Unique in its size and audience, the 15th EaP CSF Annual Assembly will bring together more than 250 representatives from civil society organisations from the EaP and the EU, as well as EaP and EU decision-makers to discuss the future shape of Eastern Partnership multilateral cooperation, the role of civil society and how to ensure its future resilience.

During the event, participants will assess the changes that have occurred within the Eastern Partnership policy and the region following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Specifically, they will focus on exploring synergies between the Eastern Partnership policy and the enlargement agenda, as well as enhancing cooperation with the Western Balkans and Central Asia. The assembly will delve into the collaboration between the EU, EU Member States, Eastern Partnership governments, and societies, with a particular emphasis on the vital area of good governance and the rule of law. Additionally, discussions will revolve around creating an enabling environment for civil society. Cyber-attacks and hybrid threats will also be key topics, addressing how the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries can strengthen one another through closer cooperation.

14 November 2023

Day 1 – Working Group meetings (Delegates Only)

10:00 – 11:30 - Parallel Workshops within each Working group

The EaP policy is now in a transition phase and in many ways at a crossroad: partners are becoming more diverse in their ambitions vis-a-vis the EU and more tense in the relations between each other. At the same time, the region continues facing a number of shared challenges and goals: virtually all countries suffer hard and soft security threats if not outward attacks from Russia; EU candidate status and European perspective united Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in a common path; civil society in Belarus and Azerbaijan face different but comparable challenges, and civil society in Georgia is facing further repression.

In this challenging and continuously evolving context, civil society must continue playing a key role in being involved at all stages of decision-making where possible, engaging in constructive discussions, ensuring government accountability and inclusive reform processes. When faced with repression and crackdowns, civil society must be able to count on steady support and resources to continue operating and championing democratic values and reform, resisting authoritarianism.

11:30 – 12:30 - Plenary meeting

Patricia Scherer, Annual Assembly Moderator, facilitates a discussion during which WG coordinator rapporteur from previous session share the outcome of their discussions with the wider group of delegates.

12:30 – 14:00 - Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 - Inter WG Workshops
14:00 – 16:00 - Ballroom B - Inter WG Workshop 1 - Regional Cooperation

The EaP policy has become more multi-speed. Different ambitions, and tensions across the region, but also shared goals and challenges. What projects can effectively foster regional cooperation (e.g. in the energy, infrastructure, culture, and education domains)? How can the obstacles standing in the way of more effective cooperation be addressed and mitigated? What low-hanging fruits are here to catch in the cooperation with WBs and Central Asia?

Q1 As the EaP region becomes more multi-speed, with partners having different ambitions, what areas remain most relevant to foster regional cooperation? 

Q2 What stands in the way of closer regional cooperation and how can the obstacles be addressed and mitigated?  

Q3 How can EaP countries (government and civil society) learn and benefit the most from cooperation with Western Balkans?  

Q4: How can EaP countries (government and civil society) benefit the most from cooperation with and Central Asia?  

Q5: What role does civil society play in promoting policy alignment for regional cooperation? 


Short introductory input, station host and main rapporteur: Pavel Havlíček, WG1 EU coordinator, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

14:00 – 16:00 - Belvedere Room - Inter WG Workshop 2 - Enabling Environment for Civil Society

Civil society faces a very diverse set of challenges in the EaP region. From the Georgian government’s effort to stifle the space for civil society to the existential threats posed by the regimes in Belarus and Azerbaijan, civil society can never take for granted the space it has and needs constant support to continue to exist and to successfully contribute to democratic processes. How does civil society assess the situation in their own country? What challenges does it face and how can civil society be supported?

Q1 How does civil society assess the situation in their own country?  

Q2 What challenges does it face? 

Q3 How can civil society be supported?  

Q4 How can EU / EU MS support the civil society in EaP? 

Q5 What lessons learnt can be shared among the EaP countries? 

