Staffan Nilsson's Opening Speech at the EU Brazil Round Table Brasilia
America latina e Caraibi
The EESC has been working with Latin American and Caribbean counterpart organisations since the 1990s. Several EESC's opinions have focused on relations with this region, at regional, sub-regional and national level. The EESC's priorities include the development of civil society organisations, economic and social development, regional integration and cooperation in the multilateral sphere.
At a regional level, the EESC organises biennial meetings between civil society organisation representatives in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as one of the preparatory events prior to the EU-CELAC Summit.
At sub-regional and national level, several permanent structures have been set up: In 2009, the EESC set up a civil society Round Table with the Brazilian Economic and Social Council to provide a forum for dialogue and continuous cooperation between representatives of Brazilian and European civil society. The EU-Chile Association Agreement gave the Committee a mandate to establish a Joint Consultative Committee with its Chilean civil society counterpart in order to monitor the agreement, which was finally set up in 2016. As regards the Andean Community countries, the EESC takes part in the Domestic Advisory Group monitoring the EU-Colombia/Peru/Ecuador free trade agreement. It also participates in the EU-Cariforum Joint Committee that monitors the EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement. Permanent relations have been established with the EESC's institutional counterparts in Mercosur (the Economic and Social Consultative Forum) and Central America (the Consultative Committee of the Central American Integration System).
The purpose of today's meeting is two-fold.
We thought it would be good if we, representatives from European organised civil society, would meet to exchange information about planned activities in Rio and to see how we could further foster our common values and positions throughout these diverse activities.
The second reason for today's meeting turns out to be very timely. Originally we had invited Timo Makela, Director of DG Environment, to give us a de-briefing on ongoing Rio negotiations in New York.