Euronest: Strengthening ties with civil society in Eastern Partnership countries
Friday, April 13The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Social Affairs, Education, Culture and Civil Society convened in Baku last week, for only the second time outside EU borders.
"The meeting in Baku represented a new step in getting closer to civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries," said Laima Andrikiene MEP, Co-Chair of the Social Affairs Committee. "Progress on democratic reforms, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially the freedom of expression and assembly, were all addressed."
Andrikiene said they had had a timely and comprehensive exchange of views with Azeri NGOs. "The Committee was open to all who wished to express their views. They highlighted concrete concerns with regard to the registration of international NGOs according to the NGO law as amended in 2009, with the case of the Azerbaijan Human Rights House, which was ordered to cease its activities and has not been allowed to reopen yet, as well as with the Azerbaijan de facto ban on peaceful assemblies since early 2006."
A press release from the EPP group in the European Parliament said the Committee had reached consensus on different issues, and its very first report on 'Strengthening the role of civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries, including the question of cooperation between government and civil society, and the question of reforms aimed at empowerment of civil society' had been adopted unanimously. (ENPI Info Centre)