Short introductory input, station host and main rapporteur: Shahla Ismayil, National Facilitator for Azerbaijan, Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

14:00 – 16:00 - Empire Room - Inter WG Workshop 3 - Rule of Law and Resisting Authoritarianism

All EaP countries are threatened by authoritarian regimes, either foreign ones, like in the case of Russia, or internal ones, like in the case of Belarus and Azerbaijan. Democratic regimes themselves are not immune to occasional or at times systematic authoritarian tendencies and practices. How can the Eastern Partnership more effectively address the direct threats that authoritarianism poses to EaP countries?

Q1 How can the Eastern Partnership more effectively address the direct threats that authoritarianism poses to EaP countries? 

Q2 How can civil society address the direct threats that authoritarianism poses to EaP countries? 

Q3 How can civil society contribute to promoting rule of law? 

Q4 What EU / EU MS can do to support civil society in resisting authoritarianism? 

Q5 What lessons learnt can be shared among the EaP countries? 

Short introductory input, station host and main rapporteur: Olena Pavlenko, WG3 EaP Coordinator, Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

14:00 – 16:00 - Bellevue Room - Inter WG Workshop 4 - European Values

Disinformation, authoritarian threat and the threat posed by war pose a challenge to European values and their further development and rooting in EaP societies.

Q1 How can the EaP CSF members further strengthen European values in the EaP region?  

Q2 What obstacles exist in its Europeanisation process? 

Q3 How can these obstacles be addressed?  

Q4 What successful initiatives should be supported to effectively promote European values among the population at large?  

Q5 What lessons learnt can be shared among the EaP countries? 

Short introductory input, station host and main rapporteur:   Ana Otilia Nuțu, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Romania

16:00 – 16:30 - Coffee Break
16:30 – 17:30 - Plenary Meeting

Day 1 – Annual Assembly

18:00 – 18:30 - Plenary Room - Welcome remarks

Welcome remarks by:

Patricia Scherer, Event Host 

– Ana Otilia Nuțu, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

– Malgorzata Łatkiewicz-Pawlak, EaP Ambassador, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

18:30 – 19:00 - Plenary Room - Keynote Speeches
  • Kanstantsin Staradubets, Coordinator, Viasna
  • Oleksandra Matviichuk, Chairwoman, Center for Civil Liberties (live video address)
19:00 – 19:30 - Plenary Room - EaP CSF Civil Society Award ceremony

The EaP CSF Civil Society Award is an honorary award for civil society organisations and activists that recognises leadership and achievements in upholding EU fundamental values and principles in the EaP region. 

  • Ana Otilia Nuțu and Irina Sukhy, Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 
  • Ruslan Havryliuk, National Facilitator, EaP CSF Ukrainian National Platform, Marina Gutgarts, Yaroslav Minkin
  • Awardee 2023
19:30 – 21:00 - Networking reception

15 November 2023

Day 2

09:30 - 09:40 - Plenary Room - Introduction to the Annual Assembly
09:40 - 10:00 - Plenary Room - Welcome Remarks
  • Ana Otilia Nuțu, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
  • Wojciech Gerwel, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland
10:00 - 10:30 - Plenary Room - Opening speeches


  • Maia Sandu, President, Republic of Moldova (video address)
  • Ararat Mirzoyan, Foreign Minister, Republic of Armenia
  • Joseph Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European External Action Service (video address)
  • Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, European Commission (video address)
10:30 - 12:30 - Plenary Room; Panel Debate: Quo vadis Eastern Partnership?

Since the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) has entered a new phase. The region has become more multi-speed than ever before, encompassing both countries on a steady path towards EU enlargement and countries not actively seeking strong integration with the EU. How can the Eastern Partnership policy simultaneously support the enlargement process and the prosperity and democratisation of the EaP region? How can partnering with local civil society and democratic forces bolster the fight against authoritarianism, which poses a threat to our shared right to peace?


