Day 1

25 October, Wednesday

 Day 1 will provide a framework for the whole event by focusing on how to capitalise on what civil society can offer in advancing the reform agenda and promoting good governance in the Eastern Partnership countries. It will start with a broader debate on the state of play in government-civil society cooperation and continue with a more focused discussion on cooperation in such key areas as trade policy, media and disinformation, and digital tools. Participants will offer ideas on how to advance the partnership between the governments and civil society, refining those ideas with concrete examples from the EaP and EU countries. Policy debates and formal “Experience Exchanges” within Working Groups will enable participants to work on specific means of clarifying and implementing the 20 Deliverables for 2020. They will also address recommendations to the Brussels Eastern Partnership Summit, stemming from the Civil Society Declaration, which will be officially adopted on Day 2.

08:00-9:00 Registration
09:00-9:10 Introduction by organisers
  • Jaan Reinhold, ‎Ambassador-at-Large for the Eastern Partnership and Director, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership
  • Hennadiy Maksak, Head, Ukrainian Prism, Co-Chair, EaP CSF Steering Committee
09:10-09.50 Opening speech by the President of Estonia KERSTI KALJULAID
09:50-11:00 Panel in plenary: Government-civil society relations in the EaP: progressing towards partnership?
The panel will explore the status quo of government-civil society relations in the Eastern Partnership countries. It will focus on how the multiple roles of civil society can be better supported by both partner country governments and the EU alike. It will also explore how the reforms to the EaP architecture and the concrete goals set forth in the 20 Deliverables for 2020 can be used more effectively to streamline the role of civil society in the EaP policy as a whole. Moreover, the need for governments to introduce practical cooperation structures with civil society to support the development of inclusive societies and encourage the sustainability of democratic reforms will be addressed. Finally, the panel will suggest criteria for mutually beneficial relations with civil society in order to assess the relative success of the EaP countries to date.


  • Jeff Lovitt, Chair, New Diplomacy
  • Hanna Hopko, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Verkhovna Rada
  • Alexandra Kalatozishvili, Multiethnic Resource Center for Civic Education Development, EaP CSF Steering Committee/ Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of EU Studies, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Georgia
  • Katarina Mathernová, Deputy Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission
  • Marian Lupu, Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly EURONEST (TBC)

Moderator: Urmo Kübar, Adviser on Civil Society, Office of the President of Estonia; former head of the Estonian Union of Non-Profit organisations; European Citizens’ Prize winner 2013

11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Parallel panels
The parallel panels will focus on the discussion of specific ways in which government-civil society cooperation can bring about synergies in key trade, media, and digital policy areas. Ideas from the Civil Society Declaration to the EaP Summit, to be adopted on Day 2, will be discussed and refined during each of the panels. Concrete examples from the EU and EaP countries will be raised in each of the areas covered by the panels in order to identify means to ensure that the partnership between governments and civil society will not only thrive, but will also promote significant reforms ultimately bringing tangible results to people.

  1. Prospects of Regional and Economic Integration in the EaP Countries

This panel will focus on economic development and integration of the countries within the EaP region. How do the bilateral agreements of the EaP countries with the EU contribute to regional economic integration? How does the interplay between the DCFTA countries and the Eurasian Economic Union shape the economic development of the region? What is the role of civil society in supporting economic integration and development in the EaP countries, as well as in helping to achieve the relevant goals from the 20 Deliverables for 2020?


  • Tsisnami Sabadze, Head of Economic Policy Department, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia
  • Iryna Tochitskaya, IPM, Belarus
  • Luc van Looveren, Flemish Chamber of Commerce
  • Guillaume Van der Loo, CEPS

Moderator: Kataryna Wolczuk, Professor, University of Birmingham

  1. Media and Disinformation in the EaP and the EU

This panel will focus on media quality, self-regulation of the media sector, and methods of confronting disinformation in shaping public opinion and fostering deliberative public discussion. It will also cover topics such as media literacy, as well as the role of and support for citizen media.  Which support do the independent media outlets need? What is the role of the public service broadcasters? What can the media communities in the EU and the EaP countries learn from each other in the field of confronting propaganda?


