IN THE SPOTLIGHT
CSF representatives addressed Foreign Ministers of the EaP countries in Brussels
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society Forum (CSF) affirmed its support for the Eastern Partnership and expressed its appreciation with the European Union’s efforts in creating a favourable environment for civil society in partner countries, when addressing the Foreign Ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU on the 22nd of July in Brussels.
© TV Newsroom, Council of the EU
The Civil Society Forum looks forward the EU and Ukraine to fulfil the necessary conditions for the signature of the Association Agreement in Vilnius and for three other EaP states, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova, to initial Association Agreements including DCFTAs. If this happens, after Vilnius the Forum and a broader civil society is getting ready to monitor the implementation of the Association Agreements, which should transform the EaP countries and deepen their integration with the EU.
It was noted that the negotiation of the Association Agreements between the EU and partner governments saw almost no involvement of civil society. The talks and drafting process were closed to the general public and largely to civil society both by the partner countries and the EU resulting in a lack of awareness among society of the importance of the Association Agreements in bringing the partners closer to the values and standards promoted by the European Union.
Speaking of the space for civil society to be actively engaged in the reform process in the EaP countries, the Forum representative reiterated that according to the European Integration Index - an analytical product produced by the civil society of the region that assesses the reform process in 6 EaP countries - only in Georgia and Moldova did government policymakers and legislatures consistently engage with civil society. Limited receptiveness to such engagement was noticed in Ukraine and the beginnings of an open attitude - in Armenia.
It was indicated that according to Forum’s monitoring of the reform process in the EaP countries, which will be presented in comprehensive formats prior to the EaP Vilnius summit, first of all Moldova and Georgia, and to a certain extent Armenia, continue on a positive track of European Integration. Ukraine, though enjoying the highest intensity of political dialogue with the EU, continues to slow its integration effort. Azerbaijan and Belarus show no major progress.
The full speech can be found here.