The EU welcomes the holding of parliamentary elections in Ukraine on 26 October, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said a joint statement issued on Monday. Ukrainians have voted for peace and Europe, added the chief observer of the European Parliament in a comment on the elections.
“We take good note of the OSCE/ODIHR’s preliminary assessment that they marked an important step in Ukraine’s aspirations to consolidate democratic elections in line with its international commitments,” the statement said, adding: “This was a victory of the people of Ukraine and of democracy. The electoral mandate given by the Ukrainian people must now be implemented.”
We look forward to the early formation of a new Government, said Van Rompuy and Barroso, stressing the need to seek a broad national consensus following the elections in view of stepping up “much needed political and economic reforms in Ukraine.”
A reinvigorated reform process, including the launching of a country-wide national dialogue, will be crucial for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU and for consolidating Ukraine’s unity and internal cohesion, the statement said, adding the EU looked forward “to working closely together with the new Verkhovna Rada and the future new government to assist in these endeavours.”
Van Rompuy and Barroso insisted that the upcoming early local elections in Donbas later this year should be held under Ukrainian law and should “serve the same goal of de-escalation and focusing on reforms through an inclusive dialogue between the Ukrainian Government and democratically elected representatives.”
Commenting on the Ukrainian elections, head of the EP delegation at the international election monitors Andrej Plenkovicsaid democracy and a “strategic choice for peace and Europe” was the Ukrainian people’s message. “Our assessment is very positive. The elections were conducted in line with international standards,” he said at a press conference in Kiev on Monday.
“Despite the extremely difficult situation in the country, the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the hybrid aggression Ukraine is suffering, the government and the electoral authorities succeeded in organising these elections very well, in an orderly and peaceful manner,” Plenkovic stressed.
The EU stands beside Ukraine, ready to support and assist the implementation of the Association Agreement, he stressed. “Ukraine needs the help of the EU and the EU will help Ukraine,” said Plenkovic, who also chairs the EP delegation for parliamentary cooperation with Ukraine.
On the elections day, the 14-strong European Parliament Election Observation Delegation observed the opening of polling, voting and the count in Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Cherkasy.(EU Neighbourhood Info)
Van Rompuy and Barroso – Joint statement
Building relations with Russia: a look back on priorities, activities and achievement under the ENPI (2007-2013)
Bilateral assistance to Russia under the ENPI focused on support for the Common Spaces and the Partnership for Modernisation (P4M), promotion of private-public partnerships (PPPs) in the field of transport, engagement with civil society and local initiatives, according to the DG EuropeAid report “European Neighbourhood Instrument 2007-2013 – Overview of Activities and Results”, recently released.
The report describes higher education as a key sector, noting that in addition to the Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes, the ENPI funded the European Studies Institute (ESI) in Moscow and the establishment of EU centres in six Russian universities. Russia also benefited from the EU-Baltic Sea programme, with dedicated funding of €20 million.
Notwithstanding intense negotiations, neither the successor agreement with the EU – meant to replace the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement – nor the visa facilitation agreement were finalised, the report adds. Funding for a Council of Europe programme on ethnic and national minorities was partly cancelled because of lack of support from the government. The recent ‘foreign agent’ law – which restricts the activity of non-governmental organisations considered as ‘politically oriented’ (for example, working on human rights, democracy and electoral monitoring) – makes it increasingly difficult to support engagement with civil society.
ENPI bilateral assistance committed to Russia totals €66.5 million over the period 2007-2013.
The commitments under the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for the country were for:support to the implementation of the roadmaps; EP pilot project Baltic Sea (2008-2009); EP preparatory action on minorities with CoE (2008-2010); Baltic Sea strategy – Russia (2010); and Partnership for Modernisation (2010-2011).
Russia will no longer be eligible for bilateral assistance under the new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), even though it may participate in multi-country projects and programmes funded from it.
More detailed information can be found in the EuropeAid report.
Cooperation between the EU and Russia aims at directly or indirectly improving the lives of the citizens. Here is one example of cooperation, from the report.
Support to rule of law in the Russian Federation
Through the Partnership for Modernisation (P4M) programme, the EU supported the rule of law and good governance in the Russian Federation. Good progress was achieved in the introduction of the appeal system to the Russian judiciary system, and the on-going project to build the capacity of the Business Ombudsman at the central and regional levels is expected to fight against corruption faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, thanks to the P4M, the Hague Conventions on child abduction and child protection were adopted and introduced into the Russian legislative framework.
The EuropeAid report outlines the achievements of the partnership between the EU and the Neighbourhood in the past 7 years. It covers the general aspects of support to the Neighbourhood partnership, refers to the regional effort, includes a country-by-country breakdown and offers many examples of activities undertaken on the ground.
Find out more
Youth talks: an event on Youth Participation in Moldova
The Eastern Partnership Regional Youth Unit and around 50 policy makers, researchers, youth workers and trainers, youth NGO representatives and activists, mostly from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), but also other European countries, attended a seminar on Youth Participation in Moldova. The event focused on the realities, needs and tendencies of youth participation and its promotion.
The event was organized by the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth, in cooperation with the Ministry for Youth and Sport of the Republic of Moldova and the SALTO Resource Centre for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
The two-day work of the seminar gave participants a chance to look at a number of recommendations developed by the reflection group on youth participation and to come up with concrete examples of how the recommendations can and should be used and applied in the EECA region. Examples included use of ICT and opportunities for digital activism, cultural expression, and campaigning, but also continuous use of more conventional structures such as government funded youth centres in rural areas to foster participation.
Participants also had a chance to share the good examples of youth participation from their own countries, among which local co-management structures, mobile applications for active youth participation, non-formal education weeks in schools, local youth centres, youth banks, etc.
The seminar concluded with a vision session about youth participation in 2020, where participants envisioned increased mobility of youth from the EECA area, ministries exclusively for youth with young ministers, each municipality having a working youth council and authorities respecting and valuing the potential and power of young people in the community.
The EU-financed Eastern Partnership Youth Regional Unit launched in 2013 is directed towards the six countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It serves as a regional base for the provision of regional technical cooperation with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders through analytical, capacity building and communication activities in the field of youth policy reform. (ENPI Info Centre)