AKP in Afrika
EESO že od 70. let 20. stoletja organizira redne sestanke z ekonomskimi in socialnimi interesnimi skupinami iz skupine afriških, karibskih in pacifiških držav (AKP). Ti sestanki so priložnost za pripravo priporočil o vprašanjih, pomembnih za odnose med AKP in EU.
Do leta 2020 bodo odnosi med EU in 78 državami AKP urejeni v skladu s Sporazumom iz Cotonouja, ki priznava bistveno vlogo nedržavnih akterjev v razvojem procesu. V skladu s tem sporazumom lahko EESO organizira sestanke in posvetovanja z ekonomskimi in socialnimi interesnimi skupinami AKP-EU.
EESO vzdržuje redne stike s predstavniki civilne družbe v državah AKP na različnih ravneh, in sicer z:
- rednimi sejami spremljevalnega odbora EU-AKP, ki ga sestavljajo člani EESO ter predstavniki ekonomskih in socialnih interesnih skupin AKP,
- regionalnimi seminarji v državah AKP, ki zagotavljajo forum za razpravo o temah skupnega interesa s predstavniki civilne družbe, vsakokrat v drugi regiji,
- triletnimi skupščinami ekonomskih in socialnih interesnih skupin AKP-EU v Bruslju.
EESO je v rednih stikih z Ekonomskim, socialnim in kulturnim svetom Afriške unije.
Poleg tega že več let vzdržuje redne stike s skupno parlamentarno skupščino AKP-EU, tako da na njenih sejah predstavlja poročila o svojih dejavnostih.
Tesno sodeluje tudi z mednarodnimi organizacijami delodajalcev, delavcev, kmetov in potrošnikov. Te organizacije imenujejo predstavnike skupine držav AKP, ki so povabljeni na seje EESO, vključno s spremljevalnim odborom EU-AKP.
L’année 2017 sera décisive pour le partenariat entre l’Europe et l’Afrique. Dans un paysage mondial en mutation rapide, l’Afrique connaît de profonds changements économiques, politiques et sociaux, et l’importance qu’elle revêt pour les dimensions intérieure et extérieure de la sécurité et de la prospérité de l’Europe est de plus en plus évidente. L’Europe et l’Afrique ont tout à gagner d’un renforcement de leurs liens politiques et économiques, mais elles ont aussi beaucoup à perdre si elles n’agissent pas.
The Commission recently published a Communication on a Renewed Partnership with the ACP Group of countries. ACP-EU relations are currently governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement that will expire in 2020, therefore the Commission has published recommendations on what the future structure should be. Last year the EESC already drafted a general opinion on the post-Cotonou framework; this new opinion will have to answer specifically to the Commission's communication.
The EESC is a strong advocate of a fair, well-administered and sustainable development policy at EU level. It is also very committed to the cause of greater tax justice. In recent years, questions have been raised as to whether the international tax policies of the Member States, in particular the concluding of certain types of double taxation agreements, are consistent with EU development policy objectives.
The 2030 Agenda, the new global framework for sustainable development agreed by the UN in 2015, needs to be reflected in EU's development policy, the major orientations of which are set out in the 2005 European Consensus on Development ("the Consensus").
To this end, the Commission issued Communication COM(2016) 740, "Proposal for a New European Consensus on Development: Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future" in November 2016. Interinstitutional negotiations are expected to result in its endorsement in the form of a Joint Statement by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission, in May 2017.
Development responses to forced displacement should be tailored for each geographic region, whilst ensuring joined-up action across the European Commission and other institutions. While a development-led approach can produce considerable results with the current budget, the need for extra resources should not be ruled out. Civil society, end users, development partners and NGOs should be involved in the delivery and in making the Commission's Communication operational. Social and civil dialogue structures and processes should be enhanced and improved in partner and host countries to assist with its delivery. Entrepreneurship in the affected regions should be supported and developed as a viable development path for many forcibly displaced people. Education and training responses should be based on a lifelong learning approach. The possibility of making EU programmes available to forcibly displaced people should be considered.
The EESC recommends that the EU should aim to achieve a modern, equal and effective partnership with the ACP countries that transcends a donor-recipient relationship and is based on a coherent and integrated EU external policy, based on the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). This framework should guarantee the involvement of civil society organisations, including the private sector, whose specific task should be to monitor and assess the impact of the implementation of this Agreement on the sustainable development of the Parties. Civil society should be provided with the technical and financial support needed to undertake this role.
The EESC recommends that all forms of development support that the EU gives to third countries should fall under the same legal framework and should be subject to the same democratic scrutiny by the European Parliament, while retaining the same positive aspects of the EDF.
2015 is marked as the European Year for Development (when the process of discussion for the post-Cotonou arrangements will begin to gain momentum), but also as the year where the Millenium Development Goals (defined until 2015) will give way to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To combine development and sustainability, all available resources of financing must be explored. The magnitude of this challenge is so large that all players including governments, private sector, banks, civil society organisations and development agencies must contribute to the implementation of these goals.
The aim of the European Year for Development 2015 is to inform EU citizens about EU development cooperation, highlighting what the European Union can already achieve as the biggest aid donor in the world and how it could do even more with the combined strength of its Member States and its institutions.
Given the EESC specific expertise, the EESC's opinion is particularly sought on the role of the private sector –taking into account its diversity from SMEs to multinational companies- in fostering smart and sustainable economic growth and creating jobs, as well as investing in training, education, research and innovation, key enabling technologies such as information and communication technologies (ICT). Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, Public-Private Partnerships, joint innovation and inclusive business models could also be issues to be investigated. Possible mechanisms, processes allowing the involvement of the "private sector" in a global partnership for development in a post 2015 framework would also be of interest.