IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Civil Society Conference Recommendations to Riga Summit Focus on Information Propaganda and Visa-free Regime
21 May 2015
Creation of mechanism reducing the negative effects of propaganda, increase of NATO and EaP state cooperation in deterring new hybrid wars, and granting a visa-free regime for Georgia and Ukraine. These and other recommendations were incorporated in the recommendation paper of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference where the EaP CSF members had a leadership role. These recommendations were presented to the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit.
Recommendations conclude that Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine has left deep and negative effects on the Eastern Partnership’s region, and therefore it is essential to continue and strengthen the policies of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership, with a specific focus on supporting civil society. Furthermore, the recommendations also note the negative effects of Russian propaganda on its neighboring states. The necessity to strengthen European values, establish mechanisms to constrain the negative effects of propaganda at state and public level, was also noted in the paper.
The need for a more proactive EU Common Security and Defense Policy was also raised, along with new challenges facing the regional security. To deter threats of new hybrid war, closer cooperation between NATO and EaP is encouraged. The recommendations also included a list of practical steps for civil society groups in furthering democratization of Eastern Partnership states. The conference emphasized the need to use more instruments in aiding civil society groups in the region.
As one of the most important issues, raised in the conference, was mobility and trans-border cooperation, as it is mobility and visa liberalization between the Eastern Partnership and European Union states that would strengthen and intensify the exchange of ideas, values, and experience. The Eastern Partnership summit in Riga should propose a visa free regime for Georgia and Ukraine from January 1, 2016, whilst still demanding these two states to finalize the implementation of reforms.
The participants of the conference also call upon the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit to declare a clear position regarding EU membership perspectives for the states that have begun the implementation of Association Agreements. The European Union should be open and inclusive in policy making for Eastern Partnership, thus reaffirming its commitments to be “United in Diversity”, the recommendations said.
These recommendations will also be distributed to the European Union institutions, as well as the governments of the European Union and Eastern Partnership member states, with the aim of developing a more effective framework to achieve the aims of the Eastern Partnership.
The Conference, which is part of the Eastern Partnership’s Summit’s line of events, gathered more 300 representatives of the civil society and experts from different countries, providing a platform for debate on multiple Eastern Partnership’s pressing questions, with the participation of civil society’s, nongovernmental organizations and think tank representatives.
The recommendations in their entirety are available here