IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The First Meeting of the new Steering Committee of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
The first meeting of the new Steering Committee of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, elected during the last Forum in Berlin in November last year, took place on February 1-2, 2011 in Brussels.
All 17 members of the Committee were present at the meeting, nine of them were newly elected, and the other eight have been working as committee members for the past year.
To date five out of six countries have established CSF National Platforms, the most recent of which was established in Ukraine in late January.
Particular attention is given to the summit of the Forum of Eastern Partnership in Budapest to be held on May, 24-25, which, along with the third Civil Society Forum in Poznan in November will be the main Eastern Partnership highlights of the current year. Therefore, we are planning to implement an entire programme of activities, including an assessment by Civil Society of progress achieved by Eastern Partnership, as well as organisation of sideline civil society events in Budapest.
As a result of this meeting the position of the Speaker of the Forum has been replaced by two co-chairmen/chairwomen of the Steering Committee. The two co-chairman and chairwoman elected at the meeting are Ulad Vialichka, Chairman of International Consortium “EUROBELARUS”, and Antonella Valmorbida, Director of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies. The above solution will facilitate a more qualitative organisation of committee work, as well as provide for lobbying and representation functions with greater efficiency.
In the course of the last week representatives of the Steering Committee met with EC Commissioner Stefan Fuele, Thorbjoern Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Staffan Nilsson, President of European Economic and Social Committee, Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of Regions, officials from European External Affairs Service (EEAS), overseeing the work of Eastern Partnership, and other CSF strategic partners.
The next Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for April 4-6 in Minsk. We anticipate that on one of the above days the Committee will meet with the participants of Belarusian National Platform, currently in need of manifestation of support and solidarity from colleagues from other Eastern Partnership partner countries.