  • Anneli Kimber/Janis Rugulis, StratCom East Task Force, EEAS
  • Celia Davies, Strategy & Communications Manager, Meydan TV, Germany
  • Raul Rebane, independent media & communications expert
  • Andriy Kulakov, Program Director, Internews Ukraine

Moderator: Boris Navasardian, President, Yerevan Press Club, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Armenia 

  1. Digital Tools for Democratic Governance

This panel will focus on the use of digital tools in involving communities and civil society organisations into decision-making and developing ideas for policy improvements. It will cover the benefits and setbacks countries have faced when using digital participatory tools, including participatory budgeting, citizen engagement portals, and online services. How can governments and civil society organizations best ensure that rural communities and other groups with less access to digital tools are not further marginalized by the increased use of digital participatory tools? Is there any fundamental tension between respecting the privacy and data rights of citizens using digital tools while also promoting transparency and openness? Have there been any difficulties in establishing the rules of expression on participatory platforms? Are governments and civil society organizations overly dependent on commercial digital infrastructure, or have they been able to work harmoniously with the private sector in driving innovation forward?


  • David Marghania, EBRD/UNCITRAL Public Procurement Initiative
  • Elchin Huseynli, Deputy Director, State Agency for Service and Social Innovation, Azerbaijan (TBC)
  • Teele Pehk, CEO, Estonian Cooperation Initiative
  • Liia Hanni, Estonian e-Governance Academy

Moderator: Hille Hinsberg, Expert, Praxis

  1. Taking Government-Civil Society Relations Forward

The panel will focus on cooperation models and involvement practices that have been successful in the EaP countries. It will identify ways to overcome obstacles to regular and beneficial dialogue between the public sector and civil society while also determining how to build legitimate networks and coalitions for partnering with governments. How can trust be built among CSOs and governments? How can one ensure that civil society’s voice is heard and its expertise taken into account in policymaking? How can the CSO-government partnership be improved? What else can civil society do to deliver results for ordinary people—whether by itself or in partnership with other actors?


  • Julia Ivahina, National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Ukraine
  • Giorgi Klidiashvili, Open Government Partnership
  • Beata Jaczewska, Visegrad Fund, Director (TBC)
  • Maria Golubeva, Independent expert, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Latvia

Moderator: Maris Jõgeva, Executive Director, Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organisations

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-15:30 Policy Debates and Experience Exchange within Working Groups (WGs)
The sessions will focus on some of the cross-cutting deliverables (gender equality) and priority areas  (SMEs development, energy efficiency, environment, youth empowerment and labor migration) of the 20 Deliverables for 2020, while continuing to reflect on the recommendations included in the Civil Society Declaration to the upcoming EaP Summit. The sessions will advance policy debate in the relevant areas through briefly discussing the results of relevant EaP CSF regranting projects and Estonian CSOs’ field experience. Together with the speakers and moderators, all participants will develop a set of recommendations on the topics.

1. Mainstreaming gender in the EaP and the EU

How does the lack of gender equality legislation hinder the protection and promotion of human rights? How does the civil society mainstream gender within its own platforms and bodies? How can the civil society contribute to the preparation and implementation of the Gender Action Plans in the EaP countries in the best way?

  • Svetlana Karaleva, Chair, BOWW, Belarus
  • Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Centre (ENUT)

Moderator: Haykuhi Harutyunyan, President, Protection of Rights without Borders, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Armenia

Rapporteur: Maria Golubeva, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Latvia

2. SMEs – How to Benefit from Access to the EU Single Market?

How to prepare EaP SMEs for the challenges of the EU Single Market? How can experience-sharing with the EU member states contribute to this process? How can the civil society facilitate and assist the strengthening of the SMEs in the region?

