The EESC's activities concerning Eastern Neighbours involve Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The main objective of the EESC with regard to the European Eastern Neighbours is to enhance relations with civil society organisations in the region and to involve them in a dialogue with both their national policy makers and the EU organised civil society.
The main cooperation mechanisms with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are the Civil Society Platforms (tag to all three) which complement the political bodies existing within the framework of the EU Association Agreements with these countries. The Platforms allow civil society organisations from both the EU and the partner country side to monitor the implementation process and prepare their recommendations to the relevant authorities.
On the EU side, these Platforms comprise members of the EESC as well as representatives from large European civil society networks. On the partner country side, they represent a broad spectrum of civil society organizations. The membership of the Platforms is based on balanced representation of all interest groups (employers' organizations, trade unions and various interests' groups).
Within the EESC, the Eastern Neighbours Follow-up Committee was established in 2004 as a dedicated body responsible for relations with civil society in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries. The Follow-up Committee usually meets four times a year and its members take active part in the Eastern Partnership activities such as EaP multilateral platforms and the EaP Civil Society Forum.
The Neighbourhood policy is high on the agenda of the EESC's external relations priorities. This opinion will provide the contribution of the Committee to this consultation process as a first step, to be followed by a reaction to the Commission document that will be issued in the 2nd semester of 2015.
The recent flow of disinformation in Europe, following the crisis in Ukraine, has underlined the need to consider the influence it has on social and political processes in the EU and the Eastern neighbouring countries. The impact caused by disinformation is often underestimated, as heavily funded disinformation is being spread not only via media, but also through cultural channels and public figures; its presence is strong and influential in the lives of European citizens, especially in Eastern Europe.
The opinion will look at the issues related to economic, social, environmental and human dimensions of the growing use of the Arctic wealth, potential role of the civil society in voicing the interests of the groups involved as well as in supporting the position of the EU in the dialogue with international partners concerned.
L'avis se penchera sur les questions relatives aux dimensions économique, sociale, environnementale et humaine du caractère croissant de l'utilisation des richesses de l'Arctique, et sur le rôle potentiel de la société civile pour exprimer les intérêts des groupes concernés ainsi que pour soutenir la position de l'UE dans le cadre du dialogue avec les partenaires internationaux concernés.
The objective of the own-initiative opinion is to analyse the state of affairs of civil society in Russia and to elaborate recommendations on how the EU and EU civil society organization can contribute for improving the working conditions for civil society organizations in Russia and for the strengthening of genuine civil and social dialogue.