The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted at its March plenary session an opinion on the Joint Communication "Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy", issued by the European Commission and the EU High Representative in September 2018. The EESC considers it to be a seriously missed opportunity, with many significant strategic gaps, little ambition and no real depth of vision offered as to the development of EU's relationship and connectivity with Asia.
San Áise cothaíonn CESE caidreamh le heagraíochtaí na sochaí sibhialta sa tSín, sa tSeapáin agus sa Chóiré Theas. Tá Cruinniú Comhchéime oifigiúil na Sochaí Sibhialta i bhfeidhm idir an tAontas agus an tSín: rinneadh é a thionscnamh in 2007 i ndiaidh an 9ú Cruinniú Mullaigh idir an tAontas agus an tSín, agus tagann sé i gceann a chéile uair sa bhliain ar a laghad. Le blianta beaga anuas, tá tuilleadh iarrachtaí déanta ag an gCoiste chun caidreamh níos dlúithe a chothú leis an tsochaí shibhialta eagraithe sa tSeapáin i bhfianaise Chomhaontú Saorthrádála an Aontais Eorpaigh agus na Seapáine lena dtugtar ról monatóireachta agus comhairleach don tsochaí shibhialta.
Bhí an Comhaontú Saorthrádála idir an tAontas Eorpach agus an Chóiré, a tháinig i bhfeidhm in 2011, ar an gcéad chomhaontú den "ghlúin nua" de chomhaontuithe trádála AE. Sainghné de na comhaontuithe sin is ea go mbíonn caibidlí maidir le "Trádáil agus Forbairt Inbhuanaithe" iontu, agus bronnann na comhaontuithe sin ról foirmiúil ar CESE – agus ar eagraíochtaí na sochaí sibhialta sa Chóiré – i dtaca le monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar a chur chun feidhme agus le comhairle a thabhairt do na húdaráis pholaitiúla éagsúla i réimsí na gcaighdeán comhshaoil, sóisialta agus saothair agus in ábhair eile a bhfuil baint dhíreach acu leis an tsochaí shibhialta. Reáchtáiltear trí chruinniú de Ghrúpa Comhairleach Baile an Aontais Eorpaigh gach bliain agus cruinniú comhpháirteach uair sa bhliain.
Ar a bharr sin, bíonn CESE ag obair leis an tsochaí shibhialta i dtíortha eile san Áise agus glacann sé páirt in imeachtaí idirnáisiúnta ábhartha ar bhonn ad hoc. Sampla amháin de sin is ea Fóram Pobail na hÁise-na hEorpa, ar ardán idir-réigiúnach na sochaí sibhialta é atá mar chuid den Chruinniú idir an Áise agus an Eoraip.
This meeting was an excellent opportunity for a timely update by DG Trade on the implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter under the FTA, as well as for a constructive exchange with the Director of the ILO office in Hanoi on the labour situation in Vietnam and the state of play of the roadmap.
Additionally, Ambassador Vu Anh Quang, from the Vietnamese Mission to the EU, participated in an exchange with the EU Domestic Advisory Group (EU DAG) members to share his views on ongoing topics within the context of the EU Vietnam relations.
The members of the EU DAG, which is composed of representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions and various interest groups, also further discussed its work programme and prepared the upcoming joint meetings with its Vietnamese civil society counterparts.
The EU DAG and the Korea DAG met for the first time since 2018 to hold the 7th EU-Korea Civil Society Forum (CSF).
This was the first meeting of the EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG), composed of representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions and various interest groups. At the meeting, the EU DAG received information from the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the EU relations with Vietnam and exchange with representatives of the European Commission's DG TRADE and the European Parliament on the implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter of the FTA. The EU DAG had also a first discussion on its work programme.
The EESC EU-Japan Follow-up Committee will meet in the morning of 7 January 2021. It will discuss various aspects of EU-Japan relations and set its work programme for the first half of the new mandate.
The EESC EU-Japan Follow-up Committee met the morning of 17 July. Items for discussion on the agenda were: the EU-Japan Relations in the post COVID-19 era and Research and innovation. In addition to this, the Follow-up Committee assessed the current mandate period and reflected on future perspectives.
During the meeting, the members of the Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) of the EU - composed of representatives of employers' organisations, trade unions and various interest groups - followed up on the joint meetings with the Japanese counterparts that took place in Tokyo in January this year. They also discussed the work programme of the EU DAG and topics for future cooperation and dialogue. Additionally, the members of the EU DAG exchanged views with representatives of the European Commission on matters related to the implementation of the trade and sustainable development chapter of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
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.
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.