IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Civil societies of the EaP need clearer vision of where the Eastern Partnership leads their countries, EaP CSF at EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly
There is a need for the Eastern Partnership countries to have clearer perspectives regarding their further integration with the EU. The civil societies of the EaP need clearer vision of where the Eastern Partnership leads their countries and expect the European Union to help in shaping that vision. The EU should fully recognize the European perspective for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and explicitly state this at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.
Mikayel Hovhannisyan, EaP CSF Armenia Country Facilitator, addressing the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly at its fourth Ordinary Session on 17 March 2015 in Yerevan, stressed that civil society is ready to multiply its efforts to support a more effective implementation of the Eastern Partnership. For that the CSF needs more specific mechanisms and mandates for involvement. Although possibilities to convey the challenges, expectations and needs of the civil society to respective decision makers are important, the best indicator for the involvement is the extent to which the recommendations and the feedback of the civil society are reflected in the decisions made.
Civil society’s expertise and flexibility, mechanisms of participation and monitoring can and should be used to promote more effective democratization of the Eastern Partnership Countries. The civil society expects the European Union to continue and to be more active in addressing the issues of free and fair elections, protection of human rights and freedoms, consistent and effective implementation of institutional reforms and promotion of rule of law in Eastern Partnership Countries. This can be promoted via the formulation of more specific and detailed deliverables to be provided by the Governments of the EaP countries. Confidence building inside the Eastern Partnership and in wider Europe is another priority. On the example of Armenia, further and even more active involvement of civil society in Armenia-Azerbaijan and Armenia-Turkey normalization can be mentioned.
The CSF believes that Eastern Partnership is not only an initiative aimed at supporting the integration of the 6 eastern neighbours with the EU but also a program that forms a sub-region that shares European values and works hard to promote peaceful and sustainable development.
The statement of the Georgian National Platform of the EaP CSF issued on the same day reinforces the call for the EU to send a clear message to Eastern Partnership countries, stating that these countries and their civil society are fully aware of the long and challenging road ahead that implies carrying our important reforms. However, the lack of the European perspective allows the Russian Federation to strengthen the belief among the EaP countries’ populations that integration with Russia is the only realistic option. In that regard, the Georgian National Platform calls for the EU and its member states to explicitly recognize at the Riga Summit the European perspective for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.