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EaP CSF Newsletter 

For the newsletter in Russian, please click here

In this Newsletter

April brought some positive news and developments in the Eastern Partnership. Keep reading to learn about them all!

We are happy to announce that our 10th Annual Assembly will take place on 6-7 December in Tbilisi, Georgia. For the first time since 2015 our annual event will be held in an Eastern Partnership country! We have received a record number of 569 applications!

On 12-13 April, the EaP CSF Steering Committee gathered in Minsk, Belarus, for the first time. SC members discussed the EaP CSF internal reform, policy campaigns, and met with the Belarusian National Platform (BNP).

The SC welcomed the peaceful resolution of leadership crisis in Armenia, which resulted in the election of Nikol Pashinyan as the new prime minister. We encourage Armenian society and authorities to adopt the necessary reforms in the constructive spirit of good will which has imbued the protests.

After six months, Fikret Huseynli, journalist of Azerbaijani origin could finally leave Ukraine as the Ukrainian authorities dismissed an Interpol extradition order issued by Azerbaijan.

Last month the EaP CSF contributed to multiple meetings of the Eastern Partnership Platforms and Panels. Read further to find the main highlights!

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Record number of 569 applications for our 10th Annual Assembly in Tbilisi

The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) chose Tbilisi as the host city for the 10th Annual Assembly of the Forum, taking place on 6-7 December. Over 200 civil society representatives from the EaP region and the EU, as well as other stakeholders, will gather in the Georgian capital. 

The Annual Assembly is the key event conducted on an annual basis since 2009. It is also the highest decision making body of the EaP CSF that serves as a platform for debate on the achievements of the Forum and the EaP in general, as well as on civil society contribution to the reform process in the region. 

We have received a record number of 569 applications for our 10th Annual Assembly. The call for applications is now closed and selected participants will be announced  in the coming months. They will be able to participate in the EaP CSF activities for a period of one year starting from the Annual Assembly at the end of 2018 until the next Annual Assembly at the end of 2019.

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EaP CSF Steering Committee Met in Minsk for the first time

On 12-13 April, the EaP CSF Steering Committee gathered in Minsk for the first time to discuss the pressing issues and meet with the Belarusian National Platform (BNP).

During the meeting the Steering Committee members deliberated on the internal reform of the Forum and the messages for specific policy campaigns. They also exchanged their views on the state of the Eastern Partnership, the situation in Belarus and the priorities for 2018 with the members of the Belarusian National Platform.

The next Steering Committee meeting will be held in Brussels in July.

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Download the Minutes
Belsat TV coverage of the Meeting
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Topics in Focus

Democratic Transition in Armenia

Statements

Public Outcry Leads to Long-awaited Change of Power

The EaP CSF Steering Committee welcomed the peaceful resolution of the leadership crisis in Armenia within a constitutional framework, which resulted in the election of Nikol Pashinyan as the new prime minister.

Our SC members encouraged Armenian society to address the necessary but difficult reforms in the constructive spirit of good will which imbued the protests. 

The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed between Armenia and the European Union (EU), which has recently been ratified by the Parliament of Armenia, provides a good basis for the reforms.

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EaP CSF Steering Committee May 9 Statement
Belarusian Civil Society Solidarity Statement
EaP CSF Steering Committee April 23 Statement
EaP CSF and Armenian Civil Society Joint Statement

Human Rights and Freedom of Speech

Fikret Huseynli's Freedom of Movement Re-Established

Fikret Huseynli, a Dutch journalist and citizen of Azerbaijani origin, could finally go back to the Netherlands after six months of being prevented from leaving Ukraine. During this time, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor Office deliberated on an Interpol extradition order issued by Azerbaijan under fabricated charges of illegal border-crossing and political fraud. While he was in Ukraine, he was at risk of forced extradition to Azerbaijan.

On 2 April, the Steering Committee addressed a letter appealing to Ukrainian authorities and prosecutors, Dutch diplomats and international partners to facilitate the return of Fikret Huseynli to the Netherlands and to ensure his safety while he was in Ukraine. Eventually, Ukrainian authorities returned his passport on 16 April, and Fikret Huseynli reportedly traveled back to Amsterdam on 17 April.

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EaP Platforms and Panels

EaP CSF Contributed to 18th Platform 1 Meeting and PAR Workshop in Tbilisi

Krzysztof Bobinski, Co-chair of the Steering Committee, attended the 18th Eastern Partnership Platform 1 “Strengthening Institutions and Good Governance” meeting on April 20. Mr Bobinski called on the EaP authorities to truly show willingness to implement judicial reforms and fight against corruption and encouraged participants to discuss further the EU banking cooperation with the EaP on money laundering in future Platform’s meetings. He also shared concerns on the EU’s democracy promotion strategy in Belarus, in light of limited progress. He delivered the message of the civil society in Moldova on the lack of action of Moldovan authorities on the theft of 1 billion dollars from the country’s banking system.

