EaP CSF Monthly Newsletter

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In this Newsletter

June was quite a prolific month for the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF). In this newsletter you will find nine latest statements produced by our Steering Committee and National Platforms.

We contributed to important meetings such as the 10th EaP Informal Partnership Dialogue and the 7th Ordinary Session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.

The EaP CSF Steering Committee has called on the EU to suspend all financial assistance to the government of Moldova after the invalidation of the local elections in Chisinau and the increasing pressure on civil society activists. In Georgia, we urged to reform the General Prosecutor's Office procedures in order make them more democratic. Despite the calls from EaP CSF and Syracuse University, including a letter sent to the US Secretary of State, for the release of Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Emin Aslan, he spent the 30 days in prison to which he was sentenced. Mr Aslan was finally released on July 4.

We also took a stand and called for boycotting the FIFA 2018 World Cup held in Russia due to the international violations by the host nation and a number of political prisoners in the country, such as Oleg Sentsov. The EaP CSF raised its concerns over the "Stop Soros" law in Hungary and called for its veto and revisiting the membership of the ruling party Fidesz at the European People's Party.

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10th EaP Informal Partnership Dialogue

On 21-22 June, the EaP 10th Informal Partnership Dialogue took place in Minsk. The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) was represented by the Steering Committee member Mikalai Kvantaliani.

During the first day of the event, Mr Kvantaliani shared civil society views on harmonisation of digital markets and elaborated on digitalisation of the economy. On the second day he delivered a speech in presence of the EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Johannes Hahn, and the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the six EaP countries, in which he stressed the important role played by independent civil society in providing input to the EaP reform agenda embodied by the 20 Deliverables for 2020.

EaP CSF Speech at the session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs
EaP CSF Address at the session on Harmonisation of Digital Markets
Watch Commissioner Hahn intervention at the meeting

7th Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

On 27 June, the co-chairs of the EaP CSF Steering Committee, Krzysztof Bobinski and Aleksandra Kalatozishvili, addressed members of the 7th Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. In their speech, they welcomed the path for change opened in the EaP region after the success of the peaceful street protests in Armenia. They also raised concerns over the worrying tendencies in the partner countries, especially the recent developments in Georgia and Moldova and urged reforms to fight corruption and curb the power of oligarchs. 

Furthermore, they advocated for ensuring the civil society funding at the next EU's Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF).

Read the Speech of the EaP CSF co-chairs at the Euronest PA
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Topics in Focus

Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU external action instruments

On 14 June, the EU has published the Proposal for a Regulation to the European Parliament and to the Council for the next MFF (2021-2027). In line with the budget proposal, the draft Regulation on NDICI (Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument) was also developed and published. The single instrument encompasses regional programmes, including the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), and the European instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). It follows the shift towards prioritizing funding along the lines of the EU Global Strategy, focusing namely on migration-related issues.The EaP CSF does not support the “one instrument proposal” since the single instrument could take away tools for specific and tailored civil society support, and the ENI as a specific geographic instrument is fit for purpose and can well address the needs of various partner countries as well as various stakeholders on the ground, including civil society.

We are calling on the members to submit their positions on the matter by August 31.

EaP CSF Position Paper
Submit your position here!

Democracy and Good Governance

Statements

Eroding Democracy in Moldova: Invalidation of Chisinau Local Elections and Pressure on Civil Society Activists

Following the judgments issued by the Chisinau City Court on June 19 and the Chisinau Court of Appeal on 21 June, invalidating the local elections of the Chisinau mayor, the EaP CSF Steering Committee strongly urges European stakeholders to suspend all financial assistance to the government of Moldova until the rule of law and democratic mechanisms are fully respected.

The members of the EaP CSF Moldovan National Platform (MD NP) and Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections call on all actors involved in the process to show political maturity and respect for democratic values.

These regrettable decisions by Moldovan courts were adopted against the backdrop of increasing pressure on the civil society. The MD NP denounced the pressure from the current government on Veaceslav Negruta, an expert of Transparency International Moldova and former Minister of Finance (2009-2013) who noticed irregularities in the banking system.

