Civil society in the Euromed region

This page is also available in

Civil society in the Euromed region

Key points:

This opinion is the EESC's key response to the events in the Euromed region. It provides a thorough analysis of the EU's past failings and the lessons which need to be drawn from them, the most urgent needs facing civil society in the current transition phase, and the longer term perspectives for civil society in the region. The opinion also responds to the two joint communications issued by the European Commission and EEAS on the EU's new Euromed policy, calling for close cooperation between the EU institutions in the region

Key points in the opinion include:

  • the need to insist on the inclusion in EU bilateral agreements of clauses on the protection of democratic freedoms and individual rights, in order to underpin the joint principles of differentiation and conditionality highlighted in the joint communications,
  • call for the effectiveness of EU-funded projects and EU assistance to be improved so that greater progress can be achieved in the future – the EU is the biggest donor in the region,
  • the need for social dialogue between employers and workers in the Mediterranean region to be stepped up as an essential component of economic development,
  • the importance of supporting women and young people two groups of people which played a pivotal role in the processes that led to these historic transformations,
  • call for the European Commission to support local legal institutions and develop training and educational programmes for judges and lawyers,
  • the need to redefine the UfM's role and mission,
  • the importance of specific economic and social assistance programmes aimed at supporting local SMEs and agriculture, regional development and social cohesion, and the opening up of remote regions, not least also in order to stem the wave of immigration to EU countries,
  • the key role which the EESC can play in the new European framework for cooperation with Mediterranean societies, in particular: documenting the situation of civil society, helping to define specific representativity criteria, supporting the capacity-building efforts of independent and representative civil society, helping local economic and social councils, taking part in Commission programmes to strengthen socio-economic organisations.