, the Parliamentary Association Committee and other relevant bodies both in Ukraine as well as in the EU.
External Relations Section (REX) - Related Events
For the 2nd time, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Serbia held the Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). The JCC is a civil society platform established between the EESC and Serbian civil society. It complements the EU institutional framework related to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia, with a civil society point of view. This joint institution allows civil society organisations on both sides to monitor the country's accession negotiations. It is also a platform to discuss issues of common interest and to inform the public at large of the challenges ahead during the accession period.
Representatives of the European and Georgian Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs), set up under the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia, held their first joint meeting in Tbilisi on 26 January 2016. The participants expressed their commitment to fulfil the mandate foreseen in the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the Association Agreement, namely to monitor the implementation of the Chapter and to provide advice to the Parties to the Agreement.
Hearing in view of the preparation of the EESC opinion on the European Commission Communication "Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy"
During the meeting, the EU Advisory Group presented its activities and communication tools, including the website, to the representatives of the Embassies of the Central American countries. It discussed progress in implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development Title and proposals for follow-up actions to the joint meeting with Central American Advisory Groups held in May 2015. The Group discussed also with the Commission representatives preparation for the annual meeting with Central America planned for 2016. Moreover, the Commission representatives delivered a presentation about the EU programmes and projects for Central America, which are relevant for the Trade and Sustainable Development Title.
The Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions aims at promoting greater understanding of the main issues affecting organised civil society in the Euromed region, discussing the role of civil society in relations with the European Union and enhancing mutual awareness of economic and social realities
The event gathered all main national social partners (business federations and trade unions from the 28 Member States) for a full-day debate on the opportunities and challenges of TTIP for the social partners. The meeting allowed for discussion on concrete topics via plenary sessions and parallel panels. The overall objective of the conference was to inform social partners at the national level about the different aspects of TTIP, to promote a balanced exchange of views and experiences between these different national groups aimed at reaching some common understanding on the TTIP and its repercussions.
In March 2014 the 1st meeting of the EU-Africa economic and social interest groups network took place in Brussels. Following negotiations with the EESC, this meeting was funded by the Commission's DG DEVCO with the main objective of introducing an 'organised civil society pillar' into the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The network was kicked off just in time to offer input to the Africa-EU Summit of April 2014.
The EESC has an interest to keep this network alive in order to contribute and follow up into the JAES from the perspective of organised civil society. Politically the best timing for organising meetings of this network is ahead of relevant summits between EU and African heads of state and/or government.
Following the publication of the EU Agenda on Migration and fully aware of the importance of the topic for Europe and its civil society, the EESC is preparing an opinion on the "EU Action Plan against migrants smuggling". In this framework, the EESC organised a public hearing to allow the rapporteur, Ms Brenda King and the member of the study group to gather knowledge from relevant stakeholders.