26 June - SC Statement on EU Financial Assistance to MD
25 June - MNP Statement on Eroding Democracy in MD
22 June - MNP Statement on Invalidation of Chisinau Local Elections
21 June - SC Statement on Invalidation of Chisinau Local Elections
5 June - MNP Condemns Pressure on Veaceslav Negruta

EaP CSF Georgian National Platform Calls on the Parliament to Reform Prosecutor’s Office Procedures

On 21 June, the EaP CSF Georgian National Platform (GE NP) appealed to the Parliament of Georgia to reform the Prosecutor’s Office in order to establish a proper and more democratic procedure for electing the Prosecutor General.

Our Georgian members believe that the election of the Prosecutor General can only take place after the Prosecution Council has been reformed, which will bring it in line with the new constitutional norms and ensure, and that the new Prosecutor General is elected for 6 years with the proper procedure

EaP CSF GNP Address to the Parliament of Georgia

Human Rights and Political Prisoners

Statements

Call Upon Governments of EU Participating States to Boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

The EaP CSF Steering Committee called upon the governments of the EU participating countries to boycott at the political level the FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia. The refusal to send official delegations would become a powerful demonstration of international solidarity and zero tolerance to Russia’s aggressive policies and its crimes against human rights.

The SC of the EaP CSF also draws attention to the hunger strike of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker who was illegally sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Russian authorities.

EaP CSF Statement on the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia

EaP CSF Campaigned for the Release of the Imprisoned Syracuse University Alumnus Emin Aslan in Azerbaijan

The Co-chairs of the EaP CSF Steering Committee, Krzysztof Bobinski and Alexandra Kalatozishvili, and SC member Laura Dittel addressed a letter to the Syracuse University (NY) on the situation of their alumnus Emin Aslan, a recent law graduate who returned to his native Azerbaijan only to be arrested in Baku in the afternoon on 4 June and sentenced the next day to 30 days detention for allegedly failing to obey police instructions. The young lawyer was finally released on July 4, exactly 30 days ​after his detention.

Syracuse University sent a letter on 11 June 2018 to the United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo urging him to investigate the detention of Mr Aslan.

EaP CSF Statement on Emin Aslan Detention
Syracuse University Letter to US Secretary of State

Shrinking Space for Civil Society

Statements

EaP CSF Steering Committee Calls for the Veto of Orban’s “Stop Soros” Law and Re-visiting the Fidesz EPP Membership

The EaP CSF Steering Committee notes with dismay the recent controversial legislation passed by the Hungarian government on 20 June on the occasion of the World Refugee Day. The new “Stop Soros” provision – Article 353A of the Criminal Code – introduces the offence of “facilitating irregular migration” essentially tightening the rules on granting asylum and criminalising actions helping undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.

Our members call on Janos Ader, the President of Hungary, to veto the law on granting asylum, which runs counter to European values. If the present legislation is enforced it should be investigated by the European Commission and the European People’s party (EPP) should re-visit the membership of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party.

EaP CSF SC Statement on the Hungarian “Stop Soros” Law
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Members Corner

Reminders

Call for Registration: EaP CSF Database of Experts

Would you like to have a unique opportunity to represent the Forum at the meetings of the multilateral EaP Platforms and Panels?

Register in our online experts database and share your expertise withe the EU and EaP stakeholders!

Join more than 200 members who have already registered.

Register here!

Opportunities

Call for Applications: 13th Economic Forum of Young Leaders

On 3-7 September, 350 young leaders from 35 countries will meet in Poland for the 13th Economic Forum of Young Leaders to debate on the future of Europe. Its main aim is to strengthen cross-sectoral cooperation among young leaders from programme and EECA countries and policy makers.

To participate in the Forum, please submit your online application by 18th July 2018.

Find more information and apply here
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Upcoming Events and Meetings

  • 16 July: Disinformation Resilience Index Brussels Launch Event
  • 16 July: OGP Global Summit (Tbilisi)
  • 17-18 July: EaP CSF Steering Committee meeting (Brussels)
  • 27-28 September: EaP Platform 4 – Make it Match thematic workshop (Dublin)
  • 27-28 September: Panel on Migration, Mobility and IBM (Odessa)

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Secretariat of the EaP CSF Steering Committee 

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Belgium