ahead of EU Council meeting on 10th of February
07 February 2014
In advance of the EU Council meeting on 10 February, we share with the Council our support for strengthening the integration of the Eastern Partner countries with the EU, and for furthering democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms in the EU’s neighbourhood.
Bearing in mind that implementation of the agreements under the Eastern Partnership initiative requires political commitment and effective policy implementation on the side of Partner governments, we call upon the Council to commission a strategic review of the implementation of the EU’s policies towards the Eastern Partner countries, in particular:
- effective use of EU financial support to governments and other actors in the Eastern Partnership countries, including budget support to governments,
- consistency in observation and promotion of human rights, including working for the release of political prisoners and applying pressure for free and fair elections,
- greater engagement with civil society, expert groups, and watchdog groups monitoring human rights and policy effectiveness,
- the effectiveness and potential of the multilateral dimension in the Eastern Partnership initiative.
EaP Cultural Policy, call for expression of interest for workshops cycle 2014
The Eastern Partnership Culture Programme is planning to publish a call for expression of interest to participate in the Cultural Policy Exchange Workshop Cycle 2014 ‘Implementation Tools and Mechanisms for Policy Reforms’.
The workshops will build on the results of the Workshop Cycle 2013 dedicated to the elaboration and assessment of cultural strategies and policies, with the purpose of motivating cultural policy reforms. This training provides cultural leadership for national and local authority representatives, professionals, artists, and managers from the six Eastern Partnership countries.
The programme is planning to organize three workshops of 3-5 days in April, June and September 2014 in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus.
Detailed information and application forms will be available on the Programme’s website. The deadline for submissions of applications will be Friday, 28 February 2014.
The €12 million Eastern Partnership Culture Programme aims at assisting the partner countries in their cultural policy reform at government level, as well as capacity building and improving professionalism of cultural operators in the region. It seeks to strengthen regional cultural links and dialogue within the Eastern Partnership region, and between the EU and ENP Eastern countries’ cultural networks and actors. (EU Neighbourhood Info Centre)
Constitutional reform and economic issues were at the forefront of discussions held by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Kyiv yesterday. Summing up her visit, she said the situation in Ukraine would top the agenda of the 28 EU Foreign Ministers on 10 February in Brussels when they meet for regular discussions.
Ashton said that despite the sense that violence was decreasing, concern remained about the situation on the ground, “great concern to see that those who have committed violence are brought to justice and a great desire to see some kind of transparent and independent process to achieve that.” She underlined that the EU was “more than willing to help and support such a process, which I do think is extremely important.”
Ashton said there was an understanding both in the Parliament and across the political leadership of the country that constitutional reform was needed, that would “in a way go back to elements of the 2004 Constitution.” Here again, the EU could provide expertise and advice.
As regards economic issues, Ashton stressed the importance of supporting the economy in Ukraine, but not unconditionally. “It’s not only about the short term, it’s about the long term. It’s about the capacity of the economy not just to grow in areas that are doing well already, but also to develop in other areas too.”
Ashton said there was an apparent understanding in Kyiv about what needs to be done, and urged “those who have the ability to do so really get this conversation moving, to get the dialogue going and to set up the things that need to be done in order that the country can move out of crisis and move forward in a positive way.” (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Catherine Ashton Remarks