Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Statement of Support from EaP Civil Society to Southern Mediterranean Countries

Tagged under Steering Committee

Baroness Catherine Margaret Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union

Ref : Statement of Support from EaP Civil Society to Southern Mediterranean Countries

Dear High Representative Ms. Ashton,

On behalf of the Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership, we would like to unanimously proclaim our support and solidarity with the civil societies of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other countries of the Southern Neighborhood, which are striving for democracy and a better life. We deeply grieve for all victims of the violent confrontation with the forces opposing the democratic changes.

We are very concerned about the people and immigrants who are in great need. We call on the EU to provide them with necessary support which confirms the real values of solidarity upon which the EU was founded.

We understand and respect that human rights and democracy are among the fundamental basis for prosperity and welfare of all countries all over the world. We welcome the changes in the North Africa region with a hope for a better future for this region.

However, it is important for the EU to find a proper balance between it's engagement in the East and aswell as the South. Both directions are equally important for the future security of EU borders and Europe as a continent, even though both are facing different challenges and problems.

We would like to strongly recommend seeing the two great political dimensions of the European Neighborhood policy – The East and the South – as two sides of the same coin; both need to be treated equally in terms of political and financial attention. All actions undertaken by the European Union in regard to the Mediterranean Region should not be made to the detriment of the Eastern Partnership. This would be in contradiction with the goals of the European Neighborhood Policy.

The letter by the Foreign Ministers of France, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Slovenia – suggests shifting funds from the East to the South. We understand that the dynamics and scale of the North African developments need an appropriate and fast reaction from the EU. At the same time, we recommend that the decisions on how to support the democratic changes in the concerned countries must take into consideration wider aspects of the European Neighborhood Policy. They should not undermine the commitments already made by the EU under the Eastern Partnership policy.

We, at the Civil Society Forum, a community of hundreds of civil society organizations from the EU member states and EaP partner countries, express our readiness to share existing experience with civil society organizations from Northern Africa and Middle East and to contribute to the discussion about the lessons learnt from the implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy.

In this respect, we would like to make contact with the Civil Society organizations in the South and invite some of their representatives to take part in our next Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership, which will take place in Poznan this year. We would also like to recommend that the EU considers the role of civil society in the future Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean.

Thank you for your attention and as always, remain at your disposal for any future contacts.

On behalf of the Steering Committee of the EaP Civil Society Forum

Ulad Vialichka, Co-Chair of the CSF Steering Committee, Chairperson of EUROBELARUS
Antonella Valmorbida, Co-Chair of the CSF Steering Committee, Director of ALDA

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