  • Dirk Schuebel, Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, European External Action Service (EEAS) 
  • Hennadiy Maksak, Executive Director, UA PRISM (TBC) 
  • Daniela Morari, Ambassador and Head of Mission of the Republic of Moldova to the European Union 
  • Valery Kavaleuski, Representative for Foreign Affairs of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus 

Moderator: Pavel Havlíček, WG1 EU coordinator, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum; Research Fellow, Association for International Affairs (AMO) 

12:30 - 14:00 - Networking lunch
14:00 - 15:30 - Plenary Room; Panel Debate: Beyond the numbers, behind the bars - The situation of the political prisoners in the EaP countries - An EaP Index 2023 perspective

We say their names and call for their release. Ales Bialiatski, Andrei Chapiuk, Uladzimir Labkovich, Valiantsin Stefanovich, Marfa Rabkova, Nasta Loika, Maria Kalesnikava, Gubad Ibadoglu, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, and thousands of others are sitting behind bars in Belarus and Azerbaijan convicted on politically motivated charges. Among them we find EaP CSF members, friends of the Forum, human rights defenders, journalists, peaceful protesters, writers, activists, and political opposition; all of them share a different vision for their country and stand up for it against all odds.

The EaP Index 2023 Edition honours the names of all political prisoners in the EaP countries through several of its chapters ranging from human rights protection mechanisms to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of assembly and association. Scores showing that Belarus and Azerbaijan perform the least in these areas out of the six EaP countries tell the story of abuse, SLAPP suits, poor detention conditions, torture, lack of democratic rights and rule of law. The other EaP countries, although performing better, are not sheltered from democratic backsliding, and the imminence of political imprisonment affecting civil society.

The Panel will discuss how the EaP Index 2023 assesses the legal framework and rule of law in EaP countries with a particular focus on political imprisonment and specific policy recommendations on how to tackle it in the region.

In light of the findings from the EaP Index 2023, what role does the European Union play in supporting civil society actors at risk of repression and arbitrary detention in EaP countries? In the face of growing repression, how can civil society organisations in the EaP region enhance their resilience and continue their advocacy efforts? What international/ EU support mechanisms can civil society actors use to withstand government pressure? How can the EU balance its engagement with EaP governments while advocating for human rights and calling for political prisoner release? How can national public defenders play a more effective role in safeguarding the rights of political prisoners and ensuring due process? What new tools for collaboration, partnership and engagement should civil society organisations use to amplify their efforts, and monitor and advocate effectively for the release of political prisoners?


  • Anar Mammadli, Chairman, Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center 
  • Enira Bronitskaya, Human Rights Defender, Human Constanta 
  • Ucha Nanuashvili, Former Ombudsman, Georgia 
  • Empty chair symbolising all political prisoners. 

Moderator: Alexandra Sabou, Advocacy and EaP Index Manager, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

15:30 - 16:00 - Networking break
16:00 - 17:30 - Parallel thematic workshops

All workshop discussions are held under Chatham House rule

16:00 - 17:30 - Bellevue Room - Workshop 1 - Stimulating Regional Cooperation and Integration in a multi-speed context

The Eastern Partnership architecture is strongly dependent on the quality and number of regional cooperation cases on all levels: state-to-state, economy, civil society, education, etc. The role of the EaP was not only to promote stronger cooperation between the six countries with the EU but also to stimulate regional cooperation and partnership within the EaP. In this regard, the civil society and the CSF in particular can act as a driving force to promote various cooperation processes within the region.

Another important component of the workshop is the context of cooperation and integration with the EU from both a country perspective and a regional perspective. There have been many discussions on how the sharing of experience of cooperation with the EU can help partners in their work replicate success and avoid mistakes. These discussions shall be shaped in the form of recommendations and particular actions.

During the workshop, the participants will be offered to propose approaches and ideas in the mentioned direction. Cooperation scenarios and particular project proposals can be envisioned as the results of the workshop.


