Brussels, 13 & 14 July 2022
Steering Committee Meeting
In July 2022, the EaP CSF Steering Committee met in person for the first time since the end of major COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Steering Committee members discussed the delegate selection process, conclusions of the Working Group meetings, and the future of the Eastern Partnership policy in light of the EU membership applications of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
The Steering Committee members discussed how the Forum should position itself vis-a-vis its role in terms of being an agenda setter, the EU candidate status, the future of the EaP policy and the role of Belarus in the EaP.
The members recognised that the EaP multilateral track gives EaP civil society more opportunities to be in contact with European Member States, than the bilateral track, which instead creates a direct contact with EU institutions only. The Forum should capitalise on this aspect, which is one of its distinctive features. Monitoring of how EaP countries’ governments are delivering on both tracks should be ensured. The multilateral and bilateral tracks need to feed each other: what is generated on the bilateral level needs to feed the multilateral one and vice versa.
The SC members agreed on revising the priorities of the WGs once more is known about the future of the EaP and the direction the policy will take, explaining the necessity of cooperation in addressing the issues of migration, displaced people, energy, trade, sanctions and Russian disinformation.
It was agreed that advocacy for EU enlargement in Western European countries and for more financial support to the EaP should both take place – particularly, ensuring that support to Ukraine comes on top of existing support, keeping the entire region in mind – should be considered advocacy priorities for the EaP CSF. Defining special measures for helping civil society in Azerbaijan and Belarus was also considered a priority.
Meeting participants also discussed membership engagement in the Forum and exchanged updates from each country.
Finally, the discussion moved on to the upcoming Annual Assembly, to take place in December 2022. Different ways to strengthen the impact of the event were discussed, including the facilitation of networking between members and stakeholders.
Read the complete meeting minutes here.