On 20 April, Gubad Ibadoghlu, from EaP CSF member organisation Economic Research Center (Azerbaijan), represented the Forum at the Workshop on Functional and Institutional Analysis of Public Institutions, Organizational Structure, held in Tbilisi in the framework of the EaP Panel on Public Administration Reform (PAR). He shared his expertise on the role of CSOs in reforming public institutions and strengthening governance.

EaP CSF contribution to the 18th Platform 1 Meeting
EaP CSF contribution to PAR Workshop in Tbilisi

EaP CSF Presented Main Trends and Challenges in Key Platform 2 and 3 Meetings

On 17 April, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum contributed to the discussions at the 14th meeting of the EaP Panel on TransportOleksandra Gumeniuk, Deputy Director of European-Ukrainian Energy Agency, represented the Forum and presented the road safety reforms implemented in Moldova, as well as transport infrastructure development for electric vehicles in Ukraine.

On 26 April, Elena Efremenko from International Foundation for Rural Development (Belarus), and Nino Evgenidze from Economic Policy Research Center (Georgia), represented the EaP CSF at the 18th EaP Platform 2 meeting on Economic Development and Market Opportunities. They shared the main trends and challenges for SMEs in Belarus and Georgia with the stakeholders.

EaP CSF contribution to 18th Platform 2 Meeting
EaP CSF contribution to the 14th Panel on Transport
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Recent Events

EaP CSF Shared Civil Society Position on EU-Belarus Relations

The Belarusian launch of the Eastern Partnership Index took place in Minsk on 12 April. The presentation was delivered by Andrei Yahorau, Director of the Center for European Transformation, and Olga Smolyanka, lawyer and expert from the Legal Transformation Center “Lawtrend». Belarus has shown progress in sustainable development, however, the country is lagging behind in almost all other indicators.

On 26-27 April, the 5th Meeting of the EU-Belarus Coordination Group in Minsk gathered participants from Belarusian CSOs, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission, and high-level officials from the Belarusian Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Belarusian National Platform was represented by Ulad Vialichka, Director of the International Consortium EuroBelarus; Irina Sukhiy, from the NGO Ecohome; Andrei Yahorau, Director of the Centre for European Transformation; Christina Richter, Director of Youth Labor Rights (YLaR); and Aleg Hulak, from the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC).

EaP Index 2015-2016
Index Presentation in Minsk
EaP CSF BNP position at the EU-Belarus Coordination Group Meeting

EaP CSF Delivered Environmental Recommendations at the 6th EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform

On 12 April, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum attended the 6th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform (CSP). Plamen Peev, from BlueLink Foundation, represented the Forum and addressed recommendations on the environmental cooperation between the EU and Ukraine.

Mr Peev presented Ukraine's commitments under the Paris Agreement and the environmental and climate change perspectives included in the EaP 2020 Deliverables and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

EaP CSF Presentation and Report

EaP CSF Became a Partner the One World Film Festival in Brussels

On 25 April, at the ‘One World’ human rights film festival in Brussels, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum co-organised a discussion panel following the screening of the documentary ‘Life after Torture. 4 Stories‘. The film introduced the viewers to the four heart-breaking stories from Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova.

Ali Feruz, a prominent Uzbek journalist who fled his homeland after being tortured, Ion Manole, Executive Director of Promo-LEX, EaP CSF member organisation, and Irina Biryukova, lawyer from Public Verdict Foundation, participated in the debate.

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Photo Gallery
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Members Corner

Opportunities

Upcoming Deadline: Regranting opportunity for Georgian CSOs raising awareness on the AA/DCFTA

As a part of the EU supported project “Georgia on European Way: Creation of Effective Model for DCFTA and SME Strategy Implementation”, EESC is calling for Georgian CSOs to apply for subgranting aimed to support activities contributing to increasing awareness about the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) among Georgian population. 

In total 60 small sub-grants of up to 1000 EUR will be distributed. Project proposals with all required documents have to be submitted by May 31, 2018 via email at info@gip.ge

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Upcoming events and meetings

  • June 5: EaP Panel on Energy (Brussels)
  • June 12: EaP Platform 4 meeting (Brussels)
  • June 12-13: EaP Panel on Environment and Climate Change (Kyiv)
  • June 20: EaP Panel on Trade (Brussels)
  • June 21-22: 10th Informal EaP Ministerial Dialogues (Minsk)
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Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Secretariat of the EaP CSF Steering Committee 

Rue de l'Industrie 10
1000 Brussels
Belgium