  • Dirk Schuebel, Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, European External Action Service (EEAS) 
  • Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of EU Studies Center, Rondeli Foundation 
  • Ivan Kultchinsky  
  • Gayane Abrahamyan  

Moderator: Pavel Havlíček, WG1 EU coordinator, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum; Research Fellow, Association for International Affairs (AMO)

16:00 - 17:30 - Belvedere Room - Workshop 2 - Promoting democratisation and resisting authoritarianism

One of the major issues in the EaP relates to security which is not only an interstate issue but is also actively stimulated by anti-democratic and authoritarian forces within the countries. The cooperation between authoritarian forces with each other is taking place simultaneously with the cooperation of democratic forces with each other and unfortunately sometimes even more effectively. In this regard, joint efforts are needed to address the threats to democratic processes going on in all EaP countries in this or that format. In the EaP some countries have governments that illustrate their commitment to democratic reforms, however, the flow of events illustrates that these commitments are not always sustainable. The efforts of civil society and international partners are required to ensure sustainability and avoid throwbacks. In countries where the society is under authoritarian rule, there is a stronger need for protecting the rights of the people and steps are needed to prevent authoritarian consolidations and cooperation.

The workshop aims to come up with suggestions on sustaining democratic processes and fighting authoritarianism on country and regional levels.


  • Ahmad Alili, Director of the Caucasus Policy Analysis Centre (CPAC) 
  • Lasha Tugushi, Director, Liberal Academy Tbilisi 
  • Maksym Pazniakou 

Moderator: Olena Pavlenko, Working Group 3 EaP Coordinator, Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

16:00 - 17:30 - Ballroom B - Workshop 3 - Effectively supporting Civil Society Engagement and Enabling Environment

The level of engagement and overall operational environment of the civil society in the EaP vary significantly from country to country. However, even in cases where civil society has a strong record of engagement and participation in the decision-making process, monitoring the reform implementation and other relevant processes, the situation may change drastically. Civil society organisations in Georgia, Moldova and Armenia have significant challenges despite the declared openness of the respective governments for cooperation. The civil society in Ukraine needs special support, repressions in Belarus are unprecedented and the space for civil society in Azerbaijan is more and more shrinking with fewer opportunities for effective operation. Many organisations and civil society actors from Azerbaijan and Belarus are either detained or in exile.

The workshop will discuss the opportunities for civil society and actions needed to improve the enabling environment for civil society to operate effectively. How can cooperation within the EaP support this process? What scenarios can be developed to support the civil society in exile and civil society in conflict? How can the participatory tools be strengthened and sustained?


  • David Cullen, Head of Unit for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus & Eastern Partnership Coordination, Neighbourhood East and Institution Building, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), European Commission  
  • Liliana Palihovici, President, Institutum Virtutes Civilis 
  • Lousineh Hakobyan, Co-Chair of the EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform, Europe in Law Associations.  
  • Olga Smolianko, Director, Legal Transformation Center (Lawtred) 

Moderator: Shahla Ismayil, National Country Facilitator, Azerbaijan National Platform (AzNP), Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

17:30 - 18:00 - Inauguration of the gallery walk “Letters to the resistance: standing in solidarity with political prisoners in the Eastern Partnership Region”

Including the inauguration of an area honouring political prisoners, with a special focus on imprisoned Forum members.

16 November 2023

Day 3 

09:30 - 11:00 - Parallel country sessions
09:30 - 11:00 - Belvedere Room - Armenia - Armenia’s foreign policy recalibration

Since the 2020 war in Nagorno Karabakh, Armenians have been questioned more insistently their multi-vector foreign policy, with growing voices asking for a clearer pro-Western and pro-European stance combined with termination of ongoing membership in the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Area and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) military alliance. Civil society has been actively advocating for stronger Euro-Atlantic integration and while recent government statements point to the wish of closer Association, challenges persist.  

Can a new agreement for deeper EU integration and alignment be considered? What challenges are Russia and other authoritarian neighbours posing to Armenia as it strives for independence and European integration and how can they be addressed?  


Mikayel Hovhannisyan – Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Republic of Armenia  

Tigran Balayan – Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia  

Lasha Tugushi, Director, Liberal Academy of Tbilisi

Sossi Tatikyan,Expert in foreign policy and security governance


Hovsep Khurshudyan – “Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives Support Centre, Republic of Armenia 

09:30 - 11:00 - Empire Room - Azerbaijan (only for members of the AzNP) - Mapping the path: EU-Azerbaijan Relations in the New Eastern Partnership Policy Azerbaijan’s Role in the future Eastern Partnership

The session aims to discuss recent and future developments in EU-Azerbaijani relations in the context of the new Eastern Partnership policy. The increasingly different format of bilateral relations between the EaP countries and the EU calls for an update – or even an upgrade – of the EU’s approach in its framework strategies towards each of these countries. How will Azerbaijan position itself within the new Eastern Partnership policy? What elements have been absent in EU-Azerbaijan relations that have held the country back in the neighbourhood? What challenges and prospects lie ahead for advancing the Euro-integration process in Azerbaijan? Can the revised EaP policy bring about different strategies or actions?


