Belgium: MAJALAT Brussels Civil Society Forum


This week (20-21 November), B&S Europe supported the European Commission in the organisation of the MAJALAT Brussels Civil Society Forum.

What is MAJALAT?

The word Majalat stands for ‘spaces, opportunities, fields and domains’ in Arabic. This initiative aims at creating spaces for a constructive dialogue between the European Union and civil society organisations (CSOs), trade unions, social movements and academics from both shores of the Mediterranean, with a view to influencing the vision and policies related to the region.

Majalat is a regional initiative financially supported by the European Commission (DG NEAR). The consortium managing the project is composed of six regional civil society networks: Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Arab Trade Union Confederation (ATUC), REF – Réseau Euromed France, EuroMed Rights, Forum for Alternatives Morocco (FMAS), and SOLIDAR.

Another Civil Society Forum?

This unique initiative aims to build a continuous exchange between the EU and CSOs from Southern Mediterranean Countries, taking into account previous EU structured dialogues. The Brussels Civil Society Forum follows a South Policy Seminar and Youth Workshop held in Amman on 20-21-22 September 2018. The years 2019 and 2020 will include a full cycle of activities with thematic workshops, national workshops, a youth workshop, leading to the South Seminar and the Brussels Civil Society Forum.

What was on the menu?

The following four specific themes were discussed with high-level EU representatives (Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Christian Danielsson, Director-General of DG NEAR) and EU officials. Gender, youth and non-discrimination issues was also be part of the discussions.

• Good Governance and Rule of Law

• Security and Countering Violence

• Migration

• Economic development and social dialogue

The aim of this first Brussels Civil Society Forum, where nearly 150 people participated, was to identify ‘entry points’ for future discussions with the European Union, and to feed into the 2019 regional thematic workshops.