IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The establishment of EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform
The EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform (CSP) is an instrument of bilateral cooperation between the EU and civil society in Ukraine envisaged by the country’s Association Agreement with the EU (Articles 469-470). The CSP is a Forum which consists of members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the one hand, and representatives of Ukrainian civil society on the other and is designed to ensure dialogue and the exchange of ideas. The Civil Society Platform’s design is not determined by the Association Agreement, rather it is expected that the CSP will establish its own rules of procedure.
The CSP will be created to facilitate and support the implementation of the Association Agreement (AA) by monitoring, analysing and providing consultation to bilateral intergovernmental (the Association Council) and inter-parliamentary (Parliamentary Association Committee) bodies.
The first stage in the creation of the CSP has been initiated by civil society organisations which support the European integration of Ukraine and specialise in topics covered by the AA. These organisations have established an initiative group which has held negotiations between the EU and the EESC and is now establishing a framework for the Ukrainian CSP.
The initiative group is planning to gather a Constituent Assembly for the Ukrainian side of the CSP in November 2014. The Organisation Committee, created by the initiative group, includes various networks of trade unions, business associations, think tanks, human rights and advocacy organisations. Notwithstanding, members of the National Platform of the EaP CSF are among the leaders of the process.
The criteria for organisations to participate in the Constituent Assembly are:
- independence from the state
- non-profit status
- adequate expert capacity to work in the fields proposed by the AA.
The Ukrainian side will form 15 working groups to cover AA topics. The 15 working groups will perform the majority of tasks within the Ukrainian side of the CSP in monitoring and consulting for the implementation of the AA. In total, the EU-Ukraine CSP will consist of 30 people (15 from each side), 2 people per working topic.
One organisation will be designated to have the right to vote in max. 5 working groups of the Ukrainian side of the CSP.
The selection procedure for the Constituent Assembly is the following:
15 working groups defined by the Organisational Committee were formulated as a result of wide discussion within civil society in Ukraine and correspond to the AA structure:
The Organisational Committee is working on the format of the Constituent Assembly and looks forward to finding agreement on the CSP design with their EU counterparts, the EESC.
Main dates ahead:
October 12 - The deadline of application submissions
October 13 - Organisational committee meets to finalise selections and to set rules of procedure for Constituent Assembly
November 7 - Constituent Assembly will take place in Kyiv, where 15 members of SCP Ukrainian part will be selected by 15 working groups (see below). UA government, EU and EESC representatives are informed and will be invited.