The importance of social development in the south, and the key role of civil society involvement in achieving this, was clearly recognized in the report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCSDG) (see also Chapter 1). The report pointed out that the positive benefi ts of globalization remain unevenly distributed. It stressed the need for the international community to harness globalization to serve social as well as economic goals in order to secure more equitable social development for all (WCSDG 2004). In its reaction to the WCSDG report, the European Union (EU) recognizes the importance of strengthening the social dimension of globalization. Accordingly, with regard to EU external policies, the WCSDG report is particularly relevant. The European Commission states:

The European Community’s relations with third countries encompass a large number of issues addressed by the report of the WCSDG, in particular good governance, the rule of law, human rights and democratisation, as well as the social development as the necessary corollary of economic development to ensure sustainable progress.