Local leaders outline how to make a success of the Eastern Partnership
With the next European Union-Eastern Partnership (EU-EaP) Summit just around the corner, PLATFORMA in cooperation with the Lithuanian Association of Local Authorities (ALAL) organised a multi-institutional interactive seminar on 3 February.
This seminar gathered a very broad range of speakers and participants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, local elected representatives and officials from the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, South-East Europe (NALAS) and Ukraine.
Launched in 2009, the Eastern Partnership is a joint initiative with six countries from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) aiming to strengthen and deepen the political and economic relations between the EU, its Member States and the partner countries, and support sustainable reform processes in partner countries.
As Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR, underlined in his opening, PLATFORMA and CEMR consider local public administration and decentralisation reforms in Eastern Partnership countries to be an important precondition for democratisation. It is also crucial to strengthening the role of local governments as policymakers and decision-makers through their national associations.
The seminar aimed to give visibility to local authorities and highlight the local dimension in EaP policy, as well as to connect participants from EU and EaP countries.
A foreign policy priority
Jonas Daniliauskas, Special Coordinator for Eastern Partnership at the ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, said that the future of the Eastern Partnership is a Lithuanian foreign policy priority. According to him, the future EaP should focus on territorial integrity and long-term objectives, including increasing competences of local governments, encouraging decentralisation, local democracy and dealing with global challenges such as climate change and COVID-19 with responses at all levels.
Jonas Daniliauskas @LithuaniaMFA adds that #EaP is also about "more #EU in #EaP countries": more dialogue, more investments, more benefits for citizens!— PLATFORMA (@Platforma4Dev) February 3, 2021
EaP should not only be understood and implemented in capitals but also regions & #localgov #EaPlocal pic.twitter.com/LxyyZFfSO8
Local officials and elected representatives from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine shared the priorities and goals they would like to focus on in the future with their EU peers.
During this interactive discussion, they also agreed to provide a set of recommendations for the next EU-EaP Summit, which will take place in 2021 and will give a mandate to develop a new set of tangible deliverables for the post 2020 EaP policy.
As Marlène Siméon, Director of PLATFORMA, said in her closing statement, PLATFORMA will publish recommendations and will disseminate it with among the EU institutions, for the common purpose of “mutually shaping the EU-EaP agendas of local and regional governments!”
Follow the conversation on twitter with #EaPlocal