Last week was held in Berlin s Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership. This is one of the building blocks euroallied initiative bringing together civil society representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and the 27-nation European Union. Today Belarusian participants of the event spoke about the benefits of such meetings.
According to the speaker the Berlin forum Sergei Mackiewicz, in the working groups discussed the issues most relevant to the development of the Eastern Partnership: administrative reform, economic integration and visa liberalization, human rights, alternative energy, environment, etc. Almost across the board the Belarusian delegation offered its own vision of the future, as reflected in the road maps:
"One of our goals — this is a forum to bring the idea of road maps. And it can be stated in more or less worked. Calling other words, the "matrix" and were supported by the European Commissioner, and other European officials. So I think that this is the direction perspective, which will be promoted not only at the level of civil society, but, of course, at the level of the European Commission. "
Belarus in Berlin reprezentavali 27 organizations, the vast majority of them — third sector organizations. Public interest is the official trade unions. With an unexpected side scored Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Leonid Kozik. While working in one of the thematic groups, the official made a political statement by the European authorities to take urgent Belarus into the European Union. However, according to the national coordinator of the forum Vlad Velichko, By the way, before the authorities were doing everything possible to push such prospects:
"We criticized the format of" Eastern Partnership "for the fact that at some point after the unwillingness of the Belarusian government sees civil society in the areas where there are the government, we actually were denied further communication. But it is clear that in the future, this situation can not continue, and we need to change the format. There is an understanding, I think, in the European Commission and experts. That is, most likely, we'll see some other form of participation of civil society in a dialogue with the government as part of this program. "
The policy of the Belarusian leadership has led to the fact that the citizens of the country were virtually cut off from the European public. One of the consequences of confrontation with the West — visa barriers. That is the question, says a representative of the international consortium "Euro-Belarusians" Tatiana Poshevalova, was raised during the joint discussion:
"You have to understand: the idea of road maps implies further steps. That is, this card is not only to civil society, but also for communication. Visa issue — one of the most relevant, although Belarus is here at all in the worst position, the Caucasus is much more serious difficulties in matters of visas. Therefore, there is a very big motivation to participate in this direction in all six countries. I also hope that over the next year will be declared a joint project to participate in the European research area. And, perhaps in the area of education, we also come to just such a model project. "
Another important area that can be implemented within the framework of the "Eastern Partnership" — energy and environmental projects. Says the head of the association "Eco-Home" Irina Sukhiy:
"The issue of waste is the same for all countries. Another important problem — climate change and measures to adapt to the new conditions, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. There were two papers on energy: one concerned the development of renewable energy sources, and the other to reduce losses from various energy projects — primarily pipeline, under construction, will be built or currently planned. These texts have not road maps, but they are very close to them in their structure. There's analysis of the situation is that what we want to achieve and specific recommendations. "
The next Civil Society Forum "Eastern Partnership" will be held next year in Poznan, Poland. Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Jeanne Litvin says that so far the Belarusian side to finally work out a joint position on the state's attempt to subdue the public sector:
"How to move, how to be heard, where to start? I have absolutely concrete proposal, in order to have something to Belarusian delegation to speak at the III Forum, I invite members of previous forum to ask the government that it has withdrawn its initiative to exclude civil society from the negotiations on the subject of intergovernmental platforms. Explain to them that it is very embarrassing. And if all the other countries, such collaboration is completely natural, the Belarusian government such steps shall not again "stand out." I am totally against the power of parallel vertical alignment of civil society. "
Third Civil Society Forum will be preceded by a summit of heads of member countries of "Eastern Partnership", to be held in May 2011 in Budapest.