Around 40 young civil society activists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, selected for the EU-funded Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society Fellowship Initiative, met in Brussels on 2-3 July.
They shared experiences on how to better contribute to reforms in the region and increased their awareness of local civic activism as a major vehicle of needed changes in their communities.
The EaP Civil Society Fellows met with representatives of several Directorates-General of the European Commission to learn about their activities and the existing opportunities for citizens and youth in the region. They also exchanged views on a wide range of matters, including education and youth, digital innovation and transport, media and tackling disinformation. These discussions allowed young leaders from the six Eastern Partner countries to reflect on the most pressing issues their countries are facing and get a grasp of EU policymaking in action.
Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations underscored the unwavering commitment of the EU to support the development of stronger civil societies in the EaP countries: “The EU wants to deliver positive changes to ordinary citizens and injecting some dynamics into the EaP region.”
“It seeks to provide its support in the most transparent and efficient manner possible,” added Meredith. “Local civil society in general and the EaP Civil Society Fellows are crucial in this respect and we would hope that you can act as true ambassadors of EU values and EU agenda in the EaP region.”
The event is a part of the EU-funded project Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility – Regional Actions, aiming to strengthen and promote civil society’s role in reforms and democratic changes in the Eastern Partner countries. One of the project components is the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Fellowship Initiative, a selective leadership programme for young leaders, combining traditional capacity-building activities with more practical exercises aimed at assisting fellows in the development and final implementation of their own project contributing to improving the life of their communities.