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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.
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In November 1995, at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona, foreign affairs ministers of the EU and Mediterranean partner countries concluded a regional partnership, the aim of which was to establish a common area of peace and stability, create an area of shared prosperity, develop human resources, promote understanding between cultures and foster exchanges between civil societies.

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Education and vocational training in the Euro-Mediterranean region

President Staffan Nilsson

"At this important moment in history the EESC calls for the involvement of all democratic forces in the transition process, including civil society representatives, and underlines the important role of participatory democracy. Economic and social partners and civil society organisations play a pivotal role in efforts to develop a constructive and fruitful dialogue about the future of these countries."...

Staffan Nilsson

Following the natural disaster of unprecedented proportions that has hit Japan, it would be all too easy for us to shift our focus away from current events in Libya.

The fact that this country's leader, who claims to be loved by his people, is bombing his own citizens and is ordering the armed forces to open fire on their compatriots underscores this dictator’s true nature.