Ecuador accession to the EU's free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru: Freedom of Association is not optional

On 11 November 2016, the EU, its member states, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru signed the protocol of accession of Ecuador to the EU's free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru. The goal is to finalize all the remaining procedural steps before the end of the year so as to allow for provisional application of the agreement from 1 January 2017. The agreement includes a Trade and Sustainable Development chapter (Chapter IX), where it is indicated, among others, that “each Party commits to the promotion and effective implementation in its laws and practice and in its whole territory of internationally recognized core labor standards as contained in the fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization…” such as the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining conventions (ILO Conventions N. 87 and N. 98). On this point, Commissioner Cecilia Malmström had already highlighted that “new trade and investment framework needs to be complemented by solid and enforceable domestic policies, including on labor rights, human rights and environmental protection”.

With this in mind, and in view of the European Parliament's final discussion on the accession of Ecuador to the EU's free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru that will place on the week of December 12th, SOLIDAR, FOS and ASTAC, together with the ActionAid France/Peuples solidaires, Buy Responsibly Foundation, Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Mai Bine, Oxfam Germany, and Südwind:

  • Call on the Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and EU member states in their different capacities to urge the Government of Ecuador (GoE) to take rapid and concrete steps towards the full realization of the right to freedom of association and to organize before the EU's free trade agreement with Ecuador enters into force.
  • Ask that the EU's free trade agreement with Ecuador is linked to the full respect – by the GoE – of ILO Core Labour Standards.
  • Urge the set-up of a transparent and participatory implementation, monitoring and follow-up system of the agreement and namely of its sustainable development obligations.

Read the full communication that has been sent to the members of the European Parliament here.