Many challenges of EU Eastern Partnership

Comperio, Ltd, experts Gunta Misāne and Inese Bērs, took part in the EU Eastern Partnership Civil society and Business forums in Riga, May 20-21, 2015. While meeting partners from Eastern Partnership countries, listening to different opinions expressed by the participants of both events, several conclusions and views could be drawn:

– Eastern Partnership is a priority only for Eastern European countries, as witnessed by the lack of representatives from Western European civil society organisations and business during the events.

– A feeling of tiredness of Eastern Partnership countries from the consultants from EU countries telling them how to deal with their problems was clearly noticeable. We remember this feeling from the pre-EU accession period in Latvia as well. We tolerated these consultants if a hope of real finances for real projects, real processes was expected to come with them. We believe – there are many knowledgeable experts in Eastern Partnership countries, who know better, what has to be done in their own countries.

– A view expressed by a NGO representative from an Eastern Partnership country stuck in the mind: better or at least any feedback from the consultants would be highly appreciated instead of regular inquiries, interviews, information requests from their side and lack of any feedback on the results and conclusions drawn by the consultants after the meetings.

– Representatives of EU donors’ pointed out as one of the problems the incoherence of the donor programmes. The same problem was present during pre-accession period of Latvia, but it was not an obstacle to use all available funds. Maybe total centralisation of funds is not that necessary?

– Listening to the views expressed during Business forum, one conclusion could be drawn – after all everything comes back to the fact, that we are interested to do business together instead of making politics.

– Unifying element of both events was the view, that when thinking about the future – we need to address youth, and, for the business and civil society a visa free regime between EU and Eastern Partnership countries is crucial.

We were very pleased learning the fact that our Moldovan partners, we implemented a really small project together already five years ago, are still benefitting from partnerships created during their study visit to Latvia. Since that time they have established co-operation with more tangible results for the regional development of Moldova.