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.
América Latina e Caraíbas
O CESE tem colaborado com organizações homólogas da América Latina e das Caraíbas desde a década de 1990. Vários pareceres do CESE incidiram sobre as relações com esta região, a nível regional, sub regional e nacional. As prioridades do CESE incluem o desenvolvimento de organizações da sociedade civil, o desenvolvimento económico e social, a integração regional e a cooperação na esfera multilateral.
A nível regional, o CESE organiza encontros bienais entre representantes das organizações da sociedade civil da Europa, América Latina e Caraíbas, como um dos eventos preparatórios que antecedem a Cimeira UE-CELAC.
A nível sub-regional e nacional, foram criadas diversas estruturas permanentes: em 2009, o CESE criou uma mesa-redonda da sociedade civil com o Conselho Económico e Social do Brasil, a fim de proporcionar um fórum para o diálogo e a cooperação contínua entre os representantes da sociedade civil brasileira e europeia. O Acordo de Associação UE-Chile atribuiu ao CESE um mandato para a criação de um Comité Consultivo Misto com o seu homólogo da sociedade civil chileno para acompanhar o acordo, que foi finalmente criado em 2016. No que respeita aos países da Comunidade Andina, o CESE participa no Grupo Consultivo Interno que acompanha o acordo de comércio livre UE Colômbia, Peru e Equador. Participa também no Comité Consultivo Cariforum-UE que acompanha o Acordo de Parceria Económica Cariforum-UE. Foram estabelecidas relações permanentes com os homólogos institucionais do CESE no Mercosul (o Fórum Consultivo Económico e Social) e a América Central (o Comité Consultivo do Sistema de Integração da América Central).
During the meeting, the representative of the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented information about the EU relations and cooperation with Central America. Based on the Second Annual Report, the Commission representative provided information about the implementation of the trade pillar of the Association Agreement, changes in trade flows and work of joint bodies established by the Agreement. The EU Advisory Group discussed also preparations for the next meeting with Central America under the Trade and Sustainable Development Title, as well as the ways to better communicate its activities to the Central American partners and other relevant stakeholders.
The External Relations Section (REX) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is responsible for dialogue between European civil society organisations and their homologues from the countries with which the European Union has formal relations (e.g. under the form of a Free Trade Agreement). Through this dialogue, made possible by a series of bilateral bodies, and through specialized opinions and information reports, the Committee is able to concretely contribute to EU foreign policy.
Joint statement from the fifth meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee
Concept note proposal to establish a CARIFORUM-EU Centre in Europe – Joint Statement appendix
The main conclusion of the paper is that the incorporation of environmental provisions within the EPAs may present some benefits to ACP countries. These include increased enforcement of environmental laws and the raising of domestic environmental standards. However, developing countries will have to seek ways to mitigate some risks and challenges associated with internal and regional coordination in negotiations, legal burdens of the negotiating process itself and the implementation of obligations as well as the establishment and maintenance of appropriate levels of environmental protection and institution building. ACP countries will need appropriate packages of technical assistance, capacity building, and environmental cooperation to meet this new environmental agenda in their trade agreements.
In October 2008, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, being members of the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). Haiti signed the agreement in December 2009, but has not yet applied it, as it still has to be ratified.
The first objective of Article 1 of the Agreement indicated that the EPA is expected to contribute to “the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty through the establishment of a trade partnership consistent with the objective of sustainable development, the Millennium Development Goals and the Cotonou Agreement” but also to promote regional integration, economic cooperation and good governance, and to improve CARIFORUM States' capacity in trade policy and trade-related issues.
In the context of the implementation of this EPA, the ILO Decent Work Team (DWT) for the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean based in Trinidad and Tobago put together, with the financial support of the EU, the project “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process: Challenges to CARIFORUM Labour, Private Sector and Employers to Fulfil their EPA Obligations”. It targeted all CARIFORUM countries and was to be implemented between 2015 and 2018. This project is herein after referred to as the “ILO-EU Project”.