Is there a role for CONCORD members to support civil society in Ukraine?

Is there a role for CONCORD members to support civil society in Ukraine?
Yes, and many of our members are already involved in the country, according to an interactive online talk held on 18 March 2014 which saw the participation of many CONCORD members from Central and Eastern Europe. Over 20 people joined in to watch, give their voice and send in their views.
The view from Ukraine
Speaking during the talk, Oleksandr Sushko, a civil society representative from Ukraine, said that the European Union should increase its efforts to help support Ukrainian civil society and have a more ambitious strategy towards the country. Among a number of calls, he said that the EU should look to offer visa free travel for Ukrainian citizens.
Oleksandr also felt that the EU had underestimated the challenges of establishing an Association Agreement with Ukraine, which resulted in the process being undermined.
Civil society support from neighboring countries
Many NGOs from nearby countries have established support programmes with Ukraine.
Janek Bazyl, Director of CONCORD member Grupa Zagranica from Poland, said that Polish NGOs deal with some 50 projects per year. He also encouraged CONCORD to push the EU to support independent media, anti-corruption measures and local government in Ukraine.
Other participants echoed these calls, and also encouraged the EU to support efforts to protect minorities in Ukraine and consider the impact of the private sector in the country.
CONCORD’s role – the EPAN working group
Antonella Valmorbida, new chair of the Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN) working group, said that a more strategic collaboration is needed with the Eastern Partnership amongst others.
The group will continue to follow the situation in Ukraine, and look to raise the issues of visa-free travel, outreach to Ukrainian civil society, focus on minority issues, fighting corruption and local government support.
Watch the full video here: