Chisinau to host forum of Eastern Partnership civil society

The 5th forum of the civil societies of the Eastern Partnership member countries will be held in Chisinau on October 4-5. The event will gather nearly 200 representatives of civil society organizations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the European Union.

The future of the Eastern Partnership Program and development of the region as a whole will be presented by EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maya Panjikidze, Co-Chair of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Boris Tarasiuk, and other. Forum participants will discuss partnership achievements and the role played by civil society in the strengthening of cooperation between the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries.

Infotag’s dossier: The Eastern Partnership Initiative, put forward by Poland and Sweden in the spring of 2008, stipulates the European Union’s approximation with the Eastern neighbors – Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorsky then called it «a practical and ideological continuation of the EU European Neighborhood Policy».

Launched in full in May 2009 upon its signing by the countries concerned, the Eastern Partnership Program focuses on the following three main directions: creation of a free trade zone, preparation for the introduction of a visa-free regime at traveling to European states, and linking the Program countries to the European energy system.

The participation in the Program does not guarantee an automatic admittance to the European Union – it only presupposes a political and economic rapprochement to it.

The Eastern Partnership Program has a budget of some 600 million euros. By year 2014, approximately 350 million euros is going to be used for multilateral projects, 175 million euros – for reforms in the countries concerned, and 75 million euros – for regional development projects.

Adapted from Infotag