Stručna skupina za vanjske odnose (REX) - Related Opinions
The incoming German EU Presidency has listed this file as one of their top priorities in the field. This is in line with their long-standing interest to the issue of due diligence and corporate social responsibility, which they had tabled during their Presidency of the G7 in 2015 and G20 in 2017. The German government wants an EU legislation on the issue and they would welcome the EESC opinion. They are encouraged by the launch of a Commission study on Sustainable supply chains back in January 2020. They would ideally like to present the EESC opinion during their high-level conference scheduled on 6-7 October 2020.
The unprecedented magnitude of the COVID crisis requires an unprecedented, long-term and unequivocal response. International trade is a vital tool to finance recovery ge get out of the crisis. In these efforts, the EU must stay true to its values and ensure the protection of businesses, workers and people, leaving no one behind. Recovery must be based on sustainability, and inclusive and green growth. Green Deal measures are therefore more relevant than ever.
The Covid-19 impact is having a profound and unprecedented impact and Europe needs to respond with a strong, social, sustainable and inclusive EU Recovery Plan that will support companies and people. The upcoming early EU Trade Strategy review needs to draw important lessons from this crisis. The EU is not self-sufficient and depends on access to international markets. It needs resilient, diversified and responsible Global supply chains. Stronger instruments need to deliver on a sustainable trade and investment agenda in all its dimensions. It needs to be consistent with the Green Deal and show equal ambition on the effective implementation and enforcement of labour provisions. European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) recommendations made in a series of recent and ongoing key opinions on EU trade must inform this strategy review.
When it comes to development and EU-Africa relations, the EESC consistently emphasised the importance of sustainable development and cooperation based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Initiatives focused on trade, investment and business relations with Africa could be welcomed, but not to the detriment of traditional development policies focusing on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EU and Africa leaders agreed in 2015 at the Valletta summit on migration on setting up the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), as the main instrument of EU external migration policy. The Fund finances the development of border protection capacities, but also long-term development policy projects so as to decrease the likelihood of further migration.
A system of corporate liability for human rights abuses is currently being negotiated in the UN, within the UNHRC’s open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises concerning human rights (OEIGWG), established by the UN General Assembly on 26 June 2014. The mandate of the working group is to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
2019 is the year we are celebrating the ten-year anniversary of a real and living partnership – the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Over the last decade this partnership has gone through its share of difficulties. Yet, it not only endured - it developed, matured and delivered beyond what we foresaw at the beginning.
Thus after 10 years of EaP policy, it is crucial to properly evaluate the achievements and aims and reflect on the next possible steps. It is important to ensure that EaP policy connects countries and people and covers a broad area of issues, including supporting civil society, pluralism and independent media, as well as ensuring gender equality and non-discrimination. As it is likely that the policy will change its course from a one-size-fits-all to a tailor-made approach, it will be crucial to ensure that those wanting to get closer to the EU have this opportunity, adapted to their ambitions and pace.
The EESC considers there is no better moment in the history of European integration for the EU to lead the way by charting a new direction for peace-building worldwide.
The EESC presents The WhiteDoveWay, a metaphorical and physical route map pointing the way forward, focusing on conflict prevention, civil society involvement, and effective communication using education and information, and a European Path of Peace to physically engage citizens so they are included and empowered in the EU peace process.
The EESC calls for the new EU budget to devote greatly increased funds to conflict prevention in all EU external relations peace programmes.
The EESC strongly recommends greater involvement of civil society in the decision-making process.
The EESC calls for a serious communication effort to promote the role of education and information to deliver the EU peace-building story.