RESILIENT CIVIL SOCIETY FOR A MORE AMBITIOUS EASTERN PARTNERSHIP
On December 5, 6 and 7 a representative from the East Bridges Foundation attended the 14th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Prague. This forum is in place to ensure and enable a platform for a strong and independent civil society, democracy and European integration in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The theme of this year's assembly was "Resilient Civil Society for a More Ambitious Eastern Partnership" and it was centered around the Russian aggression in the war on Ukraine.
The opening of the forum took place in the Czech Parliament, where deputy foreign minister of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Kurfüst spoke on the challenges for civil society during these difficult times of conflict for the countries in the Eastern Partnership. He also handed out the Civil Society Award 2022 to the Ukrainian National Platform. The second day of the Assembly was the start of the substantive meeting. The event provided three panel debates, which hosted various representatives of civil society organizations from the six countries of the Eastern Partnership and in addition a representative from a European Union institution as well. The first panel debate discussed: A stronger Eastern Partnership that Withstands War and was very much focused on the War in Ukraine and how (Ukrainian) civil society has a role in this war. The panelists touched upon the different ambitions that the countries in the partnership have towards the EU, while they do face similar challenges. Some panelists, as well as participants of the assembly pointed out that the focus of the war in Ukraine tends to overshadow large conflicts and problems that other countries in the partnership go through, such as the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.