Yerevan, 21 June 2019
Armenia: Civil Society Participation under CEPA
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Armenian National Platform “expresses deep concern with regard to the implementation of Article 366 of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement” (CEPA) between the EU and Armenia, pointing its failed attempts to “build mutual understanding and partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee” (EESC).
To much disappointment and regret, EaP CSF Armenian National Platform’s efforts to institutionalise civil society dialogue have been “ignored”, we read in this statement. CEPA Article 366 concerns the creation of a Civil Society Platform, similar to existing bilateral platforms in Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine. The envisaged Platform should “include civil society organisations, networks and platforms”, reads the original wording; the Article also explicitly mentions two civil society actors by name: EESC and the National Platform. Unfortunately, the task of setting up the new bilateral structures was “almost entirely delegated to EESC”, notes the statement. What is more, the selection has been far from transparent – with civil society on the ground having little or no oversight of the process.
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform considers this line of action as “non-compliant with the essential components of democratic principles”, outlined in the “crucial provisions of CEPA”. Seeing that the National Platform’s concerns have not been answered, it calls upon the external stakeholders: the European Commission, EEAS and the Government of Armenia to pay attention in ensuring that this problem is addressed in proper ways – in the name of making civil society participation more efficient, inclusive and transparent.