REPORT: Advancing economic and social rights in the EuroMed region
Economic relations between the European Union and its Southern Neighbouring countries – whether about trade, loans, support programs, migrant remittances, etc. – play a decisive role for the economic and social rights of citizens of the region.
Along with their accompanying economic policies, they pose challenges in terms of deepening economic inequalities and of denying citizens’ access to influence key sectors of their societies.
By launching three reports on the impact on economic and social rights of Euro-Mediterranean economic and financial relations, EuroMed Rights wishes to stimulate discussion and action about this issue that is of major importance for the every-day life of citizens in the region.
The first report, Analysing the economic and financial relations between the European Union and the South Mediterranean Countries explores how the EU’s economic and financial policies towards its neighbours, before and after the Arab uprisings, affected the economies of the South Mediterranean countries. It furthermore inquiries into the state of knowledge of academic literature about how free trade and economic cooperation shapes income, employment, prices and government revenue. In this regard it highlights important gaps in the knowledge and understanding of the relation between human rights and economic-financial flows and policies.
The second report Assessing civil society initiatives in the field of economic and social rights offers a review of the existing networking and civil society initiatives addressing economic and social rights issues in Euro-Mediterranean relations. This is being done from the view point that societies in both Europe and in the South to a large extent are impacted by the same neo-liberal policies and austerity measures, and by the fact that economic and social rights have gained the attention only recently of mainstream human rights organisations.
The report presents a range of civil society initiatives that focus on multinational companies, free trade, and the right to decent work, to form trade unions, and the right to an adequate standard of living, including access to housing, water and a clean environment.
The third report Discussing challenges for civil society and the promotion of economic and social rights gives a summarised account of the regional seminar held in Tunisia on 3-4 September 2016. The seminar focused on the question of free trade as well as the role of international financial institutions and transnational corporations. It collates recommendations from civil society actors and academics on ways to strengthen Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to promote economic and social rights in the near future.