Leading the Way Towards a Democratic European Future

The 10th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum was held. The peculiarity of this year's conference is the symbolic celebration of the 100th anniversary of the national independence of the five Eastern Partnership countries - Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, which in turn is a good reason for self-reflection and revaluation not only in matters relating to the Eastern partnership, but also the European Union, and in a wider context. This historic date is litmusing paper about systemic changes in the countries of Eastern Europe, which balance between democracy and authoritarian regimes. At the same time, one year before the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership Initiative, as well as mid-to-final (2020) implementation of the 20 expected achievements of the Eastern Partnership, this is an important opportunity for the European Union to seriously evaluate its own policies in the region.

The principles on which the Eastern Partnership is based remain relevant, with today's geopolitical challenges requiring more ambitious approaches and more active engagement of citizens in the protection of democratic rights and freedoms that the European Union supports and develops.

Together with civil society partners from the entire region, the Annual Assembly will seek answers to questions on how to ensure sustainable, democratic development and maintain EU support and vigilance in the region. Moreover, recent events have shown that there is a need for attracting citizens and confronting the revenge of authoritarianism - present in certain parts of the region. Participants in the Annual Assembly will learn more about advocacy strategies and the advocacy process, in order not only to maximize the pressure but also to get more involved in the process of policy formation and reform in their countries and abroad. In the context of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, the Annual Assembly will analyze how the historical experience of the countries of the initiative affects their political trajectories.

As part of Assembly, the interim results of the Social Partnership for Equality Lead Organization: NGO "Bureau of Social and Political Developments", Ukraine Partners: Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FTU) took place; Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (CFTU); National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova (CNSM); Research Intellectual Club "Dialogue of Generation" (RICDOG, Georgia); Armavir Development Center (AMDC, Armenia)

The main project purposes is  to ensure equality in labor relations, including in the context of gender,enhancing expert support for the implementation of gender plans, effective anti-discrimination monitoring and harmonization of the naional legislation according to the international and european standarts.

One of the objectives of the project was also to strengthen the dialogue between all actors in the field of equality and non-discrimination in the labor relations of the Eastern Partnership countries covered by the project (Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine). Representatives of government institutions, non-governmental organizations, scientific institutions and workers representatives were involved in the project activities. Within the framework of the project activities, a lot of attention was paid to finding a common vector for harmonization of legislation and the implementation of anti-discrimination norms.

In Ukraine, in order to strengthen the project's impact and expand its activities, “Bureau of Social and Political Developments” was invited to join the advisory group on Sustainable Development and Trade, which is both a promising advocacy tool and a dialogue tool with European counterparts from parallel group.

Approved recommendations and a proposal for an advocacy campaign from the International Confederation of Trade Unions and the European Trade Union Confederation were received.

In accordance with the Association Agreement, Ukraine has committed itself to adapting national legislation to EU standards and practices in the area of ​​employment, social policy and equal opportunities. It is civil society that seeks to ensure full synchronization of obsolete and conservative Ukrainian legislation to the European one, and thus to intensify European integration processes

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Bureau of social & political developments and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union

Науково-достідний інститут Unicef Європейський союз Civil Society Forum Карітас України international renaissance foundation Європейська соціальна мережа