IN THE SPOTLIGHT
EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan: Highlights and Key Moments from EaP CSF Perspective
The Eastern Partnership remains a priority for the EU, and EaP countries need a clearer vision of where this partnership leads. The EU should help in shaping that vision. Commissioner Hahn highlighted in his address the four dimensions of the ENP review process: differentiation, ownership, focus, and flexibility.
Heidi Hautala, a Green MEP from Finland and Co-Chair of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly (PA) said in her opening speech in Yerevan at the fourth ordinary session of the Assembly that it was important that members of the Civil Society Forum had been able to participate in the discussions preceding the Parliamentary Assembly session. She echoed the statement by the representative of the Latvian presidency of the European Union that the “Eastern Partnership remains a priority for the European Union.” However, Ms. Hautala added that it was wrong that members of the Civil Society Forum in Azerbaijan ‘were suffering imprisonment’ and mentioned particularly Intigam Aliyev, Anar Mammadli and Rasul Jafarov.
Unfortunately, member of the Civil Society Forum from abroad and from Armenia were unable to hear her speech and the speech of their representative Mikayel Hovhanisyan as the doors of the Assembly Plenary room were closed to NGO’s. EaP CSF regrets that in effect the CSF was excluded from the key events of the Assembly, including address by Armenian President at the opening of the Assembly and the exchange of views with Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
Mikayel Hovhannisyan, EaP CSF Armenia Country Facilitator, in his address to the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly, stressed that there is a need for the Eastern Partnership countries to get a clear perspective regarding their further integration with the EU. The civil societies of the EaP call for clearer vision of where the Eastern Partnership leads their countries and expect the European Union to help in shaping that vision. 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 civil society recommendations are taken on board in the decisions made.
Commissioner Hahn was present at the meeting and he stressed four key points of the approach for the ENP review in his address to the EURONEST PA. First, there should be more differentiation. This means not only between South and East, but also within the East and within the South. Second, ENP countries should have ownership of the process. The ENP should reflect the views and experiences of these countries. Third, the ENP review should allow a different focus for every partner country. The partners who want and are able to, should pursue the further implementation of the Association Agreements and DCFTA, whereas the ones who do not want or cannot engage so deeply should be able to have a narrower focus, based on their real interests. Lastly, the ENP should “be more flexible, […] able to react to changing circumstances and crises when they arise, including with [the EU’s] financial instruments.”
The EURONEST PA adopted six resolution at this fourth ordinary assembly:
The EURONEST PA also discussed interesting reports in the committees, including “The Eastern Partnership after Five Years: Time for Deep Rethinking” study, conducted by Grzegorz Gromadzki in association with PASOS on request of the AFET committee, and the study prepared by Pasquale De Micco (DG EXPO, Policy Department) “When Choosing Means Losing: the Eastern Partners, the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union”.