The new Steering Committee, consisting of 6 national coordinators, 9 working group coordinators and 3 EU coordinators has been elected last week at the Fifth annual Forum of the EaP Civil Society in Chisinau.
According to the Forum’s Statute, during the annual Forum meeting the participants of the National Platform elect their Country Facilitator for the period of one year. The coordinator’s role is to organise the activities of the National Platform, which unites a large number of CSOs, in the framework of the Forum and represent it in the Steering Committee.
Besides, the Forum has five Working Groups, of which four mirror the topics of the thematic multilateral platforms of the Eastern Partnership, namely: Democracy, human rights, good governance and stability; Economic integration and convergence with EU policies; Environment, climate change and energy security; Contacts between people.
Working Groups of the Civil Society Forum bring together representatives of CSOs of 6 EaP countries and the EU. Working Groups meet once per year in addition to participation in the annual Forum event and work in parallel to the Eastern Partnership intergovernmental platforms and panels and contribute to the work of the Forum by providing civil society perspective.
The fifth Working Group of the Forum has no parallel thematic platform and focuses on social policies and social dialogue.
Representatives of the Forum attend the meetings of EaP Platforms, ministerial meetings and EaP summits, where they deliver written opinions developed by the Forum’s experts.
The Forum brings together civil society organizations which monitor the situation, advocates for reforms and provide policy inputs at the national level with the ultimate goal of bringing the EaP countries closer to the EU.
Full list and contact details of Coordinators can be found here
The EU’s offer to its Eastern partners is not a zero-sum game: economic reforms should benefit all sides, allowing for the creation of a zone of prosperity across the continent, the EU’s Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Štefan Füle told an audience in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv today.
In a speech to an International Conference on “The Way Ahead for the Eastern Partnership”, Füle sought to dispel some of the myths about the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) the EU hopes to sign with Ukraine and other Eastern partners at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership summit next month.
“Contrary to what we often hear, our offer to the Eastern partners is not a zero-sum game: Economic reforms should benefit all sides, allowing for the creation of a zone of prosperity across the continent. We care about our neighbours, but we also care about the neighbours of our neighbours,” he said.
Füle insisted it was “our partners’ sovereign right to choose what they want and we stand ready to support their choices against undue interferences”, adding: “This does not mean that we will trade the conditionality and the common values which underpin the Eastern Partnership for the sake of geopolitical games.”
“We have been hearing a lot of myths recently about the impact of the AA/DCFTA: passing sovereignty to Brussels, costly excercise – absolute nonsense,” the Commissioner said.
“If there is signature, I hope soon afterwards we will see most of AA/DCFTA applied even before ratification with concrete benefits for exporters, businesses, citizens – from the first days of the provisional application. And it is not that you open up all your space, we will open ours to you,” he said, adding there would be provisional periods to adjust. “It is not true that you will not be in control of the developments, there will be joint coordinating bodies where you will be co-deciding about implementation of the AA/DCFTA. And you will have the tools to take measures. So we are not taking anything from your sovereignty, it will be actually strengthened.”
He added the next two years would also see implementation of the mobility agenda, “where the benefits to the citizens of partner countries are worth the significant reform efforts that partner governments have to undertake”.
Füle said the Eastern Partnership was not a one-size-fits-all framework. “Its role is to support those who seek a closer relationship with European Union… The greater the efforts by you – our partners – the greater will the support be from the European Union.”
He said Ukraine still needed to present determined action and tangible progress in all areas listed in the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council in December 2012 in order to be able to sign the Association Agreement. It also has to work on the outstanding legislation for the completion of the first phase of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, in particular when it comes to the comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and adequate mechanisms for fight against corruption.
“Only by making further progress in these and other areas will Ukraine be able to strengthen its leading position in the Eastern Partnership,” the Commissioner said, adding: “I believe that, with the engagement of all sides: authorities, opposition, business circles and civil society, it is perfectly feasible.”(EU Neighbourhood Info)