IN THE SPOTLIGHT
EaP Civil Society Forum in Chisinau: Füle fosters human rights and civil society at the heart of Eastern Partnership
Human rights and civil society will remain at the centre of the European Commission’s concerns Stefan Füle, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy told the fifth annual Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership meeting in Chisinau today.
‘I want to declare that whatever internal or external pressure there will be no compromise on values’ he said referring indirectly to repressive policies conducted by partner countries such as Azerbaijan or Belarus or pressure by Russia to join the Customs Union.
As the EaP prepares for its summit in Vilnius at the end of next month at which countries like Ukraine may sign an Association Agreement (AA) with the EU and Moldova and Georgia will initial an AA, while others will not change their status Mr. Füle said that the EU will continue to treat with equal attention.
The Commissioner was referring to fears that after Vilnius the Eastern Partnership will fall apart with some countries with AAs being treated with greater attention and others like Armenia which is said it wants to join the Customs Union.
Stefan Füle added that the EU will continue to put civil society organisations at the centre of dialogue with governments on democratic and market reforms. And civil rights defenders who fall victim to repressive policies can count on him for support.
As he was speaking, the delegates from Azerbaijan demonstrated against the imprisonment of many opposition activists before presidential elections on October 9.