"Civil society organisations are a crucial link between governments and citizens. It is civil society […] that implants the practice of citizen rights, through leadership and example. […] That is why we need you to reach out to both women and men in your countries, to stay engaged in your communities," said Commissioner Hahn, adding that by the end of 2017 only the targeted EU support to civil society will have exceeded €50m EUR.
Krzysztof Bobinski described the role of the civil society in the Eastern Partnership: "The main value of our meeting is that we meet and talk and exchange opinions and plan to work together. Because as different as we are we have so much in common, not only a common desire to build a fairer, safer and well-functioning world, but we face common threats - be they from neighbouring countries, which fear the success of the changes that we are working for, but also from internal forces, from the autocrats and the kleptocrats."
Ulad Vialichka outlined the progress the Forum has achieved so far: "We met in Brussels for the first time in November 2009. Since then the Eastern Partnership region, the European Union policy vis-a-vis the Eastern Partnership, and the Forum itself have changed considerably. Only if we attract new members and retain the good will of our membership, past and present, we can resist the threats which CSOs in the Eastern Partnership face from the rulers in our countries, many of whom remain suspicious of independent CSOs focused on reforms."
The role of the reviewed ENP in the changing geopolitical environment was featuring prominently during the high-level panel focused on the role of the Eastern Neighbourhood in the EU policies, whether as a reliable partner or a source of mounting concerns, as well as on the status quo of the Eastern Partnership initiative prior the next EaP Summit. DG NEAR Deputy Director-General Katarina Mathernova emphasised that “the work on the ENP review is a mutual process of discovery.” EaP CSF Steering Committee Member Lasha Tughushi highlighted that “the European Union needs to consolidate responses to internal challenges and external threats and remain united in defeating those.”