The exploratory opinion is being drawn up at the request of the Greek Presidency of the European Union. Immigration-related issues remain a key challenge for the European Union and its Member States with a comprehensive and common strategy at EU level remaining elusive, in spite of the continued pressures that are being felt on the EU's borders.
Relations between the EU and its southern neighbours constitute one of our priorities. Our work covers a wide variety of areas, such as the participation of civil society in political and civil dialogue, democratic transition, youth employment, sustainable development, mobility and immigration, trade, renewable energy and business development.
The EESC has been working on these issues since 1995. Following changes in the region in 2010, we have adjusted our objectives accordingly, aiming to:
- Support civil society organisations in countries undergoing transition. Such support is targeted, in particular, at trade unions and employers’ organisations, as well as women’s, youth and farmers’ associations.
- Maintain bilateral relations with national economic and social councils in the region, and work towards creating conditions for the inclusion of civil society in political dialogue in the southern partner countries.
- Issue opinions and joint reports on the key policy challenges facing the region.
- Hold regular meetings with European institutions and international organisations to discuss the policies concerning civil society across the region.
- Organise an annual summit for economic and social councils and similar institutions, at which key policy recommendations on the region’s main challenges are put to policy-makers from national governments and the EU.
The aim of the opinion is to call on the representatives of the European Community institutions and national government to take account of the key role of the social partners and organised civil society in providing European immigration policies with a social dimension and added value.
The situation concerning economic, social and cultural rights is quite patchy in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Although some countries, in the wake of what has been called the Arab spring, drew up new constitutions enshrining some of these rights in legislation for the very first time, the rights have not always been respected. In certain other countries, these rights have been weakened since 2011.The aim of this information report would be to give an overview of the current situation as regards economic, social and cultural rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region, as well as pinpointing new avenues for work in the future. This report would be submitted at the Euromed Summit of Economic and Social Councils and would enable us to work together with our counterparts from the Mediterranean countries.
The information report will seek to take a holistic approach to situation of young people in the north and south of the region, looking not just at the employment market but at wider trends amongst young people also outside of work, their self-perception, their political and social outlook on the future, their living arrangements, their view of their parents' generation and other older generations, as well as their view of the region and its role in a globalised world.
The central message of this exploratory opinion is the need for a coordinated approach on renewable energies in the region, one that is based on co-development.
The opinion examines what has become a key sector in the Euromed region. The uprisings in the Euromed region, besides putting the spotlight on the abuses of autocratic dictators, have also drawn attention to the urgent need for economic and social development, especially in rural areas. Food insecurity and high food prices are set to remain a problem in the region.