Last week the Steering Committee of the Ukrainian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (UNP EaP CSF) held a meeting, where goals were set for the nearest future and new opportunities that emerged after the signing of the Association Agreement on 21 March were discussed.
According to the UNP National Coordinator Oleksandr Sushko, the main task for the Ukrainian civil society for the nearest several months is to introduce an effective mechanism of cooperation between the Ukrainian civil society and the EU.
In particular, article 469 of the Association Agreement establishes a Civil Society Platform to manage bilateral consultations between the Ukrainian civil society and the European side, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). However, the Agreement does not suggest any precise formula to determine structure and composition of the Platform; moreover, it passes to the Platform the responsibilities to define its own agenda and rules of procedure.
As the coordinator of the Working Group 5 ‘Social Dialog ’ of the UNP EaP CSF Rostyslav Dzundza mentioned, EESC is a consulting body of the EU, which embraces employers, trade unions, professional associations and other groups of interest; EESC represents their position and protects their interests in dialog with the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Considering this important stage in the EU-Ukrainian relations, the UNP EaP CSF is ready to discuss framework of cooperation with civil society organizations of Ukraine and to prepare propositions on creating an effective bilateral format of cooperation between the Ukrainian civil society and the EU.
Based on internal consultations, independent expert recommendations and negotiations with the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, the Federation of Trade-unions and the Confederation of Independent Trade-unions of Ukraine etc., the UNP EaP CSF plans to produce its own conception and rules of procedure for the Civil Society Platform, which will be delivered to EESC.
The UNP EaP CSF will produce a joint decision on the format of the Civil Society Platform at an expert meeting where the all the involved parties will be invited. The meeting is scheduled for 18 April 2014. In May 2014, the UNP EaP CSF will start negotiations with EESC on particular mechanisms for bilateral cooperation.