EaP CSF Newsletter 

15 June 2016

For the newsletter in Russian, please click here

EaP CSF Launched #Visafree Campaign for Georgia and Ukraine

On 4 June the EaP CSF Steering Committee held a demonstration in Brussels in support of the visa liberalisation for Georgia and Ukraine. The Forum supports the position that visa-free regime for Georgia and Ukraine should be introduced as long as all the technical criteria are satisfied. While the EU has the legitimate right and urgent need to control its external borders, Georgia and Ukraine do not pose any essential migration challenges to the EU. Visa liberalisation is the most visible sign of European integration for Georgia and Ukraine. It will also be a tangible success for the Eastern Partnership and an important argument for these countries to stay on the pro-European path.

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Working Group 1 Conference on Improving Conditions for Civil Society

 

On 1-2 June the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum held the Working Group 1 “Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability” conference "Improving Conditions for Civil Society in a Shifting Environment” aimed at discussing the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy and exploring possibilities for facilitating the work of civil society organisations in the EaP region.

Representatives from the EEAS, DG NEAR, and European Parliament, as well as NGOs, foundations and think-tanks shared their views on the current situation and a way forward to facilitate work of CSOs.

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Protracted Conflicts at the Core of the CSF Address during the EaP Ministerial Meeting

On 23 May, the Steering Committee Member Ion Manole brought attention of the decision-makers present at the Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels to protracted conflicts, as well as the importance of preserving the human and political rights of civilians and people who were displaced as a result of conflicts and other challenges in the Eastern Partnership region. 

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Third Steering Committee Meeting Held in Brussels

Steering Committee (SC) members of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum met in Brussels on 3 and 4 June for their third meeting this year. The meeting focused on finalising the selection of participants and preparatory work for the Annual Assembly, possible changes to the formation of the Working Group Councils and the proposal to establish an independent fact-finding task force on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The next SC meeting is to take place in October.

DG NEAR Invites CSOs to Submit Their Views on Enhancing Outreach to Civil Society

The European Commission's Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) has been looking into ways how to enhance their outreach to civil society and provide more effective support to a broader and more diverse range of civil society organisations including grass-root organisations. DG NEAR invites you to submit your views based on the questions provided in the enclosed document

Please send your contributions to communications@eap-csf.eu by 24 June.

Steering Committee Statements

Statement on Possible Delays in Visa-Free Regime for Georgia and Ukraine

The Steering Committee (SC) is concerned over the intention to couple the Council decision on visa liberalization for Georgia and Ukraine with revising the temporary suspension mechanism of the visa exemption for third countries. Such a decision would delay the introduction of the visa-free regime and severely undermine EU credibility in both Georgia and Ukraine alienating their societies.

Steering Committee Statement

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Statement on the Release of Khadija Ismayilova

 

The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum welcomes the long-awaited release of the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova from prison.

Since her sentence has only been reduced to a suspended 3.5-year term, the Committee calls on the authorities to drop all charges against the journalist.

Steering Committee Statement

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Recent Publications

Implementation of Belarus Roadmap for Higher Education: 2nd Monitoring Report (January-May 2016)

The Ad Hoc Commission of EaP CSF Belarusian National Platform together with the Belarusian Independent Bologna Committee prepared the second Monitoring Report on the Implementation of Belarus Roadmap for Higher Education Reform for the period of January-May 2016. The main obstacle to the Roadmap implementation and inclusion of the key stakeholders in higher education reform process is the absence of a clear regulatory and legal framework that would serve as a basis for the fulfilment of Belarus’ obligations with respect to the Roadmap implementation as well as a non-transparent process of creating such a framework. 

Report

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ENP Review – Towards Effective EU Action in the Eastern Neighbourhood

Vera Rihackova, the Advocacy Manager at the EaP CSF Secretariat, drafted an appraisal of the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) entitled “ENP Review – Towards Effective EU Action in the Eastern Neighbourhood?” for EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy. The publication provides a critical overview of the new approach introduced by the recently released Communication on the ENP review.

Full Review

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Working Groups

Meetings of WG Councils Held in Brussels

WG5, WG2 and WG1 Councils held their meetings on 11, 13 May as well as 3 June respectively in Brussels. The priorities for 2016, planning of the WG Meetings and Annual Assembly in Brussels were among the main subjects on the agenda.

Upcoming Meetings

15 June 2016: EU-Georgia Civil Society Platform, Tbilisi

15-16 June 2016: Working Group 4 meeting, Burssels

17 June 2016: Roundtable: Shaping priorities for the Slovak Presidency 2016 Recommendations for More Effective Democracy Support in the Eastern Partnership co-organised by the EaP CSF

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