EAST INVEST to boost trade and investment in Eastern Neighbourhood with € 8.75 million
The East Invest programme, the EU’s € 8.75 million new regional initiative to boost trade and investment in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood region through support to small and medium size enterprises, launched on March 31 in Brussels. A press release from EuropeAid said 85 partners of East Invest, including business support organisations from the EU and its Partner Countries, would agree on the activities work plan at the launch event.
The main objective of this conference is “to promote and offer the audience an insight into the overall working background, the different project activities that will be implemented and the provisional time frame,” the press release said.
Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle described this programme as “one of several concrete programs that will accompany and support the Eastern Partnership Countries on the road of economic transformation towards economic integration with the EU“.
East Invest will seek to develop business networking and multiply exchanges between EU and Eastern Neighbourhood Region public and private organisations, through:
- Encouraging public-private dialogue and promoting consultation of private sector in decision making;
- Facilitating exchange of best practices and fostering partnerships between EU and Eastern Neighbourhood companies;
- Developing the capacity of Eastern Neighbourhood SME support organisations.
Implementation of the project is overseen by Eurochambres, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry. (ENPI Info Centre)
Eastern partners sign up to policy cooperation for small businesses
The EU’s Eastern Partner countries have signed up to a policy cooperation framework, defined by the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), which focuses on entrepreneurial learning and improved skills for small businesses. According to a press release from the European Training Foundation (ETF), representatives from the economic and education ministries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine agreed to a first set of indicators to be used in a policy assessment beginning in May 2011.
The indicators cover issues such as partnership building for lifelong entrepreneurial learning, good practice exchange and baseline intelligence on enterprise skills requirements.
ETF Director Madlen Serban underlined the importance of policy cooperation for more competitive and inclusive economies in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. “Bridging the education-economy divide is key to ensuring a better fit between the supply and demand for skills by business,” she said. “But with more and more interest by business in key competences, entrepreneurship promotion by the education system is a policy must.”
According to a press release, Loretta Handrabura, Moldova’s Deputy Minister of Education, was clear about her country’s interest in the SBA policy drive. “We’re ready to do what it takes to accommodate the relevant SBA policy lines,” she said. To reinforce cooperation and momentum, the Deputy Minister called for a regional meeting on entrepreneurial learning to be hosted by her ministry in Chisinau in late autumn.
“I very much welcome the Moldovan proposal,” said Volker Genetzky of the European Commission, which is leading the policy assessment effort, in cooperation with the ETF, OECD and EBRD. “Cooperation and ownership is central to the SBA work in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Moldovan initiative characterises the high level of engagement by the countries which we have experienced.”
The ETF’s policy support work in the area of entrepreneurial learning and enterprise skills in the Eastern Partnership region builds on a similar effort developed in the EU pre-accession and Southern Neighbourhood regions.
The European Training Foundation is an agency of the European Union established to contribute to the development of the education and training systems of the EU partner countries. With an annual budget of €18 million, its mission is to help transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU’s external relations policy. (ENPI Info Centre)
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Moldova‘s National Platform was established
Moldova’s National Platform for the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum was established. The national Conference was held on the 25th of March 2011. The meeting was attended by more than 30 representatives of Civil Society Organisations representing all 4 platforms – participants of Civil Society Forums that were held in Brussels and Berlin but also by a number of other interested organisations.The main priorities of the CSOs within the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum were discussed at the meeting. The National Platform is based on principles of the Eastern Partnership and the main points of the platform focus on:
- Fostering partnership of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Government of Moldova; and
- Increasing the role of CSOs in all aspects related to the Eastern Partnership dimension.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration who presented their view of the CSOs involvement in the Eastern Partnership and the role of CSOs in the Moldova’s negotiations of the association agreement. It is important to mention and record their willingness to accept the participation of the CSOs in the official platforms of the Eastern Partnership.
Finally the meeting discussed the issue of membership in the National Platform. After short discussions it was decided that because the National Platform is seen as a discussion forum/site of the interested CSOs in the goals of the Eastern Partnership and Moldova’s European aspirations, the National Platform should be open for all CSOs interested in Eastern Partnership. The only limitation imposed is that only CSOs who have been registered for at least 2 years and are currently active could join the National Platform.