Economic & Social Rights

The realisation of economic, social, and cultural rights has not improved in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean over the past three years. The region remains one of the most unequal in the world with the top 10% of earners sharing roughly 60% of the national income. Women, youth, the elderly, vulnerable groups, and minorities are particularly exposed to these inequalities. In the MENA region, a combination of misguided policies, negative cultural stereotypes and internationally encouraged structural adjustment programmes continue to preserve existing inequalities and compromise labor rights.

The EU has a responsibility for this state of affairs, notably by failing to properly involve civil society in trade negotiations and investment agreements. EuroMed Rights’ political goal is that the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights is enhanced in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Read more on this political goal.


Key publications


Recent results

Since the official launch of its Economic and Social Rights (ESR) Working Group in 2019, EuroMed Rights has gathered 30 members and key associations to work on four issues, namely: 1) the role and responsibilities of the state in implementing economic and social rights, 2) new social movements, 3) the impact of macro-economic and fiscal policies, as well as 4) EU trade policies on economic and social rights.

Despite the pandemic, the ESR Working Group quickly paced up by coordinating a written response to the EU’s consultation of the EuroMed Association Agreements that will lay the foundation for future trade agreements between the EU and MENA countries.

Collaboration on economic and social rights also led to increased partnerships. For instance, Working Group members worked with Danish NGOs on a joint shadow report informing Denmark’s 2021 Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. Collaboration also took place with Oxfam International, Belgian NGO CNCD 11.11.11 and the Center for Economic and Social Rights under the shape of joint webinars and trainings.

Several of these webinars and trainings were attended by leading economic and social rights experts as well as EU and member state officials, attesting the importance of this programme within the work done by EuroMed Rights.


Working Group

The Economic and Social Rights Working Group provides a platform for international and national organisations to develop joint activities addressing key socio-economic rights concerns. The group fosters networking and capacity building, while developing monitoring, documentation and advocacy objectives.