IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The meeting serves as a platform, which focuses on the achievements and challenges of the Eastern Partnership and aims to facilitate a debate on how civil society can further develop and contribute to the development of the programme. It is also a platform where regional challenges are discussed and the future of European integration processes in the Eastern Partnership region are brought into focus with concrete projects initiatives and ideas for collaboration.
The annual Forum approves the by-laws, resolutions and statutes of the Forum. Between annual Forum events, the delegates of the previous Forum act as the highest decision-making body and can make decisions by majority vote through email voting.
The minutes of the Steering Committee meetings are noted by the Secretariat, which is also present at the meetings. The minutes of each meeting are made available to the public.
Steering Committee members act on a voluntary basis. The Committee has a number of responsibilities, which include:
The Working Groups meet once a year in Brussels to discuss the common goals and activities that have been put forward through the respective working group structures in the EaP countries. Representatives of the WGs implement their own projects, regularly take part in EaP expert panels and multilateral platform meetings, where they provide expertise and gain valuable insight and contribute to achieving the main goals of the Forum. Networking and communication and joint projects continue throughout the year within national and regional setting between the members of the Working Group.
The linkage between the Steering Committee and the participants of each WG are provided by the WG Coordinators, two per working group – one from an EaP country civil society organisation and one from the EU. The Coordinators are elected by members of the WG at the annual Forum and are tasked with the coordination of activities of the members of the WG.
NPs function in all six EaP countries since 2011. Membership in National Platforms is open to all eligible civil society organisations. Within each National Platform, Working Groups are organized to reflect the Working Group structure of the whole Forum in order to better follow and influence developments within each Working Group at the national level. The National Platforms hold regular meetings and annual conferences, where they analyze the role of the Platform and its activities as well as look ahead to future activities.
The linkage between the Steering Committee and the National Platforms is provided by the Country Facilitators, who are elected to this function for a period of one year by the delegation of the respective country at the annual Forum. The major tasks of the Country Facilitators are to coordinate the activities of the members of the country delegation within the framework of the Forum and to represent them in the Steering Committee.
On a daily basis the Secretariat works to support the activities of the Steering Committee and Forum in general and serves as a CSF information, coordination and expertise hub for stakeholders in the EU and in the EaP countries. The Secretariat ensures greater visibility of the activities of the Forum, its National Platforms and Working Groups and increased contribution of civil society to the reform process in the EaP region. It liaises with the European Commission, the European External Action Service, other EU institutions and Brussels-based organisations on behalf of the Forum. Together with the Steering Committee the Secretariat is developing advocacy campaigns on matters of importance to the Forum and takes stock of the policy developments, while ensuring its further communication to the Steering Committee members, Forum participants and the general public.