President: Ms Brenda King (UK-I)
Rapporteur: Mr Carmelo Cedrone (IT-II)
Ms Liina Carr (EE-II)
Mr Andris Gobiņš (LV-III)
Mr Roman Haken (CZ-III)
Mr Frank van Oorschot (NL-I)
The EESC considers that the EU's underlying objectives for the renewed EU-Pacific development Partnership are ambitious, but believes that the implementing arrangements, which mainly concern environmental protection and biodiversity conservation in the region, are not clear. Synergies are needed with other organisations to address the impact of climate change, which has a cross-cutting impact on national and multilateral policies as well as social and economic repercussions. Issues associated with the impact of climate change should be incorporated in the area's comprehensive environmental policies and ensure coherent behaviour and actions. To this end, the active involvement of all local stakeholders is necessary.
The EESC welcomes that the Communication acknowledges that the full enjoyment of rights and stable democracy are essential to a country's economic development. Regrettably, the situation in Fiji, where a dictatorship continues to deprive its citizens of their fundamental rights, receives no more than a cursory mention, whereas it deserves a more decisive and coherent European stance.
The proposed renewed development partnership should be used as an opportunity to set out principles and preconditions which should serve as EU guidelines for all beneficiary countries of EU assistance, based on a full application of the Cotonou Agreement. The effective exercise of democracy through the full enjoyment of fundamental and labour rights and democratic participation must be guaranteed in all the countries. Particular attention should be paid to the extremely serious and worrying situation of women in all the countries in this region, who are deprived of the most basic rights.
The EESC views the growth of the social partners and of civil society in general as a fundamental in this region. Participatory instruments, including a fully-fledge ESC, should facilitate promotion of stronger social dialogue, and lead to improvements in capacity building for all local stakeholders through specific funding. .
The EESC considers it a priority to coordinate coherently the various EU actions through the Commission directorates-general involved in the programmes and the European External Action Service (EEAS). Further, the overseas territories could serve as an important reference for the dissemination of the rights, values and good practices of EU policies, based on inclusive growth. Aid delivery criteria must be based on clearly defined and pre-established indicators, including for monitoring programmes at a later stage and through the coordination of the various donors.