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ENP Up Close – How can the EU be a credible peace promoter in the MENA region?
The Middle East and North Africa region is a powder keg. Different types and levels of conflicts are continuing to unfold across the region starting from historical un-resolved and stalemated peace processes, as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Western Sahara conflict. While Syria is entering the 5th year of war, and Libya has turned into another failed state, the regional political and security threat of Daesh seems to become less and less a temporary geopolitical concern, with worrying spillover threatening on-going fragilities and domestic hostilities in Iraq and Turkey. At the same time, EU policy-makers have started to realise that this threat cannot easily be contained by targeted military operations or by simple political inaction.
Step up efforts to tackle the migration crisis along the Balkans-route
Yesterday EU and Balkan leaders met to discuss, among others, the current flow of migrants through the region towards the EU; the so-called Western Balkans route. In recent weeks along this route many atrocities of human traffickers have been recorded, the last of which is the find of 71 dead refugees at the side of an Austrian motorway after they suffocated in the back of an air-tight refrigerated truck. Ahead of the leaders meeting, the European Commission released an additional €1.5 million in humanitarian funding to assist refugees and migrants in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a small amount compared to the Pre-accession support for migration–related activities in the Western Balkans and Turkey since 2007 of around €600 million.
Today, 20th of July 2015, the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) of the European Union adopted the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy which will cover the period 2015-2019.
Referring to the open letter that SOLIDAR sent on 20th May 2015, together with HelpAge International, The international Council on Social Welfare, and the Free Trade Union Development Center, SOLIDAR welcomes the adoption of the new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, as a further decisive step in the right direction towards fostering a comprehensive agenda to promote Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) within EU external relations.
Think positive – recharge the batteries!
Rising inequality and social exclusion will also have an impact on the summer holiday period. Some of us can easily travel and relax on beaches or elsewhere. For others the tourist season is an opportunity to find seasonal jobs, because even though they are precarious, they are at least a way of earning some income to help meet the toughest challenges.