IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The EaP CSF aims to strengthen civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries as well as foster cooperation and the exchange of experiences between civil society organisations from partner countries and the EU.
Its mission statement is to facilitate and strengthen the active and expert engagement of civil society in the Eastern Partnership and in the Eastern dimension of EU external relations policies. In addition, it aims to further participatory governance and accountable policy making in the democratic transition and European integration of the Eastern Partnership countries, including their prospective EU membership.
At the national level, the EaP CSF aims to strengthen the diversity and plurality of public discourse and policy making in the Eastern Partnership countries by holding governments accountable and promoting fundamental freedoms, participatory democracy and human rights.
The EaP CSF achieves its objectives through:
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum - an active partner in the Eastern Partnership
In the Joint Communication "European Neighbourhood Policy: Working towards a Stronger Partnership" between the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (JOIN(2013) 4 final) of 20 March 2013, a "stronger partnership with civil society" is identified as one of the main features of the revised European Neighbourhood Policy presented in 2011.
The establishment of the EaP CSF and its National Platforms in each of the Eastern Partnership countries is cited as "a good example of civil society's strengthened role in the ENP". An active civil society and its cooperation with the EU ensures that "reform objectives agreed with partner countries are a true reflection of their societies' concerns and aspirations". This is identified as the best guarantee to promoting reforms and holding governments accountable.