Brussels, 16 September 2021
Senior Officials Meeting: Speech by Sofia Strive, Co-chair of the EaP CSF Steering Committee
In light of the Eastern Partnership Senior Officials Meeting 2021, Sofia Strive, representing the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), addressed current challenges in the EaP region that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, political crises and shrinking civic space.
In her speech, EaP CSF Steering Committee Co-chair Sofia Strive underlined the importance for the 6th EaP Summit in December to send a strong message regarding the recent challenges. Notably, the Summit should reflect the EU’s intention to assist in leveraging the EaP countries’ economic power and to collaborate jointly in addressing the global challenges arising from the climate crisis as well as the implications of using new digital technologies.
First, Strive highlighted civil society’s concerns about the vaccination process in the EaP countries which is lagging behind, and urged the EU to increase the speed and availability of vaccines so that at least 70% of the EaP population gets vaccinated.
Furthermore, she addressed the new agenda formulated in the JSWD regarding frameworks to support the development of SMEs and investment in green and digital transformation. Strive also stressed that more accountability is needed from the EaP countries for delivering on the objective of supporting civil society. It would be efficient to link the progress in this area to economic benefits offered by the new agenda.
The EaP CSF would like to see a more comprehensive implementation of human rights, the rule of law, and democratic accountability in the new policy agenda. Moreover, it is imperative to involve civil society in the implementation and monitoring of the new agenda and JSWD.
Lastly, the speech sheds light on the significance of including Belarusian civil society and non-state actors in the Eastern Partnership, considering the self-exclusion of the Belarusian government.
Available for download
Speech delivered at Eastern Partnership Senior Official (SOM) meeting, by Co-chair of the EaP CSF Steering Committee Sofia Strive