Non Legislative, European Economic and Social Committee, External relations and foreign affairs
In September 2013, the EESC decided to draft an own-initiative opinion (OIO), examining the Role of Civil Society in the negotiations leading to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Japan.
The aim of the hearing is to gather the perspectives of stakeholders and civil society actors on the European side, so as to analyse and assess views, consider concerns and determine which elements to take into consideration in drafting the opinion. This overview will be complemented by the perspectives from the side of Japanese counterparts and stakeholders during the subsequent mission.
Three sessions are foreseen: an opening session, followed by two sessions during which a) the views of European negotiators and stakeholders are presented, and b) the views of specific civil society sectors are heard. Both sessions will be followed by an open debate with the audience.
Participants are directly concerned by the on-going negotiations, so as to guarantee a high level of expertise and a wide spectrum of views. Participants will come from all EU institutions (especially, the European Parliament), think tanks specialised in trade issues and/or EU relations with Asia, representatives of employers' organisations, workers' organisations, trade and industry associations, and third-sector organisations and specialised NGOs.
The findings of the hearing will be taken on board in the drafting process leading to the adoption of the own-initiative opinion. They will also be taken on board in activities following the hearing.