IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Working Group 2 Annual Meeting Report
More than 25 participants and external guests gathered for the two-day Working Group 2 Conference in Brussels, Belgium. The objectives of this event were:
3. To explore the situation with SME policy in the 6 countries – identify good practices
4. To share project initiatives and identify common actions until the Annual Assembly.
The meeting began with participants sharing about the Platform 2 related events they attended and presented main ideas and recommendations from those events. The next part of the session was dedicated to priorities and activities of national platforms.
Karen Chilingaryan (National Coordinator of WG 2, Armenia NP) stressed that National Platforms need to work together to achieve concrete results for the Annual Assembly in Kyiv. Ihor Lednik (National Coordinator of WG 2, Belarus NP) stated that national platform is a very difficult instrument for CSOs to dialogue with the government, which leads to inertia. Iurii Vdovenko (National Coordinator of WG 2, Ukraine NP) noted that work within Ukrainian NP is improving. Unfortunately, expert potential in Ukraine is not sufficient. Lack of communication is a challenge – it is not clear how NP can cooperate with EU. Eugen Roscovanu (National Coordinator of WG 2, Moldova NP): Moldova NP organizes workshops and other events, provides information on DCFTA through seminars. 90% of the platform activities are related to SMEs. Moldova NP also focuses on problems of advocacy, related to improving the general economic situation.
Ilgar Huseynli (National Coordinator of WG 2, Azerbaijan NP): Laws regulating NGOs in Azerbaijan have changed dramatically. The Azerbaijan NP does not have a clear picture how to organize its work. Despite that, the platform managed to organize 3 events on the topics related to WG2. There is a serious dilemma about if/how to work with the government. Kakha Gogolashvili, (National Coordinator of WG 2, Georgia NP) mentioned that in Georgian NP there are 2 coordinators of WGs to ensure more activity and shared responsibility among members. The WG 2 has held meetings on issues related to trade with EU and DCFTA and has offered consultation to businesses interested in understanding the relation. Yuliya Vengerovych (Ukraine NP, EaP CSF): Association Agreement is an instrument which gives many possibilities, especially in SME’s sphere. Ukrainian NP wants to work on recommendations for policy makers.
Maria Tarigradean (Moldova) shared their idea of organising capacity building seminars for CSOs and local SMEs in partnership with organisations from two other countries in EaP region. If the project will be successful, the same project could be implemented in other countries as well. Tanya Basarab (EaP CSF Secretariat) briefed the group on the results of the whole re-granting process. One requirement to keep in mind for the future is that the same organisation cannot be main beneficiary twice during the three-year period. “We are not yet at the cruising speed, we need to be patient for DCFTA to be in full implementation.” Joanna Miksa- “EU institutions need to communicate clearly that DCFTA is not only about export, but also the overall changes, which this agreement will bring to the overall situation in EaP countries.”Gabriel Blanc- “Currently, the main challenge with DCFTA lies in the implementation.”Michaela Hauf-