  • Ahmad Alili, Director, Caucasus Policy Analysis Centre (CPAC) 
  • Ziya Guliyev, Working Group 1 Coordinator, Azerbaijan National Platform (AzNP), Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum; Member of the Board of Directors, The Law Society of Azerbaijan 

Moderator: Shahla Ismayil, National Country Facilitator, Azerbaijan National Platform (AzNP), Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 


09:30 - 11:00 - Ballroom B - Belarus - Navigating Challenges in supporting Belarusian civil society

Amid the intricate EU-Eastern Partnership landscape, Belarus presents distinctive and pressing challenges, particularly concerning civil society and political repressions. Belarusians are experiencing isolation and discrimination and bearing profound personal costs if advocating for pro-European ideals. Renewed, specialised strategies are needed to examine these complexities in-depth and enhance EU policy effectiveness. How can Belarusian democratic forces participate in the Eastern Partnership, considering the government’s suspension of involvement? How can the EU and Eastern Partnership promote better integration and address the isolation and discrimination faced by Belarusians? In what ways can political prisoners and individuals who are facing severe penalties for championing human rights and democratic values be effectively supported? What specialised strategies can be advised to enhance EU policy effectiveness towards Belarus, including specific protocols for assistance to address security risks faced by Belarusian NGOs operating within the country?


  • Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga, Head of Division, EURCA 5, European External Action Service  
  • David Cullen, Head of Unit for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus & Eastern Partnership Coordination, Neighbourhood East and Institution Building, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), European Commission 
  • Valery Kavaleuski, Representative for Foreign Affairs of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus 
  • Tatiana Poshevalova, Working Group 4 EaP Coordinator, Member of the Steering Committee, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum; Chairwoman, Eurobelarus    

Moderator: Nikolai Kvantaliani  


09:30 - 11:00 - Bellevue Room - Ensuring an integrated, human-rights based approach to EaP countries’ labour migration: the role of civil society organisations (panel organised by members, Russian with English interpretation)

Session organised jointly by EaP CSF Members from Working Group 2 – Economic Integration and Conversion with EU policies.

Migrant workers contribute to growth and development in their countries of destination, while countries of origin greatly benefit from their remittances and the skills acquired during their migration experience. Yet, the migration process implies complex challenges in terms of governance, migrant workers’ protection, migration and development linkages, and international cooperation. EaP countries face a host of different challenges when it comes to migration and its management:  imbalance caused by internal and external migration in the labour market in Azerbaijan, issues faced by Ukrainian refugees with temporary protection status, uncertainty regarding the possible direction of Belarus’ migration policy just to name a few. CSOs have an important role to play in this sector. How does migration affect the balance of labour resources in the EaP and EU countries and their level of (un)employment? How can CSOs interact with the relevant authorities to solve the challenges arising from internal and external migration? What role are CSOs playing in the integration of migrants in their new countries?


  • Natallia Harbuz, National Coordinator PPD Network Consortium, Belarus 
  • Ilgar Huseynli, President, Social Strategic Research and Analytical Investigations Public Union, Azerbaijan   
  • Tetiana Kotenko, Head, Strategy of the Future, Head of National Contact Point Horizon Europe EIC (online), Ukraine 
  • Irina Putkaradze, Public Advocacy Representative, National Coordinator for WG5 of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Georgia 
  • Christian Gessl, President, Public Association BUSINES COUNCIL-CEE, Moldova 

Moderator: Nino Elizbarashvili, Georgian Association “Women in Business” Representative, Coordinator for WG2 of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Georgia 

