At the end of a very busy week in Brussels which we named #SOLIDARity in action we wanted to unite with our members, partners and allies around the major social issues that Europe and the world are facing today: the continuation of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, inclusion in the labour market through the validation of skills an competences, Southern Neighbourhood policies, migration and the overarching issue of the implementation of Agenda2030. We highlighted all these issues on which we work throughout the year in one week.
The mandate of the European Commission and the European Parliament will come to an end with the upcoming European elections in May 2019. There should be continuity in change and not change in continuity. The wheel does not need to be reinvented!
Civil Society networks like ours and others are not lobbying on a single issue. Our members are engaged on the ground in Europe and all around the globe. The challenges that lie ahead are complex and transnational. We need comprehensive solutions, based on a multilateral partnership approach. However, European networks are the place to develop these solutions in small-scale partnerships to improve policymaking. Civil dialogue like in the MAJALAT platform are important but need to become more of a concrete reality. Besides the reduced civic space in many countries of the Southern Mediterranean and the continuous violation of Human Rights, we need to develop answers for a sustainable development of the region through sustainable investment and fair (“free”) trade agreements that create opportunities for development and not only for opening the markets to European products and goods, destroying regional production. We heard a clear commitment from the European Commission to continue to support dialogue with and between civil society organisations on both sides of the Mediterranean. Maybe we shall have a closer look at what works, being well aware of what our partners directly experience as well as the level of difficulties to be overcome.
We face a common challenge: to develop policy alternatives and improve the social impact of European policies, beginning with the vulnerable and the excluded in Europe or the Middle East, Africa, Asia or Latin America. The European elections will decide the future political majorities in the European Parliament. It is worth mobilising and spreading information about where (social) progress has been made and where we have and will contribute to policy making for further improvement through change. This was the purpose of our week! Quod erat demonstrandum! This needed to be shown!