25-27 May 2021, Brussels

Working Group 1 online meeting

This year’s meeting of Working Group 1 – Democracy, human rights, good governance and stability – was held online between 25 – 27 May 2021. In total, eight online sessions were organised, including three policy debates on human rights and security, EaP policy as a priority for the EU and EaP governments, and on the continuation of the reform processes in the EaP countries. Selected EU stakeholders and external experts were invited to these debates to share their ideas and to discuss policy developments and the participation of civil society in addressing current challenges.

Working Group 1 (WG1) meeting offered space for relevant policy updates, trends and challenges in the EaP countries pertinent to the work of WG1. Overall, WG1 representatives identified serious challenges in the area of judiciary reform implementation in all EaP countries, as well as worsening situations in the human and civil rights areas with governments not adhering fully to their commitments often on the pretext of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges to human security in relation to conflicts have also been raised repeatedly.

During the policy debate on human rights and security, Mathie Bousquet (DG NEAR) mentioned that a strong and independent civil society will continue to be critical in ensuring effective reforms, accountability and advancing human rights, and the EU will keep supporting civil society. Iulian Groza (IPRE Moldova) highlighted that EaP countries also have to continue the reform agenda on issues like human rights, corruption and justice reform, and these reforms have to be properly monitored and there have to be effective instruments to discourage abuses by governments.

Anna Westerholm, ambassador for the Eastern Partnership, Sweden, raised that the EaP is more than a project: it is a policy that brings us together – “the engagement with civil society has changed over time, we consider you experts now, not only watchdogs.” Petra Gombalova Kyslingerova (EEAS) mentioned that there is a lot of pressure on the region and the EU needs to make sure the EaP delivers concrete results. The key theme of the upcoming EaP summit, which will take place at the end of this year, follows the 3R: recovery, resilience, reforms, but key choices will be done by partners.

Read the full report of the meeting here.

Available for download

  • Online Meeting Report: EaP CSF WG1 Democracy, human rights, good governance and stability, 25 – 27 May 2021.