11:00 - 11:30 - Networking break
11:30 - 13:00 - (11:05 - 12:35 for Moldova) - Parallel country sessions
11:05 - 12:35 - Belvedere Room - Moldova- The role of civil society in the European integration process: Insights from Moldova

Civil society plays a crucial role in anchoring Moldova’s European integration aspirations. Engaged with policymakers, civil servants, and society at large, civil society organisations are key actors in demanding government accountability, championing and safeguarding democratic values and mediating communication between parties. What specific challenges hinder civil society’s effectiveness in Moldova’s European integration? What innovative approaches can be employed to empower civil society and increase its impact on the integration process? How can collaborative efforts among civil society, governmental bodies, and international partners be optimised to strengthen civil society’s role in Moldova’s European integration?


  • Daniela Morari, Ambassador and Head of Mission of the Republic of Moldova to the European Union  
  • Liliana Palihovici, President, Institutum Virtutes Civilis 
  • Iulian Groza, Executive Director, Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) 
  • Ina Coseru, Deputy, Parliament of the Republic of Moldova (online) 

Moderator: Adrian Lupușor, National Country Facilitator, Moldova National Platform, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

11:30 - 13:00 - Empire Room - Georgia- Georgia's path towards European integration: how to enhance the speed and effectiveness of reforms to secure the country’s democratic, European future

The EU’s granting of the European perspective to Georgia opened both historical opportunities and challenges for the country, in times made particularly difficult by Russia’s occupation of Georgian territories as well as its aggressive war in Ukraine.

In this dynamic political process, the EU emphasised the importance for Georgia to prioritise the internal consolidation of the country, as this is seen as a prerequisite for the implementation of important reforms. The country is currently grappling with intense political polarisation, affecting not only relations between political parties but also creating divisions between the ruling party, opposition media, and civil society organisations. The country has seen unprecedented street protests against the Parliament’s proposed “Transparency of Foreign Influence” law, which many in society view as detrimental to Georgia’s European aspirations and the European development of the state.

Implementation around the 12 priorities defined by the European Commission is still in progress and requires careful evaluation. In this context, it becomes more urgent to identify ways to enhance the speed and effectiveness of reform-oriented actions to secure Georgia’s democratic, European future. How can reforms in the key areas of judiciary, depolarisation, de-oligarchisation, and elections receive stronger impetus? What are the prospects for Georgia’s development and for the country to eventually join the European Union in view of geo-political, geo-economic, democratic development, and other factors?


  • Diana Jabłońska , Head of Unit, DG NEAR, European Commission  
  • Bidzina Javakhishvili, Deputy Head of the Mission of Georgia to the European Union    
  • Nona Kurdovanidze, Chairwoman, GYLA

Moderator: Natia Kuprashvili, National Country Facilitator, Georgia National Platform (GNP), Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

11:30 - 13:00 - Bellevue Room - Ukraine- European Green Deal and Post-war Reconstruction of Ukraine: Towards Energy and Environmental Security in the Eastern Partnership Region

Ukraine has embarked on a crucial journey of post-war reconstruction and recovery, with a clear vision supported by international partners, including the European Union. This vision is firmly rooted in green principles, aiming to bolster energy and environmental security, facilitate decarbonization, and foster a sustainable, eco-friendly transformation. This green transformation holds not only profound significance for Ukraine but also for the entire Eastern Partnership (EaP) region, given the increasing urgency of energy and environmental security issues on the political agenda. These issues are pivotal for maintaining security, stability, and peace across the region. In connection to this, the European Green Deal (EGD), in both its external dimension and its influence on the decarbonization and climate neutrality policies of EU member states, has the potential to exert a significant impact on fortifying the energy and environmental security of the EaP region. How can we ensure that Ukraine’s reconstruction adheres to the principles of decarbonization, climate neutrality, and environmental protection? What are the far-reaching consequences of Russian aggression on energy and environmental security within the region? Is there a need to transform the European Green Deal itself so that it reflects the current challenges in terms of energy and environmental security? What measures, within the framework of the EGD, need to be strengthened to have a positive impact on the region of the EaP in the context of energy and environmental security?

