The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) has welcomed the release of the EU’s Joint Staff Working Document (JSWD), ‘Recovery, resilience and reform: post 2020 Eastern Partnership priorities’, but warned the priorities might lack balance between supporting economic recovery and democratic development in the wake of the pandemic.
In a position paper, the EaP CSF outlines civil society’s recommendations on several issues within the post-2020 priorities “that deserve further reflection from the European Union in order to set out a convincing, definitive and ambitious plan to chart an unambiguous course of action for recovery that also delivers on the political promises of the joint initiative”.
The CSF said the post-2020 priorities were illustrative of the EU’s commitment to contribute to the reform and recovery of the Eastern Partnership region. “However, due to the challenging circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the previously existing social, economic and political problems of the EaP region have worsened, with apparent democratic regression also in play,” and the the EaP CSF fears the the priorities might not meet expectations and lack a balance between supporting economic recovery and democratic development.
It added that the EU’s ‘Top Ten Targets’ lacked “a clear vision as to how these targets and flagship initiatives would narrow or eventually eliminate the gap between the EU and the EaP region in the future”.
The EaP CSF said it was prepared to play a leading role in shaping, implementing and monitoring the JSWD and the outcomes of the EaP Summit, including the Top Ten Targets, and would continue to provide expert analysis, input and feedback as the reform processes in the Eastern neighbourhood progress.
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