The EESC highlights the potential of Euro-Mediterranean trade to contribute to sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean area and consequently encourages and supports the modernisation and extension of the bilateral Free Trade Agreements included in the eight Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements. The EESC considers that the post COVID-19 recovery provides a momentum for such a modernisation, especially as regards capitalising on the potential benefits of a reconfiguration of global value chains in favour of the Euro-Mediterranean area and in line with the new EU trade policy. In that context, the EESC thinks that a fresh impetus is necessary to relaunch the negotiations on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) with Morocco and Tunisia, as well as discussions with Egypt and Jordan.
In the face of unprecedented global changes (biodiversity collapse, widespread pollution, climate change, etc.), most notably causing extreme weather events, the effects of climate change are having a direct and indirect impact on a range of human rights that are guaranteed at international and European level, such as the right to life and health, the right of access to food and drinking water, the right to property and housing, and the right to religion and culture.
Evaluation of e-Cohesion 2014-2020:
The objective of the evaluation is to gather evidence on the implementation and performance of e-Cohesion systems for the operational programs funded by ERDF and Cohesion Fund during the programming period 2014-2020. Performance of e-Cohesion systems is understood primarily as: simplification, reduced administrative burden, and streamlined reporting and verification procedures for the four main types of users of such systems: i) beneficiaries, ii) managing authorities and intermediate bodies, iii) certifying authorities, iv) and audit authorities.
The SUD can play a central role in the European Green Deal framework, being crucial to the Commission's Farm-to-Fork strategy for shifting to a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system, and complementary to both the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Zero Pollution Strategy.
The Commission is undertaking a series of evaluations of the Common Agricultural Policy for the timeframe 2014-2020, assessing performance against the CAP's general objectives. Since the evaluation targets CAP socioeconomic impacts, representing a wide-ranging scope, the EESC provided a complementary evaluation focusing on five countries whose selection has been made together with the Commission in order to maximise complementarity and added value to the EC evaluation.
This Opinion was proposed to provide timely inputs to the evaluation the European Commission is carrying out to assess the impact of the EU-Colombia/Ecuador/Peru Trade Agreement. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide an evidence-based report assessing the impact of the implementation of the Agreement. The evaluation comes five years after the implementation of the Agreement with Colombia and Peru and two years after its implementation with Ecuador.
For the EESC, through this opinion, the evaluation is an opportunity to propose improvements along the lines repeatedly put forward by the European DAG, made up of the EESC and other European organisations, and to echo the great efforts made by civil society organisations to take part in the follow-up to the Agreement, presenting numerous observations, complaints and proposals to the authorities, especially to the Sub-committee on Trade and Sustainable Development.