Opening remarks: Stanislav Linchevsky, Policy Advisor, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS)


  • Petra Gombalova Kyslingerova, Head of Division, European External Action Service (EEAS)  
  • Marcus Lippold, Team Leader Energy, Environment, Climate & Green Deal, Ukraine Service, DG NEAR, European Commission
  • Adam Cwetsch, Head of European Green Deal Unit, Energy Community Secretariat  
  • Olena Pavlenko, President, Dixi Group; Member of the Steering Committee, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum 

Moderator: Nataliya Andrusevych, Chair of the Governing Board, Resource and Analysis Center “Society and Environment” 

11:30 - 13:00 - Ballroom B - SHAPEDEM-EU: EU’s Democracy Support in the Eastern Partnership: how to strike balance for sustainable civil society engagement?

Building on the research objectives of the SHAPEDEM-EU project, this panel debate will look deeper into the EU’s democracy support in the EaP countries from a civil society standpoint and discuss the need for achieving a sustainable civil society ecosystem in the region. Is the EU civil society support flexible to accommodate far-reaching changes that the civil society in the EaP is undergoing? As new forms of activism emerge in a digital age, is the EU up to date with the needs of the civil society on the ground? Have the EU’s external financing instruments facilitated the inclusion of CSOs in line with the principle of multi-actor partnerships? Do the policies and practices of funders, including multilateral donors, foundations, and governments prioritise the long-term sustainability of CSOs? How do we make the needed change happen?


  • Richard Youngs, Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Europe 
  • Marta Udina, Head of Unit Directorate for Democracy Support, European Parliament  
  • Pavla Stefanova, Deputy Regional Director – Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans, People in Need 
  • Fabian Schoppner, Researcher (SHAPEDEM-EU), Justus-Liebig-University Giessen 

Moderator: Nona Mikhelidze, Senior Fellow, Instituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) 

13:00 - 14:00 - Networking lunch
14:00 - 15:30 - Parallel Sessions

The EaP CSF offers members and partners the opportunity discuss matters of interests for civil society providing the space for independently-organised sessions within the context of its Annual Assembly.

14:00 - 15:30 - Empire Room - Parallel Session: Elevate your civic ambitions and advocacy with an open government toolbox

Are you seeking inspiration, tools and frameworks to better advance open government reforms in your community? This interactive workshop/information session will bring you a slate of tools that help you do just that: get to know OGP’s OpenGov Guide – a go-to resource for reformers both outside and inside of government for recommendations, examples, and good practices -; the Open Government Challenge – a competitive framework aiming to improve ambition across key areas such as anti-corruption, civic space, public participation and inclusion – and the Broken Links data explorer – a tool to compare and improve your country’s performance in crucial open data areas. Join this workshop and bring your own experiences and advocacy goals, to see how we can make our communities stronger, more open, participatory, inclusive, and accountable!

Peter Varga, Lead – Eastern Partnership / EU for Integrity at the Open Government Partnership 

14:00 - 15:30 - Belvedere Room - Parallel Session: The EaP Civic Tracker: two years in turmoil

In December 2023, the EU and partner countries will mark the second year since the last proposed outline for the Eastern Partnership policy. The Declaration of the EaP Summit in December 2021 proposed new key priorities for the policy in the upcoming years. Full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine has stalled the normal flow of the EaP program. Both European institutions and member states at this moment are still in the midst of the journey to find new objectives and relevant toolkit for the policy.

During these two years, a think tank consortium led by Ukrainian Prism with the support of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum has been monitoring the EaP policy implementation in each partner state. The annual report of the project presents an assessment of the situation on the ground in five partner states and takes into consideration the state of play with Belarusian civil society. Country reports contain descriptions along with five priorities and look for the dynamics since the baseline report presented at the EaP SCF Annual Assembly in Prague in December 2022.

The session will reflect on the EaP policy achievements and backtrack in the past two years, including the assessment made in the report. But also will try to take a look at the future of the EaP, areas of cooperation where regional approach might bring added value.


