This year's joint meetings between the EU and Central America under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title of the Association Agreement commenced with a workshop on market access. The participants discussed opportunities provided by the Agreement and challenges faced by the economic operators, in particular SMEs. Separate sessions focused on fair trade and value chains as ways facilitating market access for SMEs and small producers. On 16 June, the representatives of the EU and Central American Advisory Groups exchanged experience in their up-to-date operation and discussed proposals for strengthening capacity of the civil society monitoring mechanism, the role of the Parties in this context and future cooperation. This was followed by Civil Society Dialogue Forum where civil society representatives from the EU and Central America asked questions and expressed positions with regard to implementation of the Association Agreement and its impacts.
Ārējās attiecības - Related Events
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The first and inaugural meeting of the EU-Georgia Civil Society Platform (CSP) was held on 16 June 2016 in Tbilisi. The CSP complements the political bodies existing within the framework of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, and it allows civil society organisations from both sides to monitor the implementation process and prepare recommendations to the relevant authorities both in Georgia as well as in the European Union.
The CSP is made up of EESC members and representatives from large European civil society networks, on the one side, and representatives from Georgian civil society organisations, on the other side.
This years' meeting outside of Brussels was held on 2 June 2016 in the Delegation of the European Union in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and included a hearing with the civil society organisations (CSOs).
The goal of this hearing was for our Western Balkans Follow-up Committee to listen to the views on the role of civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to convey these messages to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the political authorities of the EU. The following topics were discussed at the hearing: social dialogue and civil dialogue, the state of the economy and the labour market, the participation of civil society organisations in the EU's enlargement process and in the implementation of the Reform Agenda 2015 – 2018, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This hearing is a step towards the 6th Western Balkans Civil Society Forum to be held in 2017.
The 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet and prosperity. It sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets in order to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. The targets seek to ensure everyone's human rights and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible, and they balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. They are also to be implemented according to the principle of "leaving no-one behind".
During the meeting, the Commission representative provided information about the implementation of the project on labour standards delivered in cooperation with the ILO in El Salvador and Guatemala. The Commission also informed about preparations for meetings with Central America planned for 15-17 June in Honduras, in particular meeting of the intergovernmental Board on Trade and Sustainable Development. The EU Advisory Group then discussed preparations for the civil society meetings with Central America, which this year will include a workshop on market access, a joint meeting of the Advisory Groups and an open Civil Society Dialogue Forum. In the afternoon, a video-conference with Central American partners took place to discuss preparations for joint meetings.
The 24th meeting of of the European Economic Area Consultative Committee took place in Vaduz (Liechtenstein) on 19-20 May 2016.
The members of the Committee discussed the latest developments in EEA and well as EU/EFTA issues. The Consultative Committee adopted two resolutions on the following topics:
- Labour Mobility in the EEA
- Better regulation to support businesses and protect workers in the EEA
The 14th EU-China Civil Society Round Table took place in Brussels on 18 and 19 May 2016. Topics set up for discussion during this meeting of the Round Table were Innovation and economic development in rural areas, and Infrastucture and investment, in the framework of the One Belt One Road initiative and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The aim of the discussions was to find common ground and exchange ideas and best practices.
The first and inaugural meeting of the EU-Moldova Civil Society Platform (CSP) was held on 10 May 2016 at the EESC. The CSP complements the political bodies existing within the framework of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement, and it allows civil society organisations from both sides to monitor the implementation process and prepare recommendations to the relevant authorities both in the Republic of Moldova as well as in the European Union.
The CSP is made up of nine members from both Parties, representing the EESC and large European civil society networks, on the one side, and civil society organisations from Moldova, on the other side.
The Consultative Committee (CC) is one of the 5 institutions foreseen in the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement. The CC is composed of 40 (25 from the CARIFORM side and 15 from the EU side) standing representatives of organisations of the civil society representing employers' organisations, trade unions, other economic, social and non-governmental organisations, including development and environmental organisations; and the academic community.
During the meeting, the EU DAG had an opportunity to discuss with Mr. Helmut Scholz, Member of the European Parliament, implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development Title and work of the civil society monitoring mechanism in the framework of the EU-Colombia and Peru Trade Agreement. Moreover, the representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented information about the EU relations and cooperation with Colombia and Peru. Based on the Second Annual Report, the Commission representative provided information about the implementation of the Trade Agreement, changes in trade flows and work of joint bodies. He also informed about the procedures and timeline related to Ecuador's accession to the Agreement.
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