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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article13 December 2018Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Celebrating 10 years of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Tbilisi

Hosted by the Georgian Parliament, the 10th Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place on 10-12 December in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Civil Society Forum in Tbilisi

Hosted by the Georgian Parliament, the 10th Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place on 10-12 December in Tbilisi, Georgia. The three day event, entitled “Leading the Way Towards a Democratic European Future” focused on how to further sustainable, democratic development and support European Union’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership policy initiative and on civil society's contribution to better governance in these countries.

This edition of the Forum brought together civil society representatives from across the region, Foreign Ministers from Armenia, Georgia, Belarus and Lithuania, and European Commission Director for Eastern Neighbourhood, Mr Lawrence Meredith, to support the Eastern Partnership and civil society's role in achieving its objective.

Civil Society Forum in Tbilisi

Since structured dialogue with civil society came on the agenda of international donors (2004) few organisations were able to reach a comparable level of institutionalisation of as the EU has in its Eastern Neighbourhood, through the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. Ten years ago, the EU had the ambition to set up a genuine dialogue with civil society within the Eastern Partnership – a regional policy that was also only at the beginning. Since then, with the many spaces that the EU and partner governments have opened for civil society, the Forum has transformed the Eastern Partnership in a truly unique model of governance when it comes to civil society participation.

Civil Society Forum in Tbilisi

Like any institutionalisation, the Forum is finding its own path . A major reform of decision making and selection of civil society representatives was adopted this year. The Forum brings together approximately 800 organisations from the Eastern Partnership and the European Union, and it sets itself up for the sum of both criticism and encouragement that its individual members receive. The recently adopted reform is meant to expand he membership base and give a fresh start to the Forum's leadership. Expectations are high that measures taken now will secure further credibility of the Forum on the long run.

For more information: http://eap-csf.eu/

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