  • Petra Gombalova Kyslingerova, Head of Division Ukraine, European External Action Service (EEAS) 
  • Irakli Porchkhidze, GISS – The Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies (Georgia) 
  • Natalia Sterkul, Foreign Policy Association of Moldova (Moldova) 
  • Boris Navasardian, Yerevan Press Club (Armenia)  
  • Vladzimir Astapenka, Head of the Mission of Democratic Belarus in Brussels (Belarus) 
  • Nigar Islamli, Center for Economic and Social Development (Azerbaijan) 

Moderator: Hennadiy Maksak, Executive Director, Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”  

14:00 - 15:30 - Bellevue Room - Parallel Session: Information Security’s New Frontier: Stopping Disinformation

Session organised by EaP CSF Member organisation Digital Skills Coalition (Belarus)

In the digital age, where information warfare endangers both individuals and entire regions, the role of information security in combating disinformation is vital. This roundtable discussion will delve into current challenges and potential solutions for countering state-sponsored disinformation and intimidation, particularly those affecting the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region and the EU.

The event focuses on the surge of digital authoritarianism, which employs modern technology for control rather than freedom. It will explore the consequences of disinformation and intimidation tactics used by authoritarian regimes within and beyond the EaP, destabilizing both regional and EU security.

Key Questions:  

  • How is information security evolving to counter state-sponsored disinformation? 
  • What information security tools can effectively counter authoritarian tactics? 
  • How can civil society organizations and governmental institutions build information security resilience against digital intimidation and disinformation?


  • Nouneh Sarkissian, Managing Director of Media Initiatives Center 
  • Adam Lelonek, Regional Coordinator for CEE, IRI Beacon Project  
  • Olga Chyzhova, Chairperson of Ukrainian Prism Brussels Office 
  • Martyna Bildziukiewicz, Head of East Stratcom Task Force, European External Action Service  
  • Mikhail Doroshevich, Digital Skills Coalition Belarus (BIPI)  

Moderator: Mikalai Kvantaliani, Digital Skills Coalition Belarus 

14:00 - 15:30 - Ballroom B - Parallel Session: How to get Ukraine, Moldova (and Georgia) closer to the EU? Experience from Western Balkans and the CEE

Session organised by EaP CSF Member AMO (Czech Republic)

While Ukraine and Moldova have joined the enlargement track only recently, the Western Balkans have been on the path towards the EU for many years with both some good and bad results achieved. At the same time, the CEE EU countries have been members of the Union for many years, but also with some mixed results and regression as part of their reform and transformational agenda.

What is the experience and expertise that Ukraine, Moldova and potentially Georgia should learn from and how to make sure they succeed taking into consideration the sluggish progress of enlargement in recent years? What changes will the EU need to take in order to make space for new members?


  • Tamara Katuščák, Deputy Ambassador at COPS, Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union
  •  Western Balkans representative (TBC)
  • Liubov Akulenko – Executive Director and Co-founder of Ukrainian centre for European policy (UCEP)
  • Lasha Tugushi – Director at Liberal Academy Tbilisi Foundation (LAT)
  • Kalman Mizsei, former EU ambassador to the Republic of Moldova
  • Mila Sirychenko, Policy Officer, WWF Central Eastern Europe (online)
  • Blerta Hoxha, Programme Officer, Regional Europe Programme, International IDEA (online)

Moderator: Pavel Havlíček, Research Fellow at the Association for International Affairs

15:30 - 16:00 - Coffee break
16:00 - 16:45 - Plenary Room - Next steps: General Assembly resolution presentation and voting

Delegates will vote on the Annual Assembly resolution.

16:45 - 17:20 - Plenary Room - Closing session and General Assembly resolution discussion

Speakers will receive the recommendations in the resolution and participants will reflect on the main messages of the Annual Assembly 2023. Debate with the audience. 

17:20 - 17:30 - Plenary Room - Closing remarks

We would like to express our gratitude to our partners and donors for their contribution to our Annual Assembly. The content of this event is the sole responsibility of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.

Contact us

Pascal Willaumez

Governance and Membership Manager
Email: pascal.willaumez@eap-csf.eu
Tel: +32 2 893 25 86