  • Nino Elizbarashvili, President, Association of Women in Business, Georgia
  • Ludmila Stuparu, Program Coordinator, Center for Innovation and Policies, Moldova
  • EVEA (Estonian SME Association)

Moderator: Yurii Vdovenko, Head of the Board, The Center for Cross-Border Cooperation, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Ukraine

Rapporteur: Dovile Sukyte, Acting Director, Eastern Europe Studies Centre, Co-Chair, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Lithuania

3. Effectively Monitoring Energy Regulators/Smart Waste Management

To what extent the membership/candidate status in the Energy Community, and Association Agreements have contributed to the design and establishment of well-functioning energy regulators in the EaP countries? How can the watchdogging experience of the EU civil society in the field of governance and performance of energy regulators be replicated in the EaP countries? How can the implementation of the new laws on waste management under the Association Agreements reduce negative environmental impact of households?

  • Otilia Nuțu, Energy Watchdog Coalition
  • Estonian Environmental Law Center (EELC) (tbc)

Moderator:  TBD

  • Oleksandra Gumeniuk, Good Deeds, Ukraine
  • Estonian Environmental Law Center (tbc)

Moderator and Rapporteur: Ina Coșeru, National Environmental Center, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Moldova

4. Youth empowerment – encouraging civic activism and youth mobility

How to encourage civic activism among young people in the countries with security risks for the activists? How to ensure that the youth is well informed about the mobility opportunities provided by the EU? How to better engage the disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in the existing and future programmes and initiatives?

  • Grigor Yeritsyan, Armenian Progressive Youth
  • Estonian National Youth Council (ENL) or Estonian LEADER Union

Moderator: Mariia Symonova, MITLA Agency of Changes (CleanUniversities anti-corruption campaign)

Rapporteur: Nikolai Kvantaliani, Association “New Group”, Belarus

5. How the social dialogue contributes to optimizing labour migration?

What is the background of the problem of labour migration in the region? How do state authorities both of the EU and EaP countries tackle it? To what extent are the trade unions in the EaP countries included/excluded to/from the dialogue on labour migration?

  • Siarhei Antusevich, Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions
  • Dzmitry Babicki, CASE Belarus
  • Estonian Trade Union Confederation (tbc)

Moderator: Goda Neverauskaitė, European Trade Union Confederation

Rapporteur: Laura Ernšteina, European Economic and Social Committee, External Relations Secretariat (REX) (tbc)

15:30-16:00 Election of WG Coordinators (only for the EaP CSF members)
16:00-18:00 EaP CSF Working Groups’ meetings (mandatory for EaP CSF members)
The goal of the parallel sessions moderated by the outgoing and incoming WG Coordinators is for each WG or subgroup to develop its Annual Action Plan for 2018. The session will start with a short presentation on the modalities of operation of WGs (PPP and guidance for WG operations). The AA Plan based on the provided template will detail how the group will be involved in the implementation of the 20 Deliverables for 2020, participation in EaP Platforms and panels, and participation in the EaP CSF re-granting scheme; it will also set out advocacy priorities while determining the objectives for its annual meeting.

16:00-18:00 Side event: The Development of the Estonian Opinion Festival: Mobilizing Civil Society to Participate Actively in Decision-Making (for non-EaP CSF members)
How can one develop a culture of forming and expressing opinions on important matters in society, engaging people in the key debates taking place in their societies? How can citizens be inspired to take responsibility for decision-making in their communities and in their countries? An example of best practices in responding to these questions is one of the biggest civil society initiatives in Estonia – the Opinion Festival (Arvamusfestival). It is a meeting place for the entire community that provides a space for different political views. Its mission is to improve opinion culture and civic education. The festival is open to all active-minded people interested in discussing issues of importance to all of society. Uniting groups from all parts of society, the Opinion Festival is a place to express one’s thoughts on the organisation of society while gaining fresh ideas and new insights.
18:30-21:00 Dinner and networking