IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Civil Society Forum Calls for More Visionary and Participatory Eastern Partnership
Brussels, 6 May 2015 – Ahead of the Riga Summit, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) calls on the EU to stay true to its values in the Eastern Partnership policies and communicate the benefits of EU integration more effectively. EU membership perspective, visa-free regime and empowering civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries are among the key messages for the European Neighbourhood Policy Review.
The EaP CSF has repeatedly urged the EU Heads of States and Governments to recognise at the Riga Summit the right of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to apply for the EU membership. The firm European choice by the people of these countries should be supported in the face of the geopolitical tensions, Russian military aggression and economic pressure.
“Any further retreat on the Association Agreements’ implementation by the EU under pressure from Russia will damage the EU’s credibility in the eyes of people in the Eastern Partnership countries. The prospect of EU membership for countries that signed the Agreements should be included in the joint declaration of the Riga Summit,” commented the co-chair of the EaP CSF Steering Committee Krzysztof Bobinski.
Visa-free travel to the Schengen area that citizens of Moldova have been enjoying since April 2014 is one of the most tangible Eastern Partnership achievements and it should be extended to Georgia and Ukraine once the reform packages are implemented.
The management of EU financial aid, including budget support, should be monitored by civil society in order to promote accountability and avoid mishandling of funds. In this regard, it is crucial to encourage and adequately support civil society participation in monitoring activities, policy development and awareness raising through accessible grant schemes.
Facing the criticism on the insufficient communication of the EU integration benefits, it is time to put in place a communication strategy underlining the advantages of cooperation with the EU and involving the civil society in the EU communication agenda at all levels.
The security situation in the region calls for the urgent introduction of a security dimension in the Eastern Partnership.
Finally, it is essential to build on the existing success stories and encourage peer learning and cross-regional exchange within the European Neighbourhood.
Read the Position Paper of the EaP CSF here
Read the Statement by the National Platforms on European Perspective here
– ENDS –
Notes to editors:
About the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) is a unique multi-layered regional civil society platform aimed at promoting European integration, facilitating reforms and democratic transformations in the six Eastern Partnership countries - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Serving as the civil society and people-to-people dimension of the Eastern Partnership, the EaP CSF strives to strengthen civil society in the region, boost pluralism in public discourse and policy making by promoting participatory democracy and fundamental freedoms. For more information, visit archive.eap-csf.eu
For further information regarding the position paper and the work of the EaP CSF, please contact: