Last week, SOLIDAR organised a visit to Tunisia to attend a high-level conference organised by the Global Progressive Forum and Solidar Tunisia, on the EU-Tunisia Free Trade Agreement. The conference brought together EU officials, including MEPs Antonio Panzeri and Gilles Pargneaux, as well as PES Women President Zita Gurmai, and Tunisian government officials. Here you can find the final declaration of the conference titled “For a progressive vision of UE-Tunisia trade agreement”.
SOLIDAR supports several of the recommendations that have emerged during the conference and that are reflected in their final declaration. Among these, SOLIDAR consider essential the proactive role of CSOs not only to participate to the negotiation process, but to concretely deliver on policy proposals on the different chapters and annexes of the agreement. Also, in line with the overall conference, we call for strengthening the legal framework so that socio economic rights can be effectively ensured and result in fighting inequalities and promoting decent work for all. In addition to reiterating the recommendation of excluding services of general interest from the negotiation chapters and other procurement agreements, SOLIDAR considers these trade negotiations a golden opportunity to promote the Voluntary European Quality Framework for Social Services, and ensure the implementation of quality and sustainability aspects of the EU public procurement directive within the agreement.
In parallel, SOLIDAR organised a meeting with the EU delegation and its members and partners in Tunisia to discuss the 2015 social protection monitoring report, and to present the 2016 action plan. In the framework of the EU funded regional Programme on Freedom of Association, Decent work and Social Protection, SOLIDAR is supporting its member organisation Solidarité Laique in implementing their multi-stakeholders programme called ‘Soyons Actives/Actifs” that aims at strengthening CSOs’ capacity to fight inequalities, promote economic and social rights, and stimulate participative democracy. Last year, several workshops and local trainings on the rights-based approach to do advocacy for policy change have been organised, the output of these meetings can be found in the guidebook.
The program brings together 47 members organisations from different regions and cities in Tunisia. In 2016, we will continue working on promoting social economy, promoting a reform of the education system and ensuring CSOs’ participation in the local governance and decentralisation process.
You can read more about SOLIDAR’s regional programme in the MENA region here.