In 2009 the EU launched the Eastern Partnership (EaP) encompassing the six Eastern countries Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. What is the EU’s policy towards minorities in these countries? Did minorities and indigenous peoples have a say in the political dialogue with the EU? Have they benefited from the main EU financial instruments? MRG’s policy paper ‘Partnership for all? Impact of Eastern Partnership on minorities’ investigates this and much more.
The policy paper is based on desk and field research carried out in 2013-2014. Members of ethnic/religious communities were canvassed for their views, perception of the EU, and views on better participation in EaP. Interviews were also carried out with policy makers and expert observers.
The paper provides a presentation of the EU’s engagement with countries of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus and introduces the political framework, its bilateral and multilateral dimensions and objectives and programmes of the EaP, especially those supporting civil society involvement and roles.
It provides a short profile on minorities in the six EaP countries and offers an analysis of the inclusion of minority rights in the EaP policy processes, including the consideration of minorities in the objective setting of the various policy documents, such as ENP Action Plans, Visa Liberalization Action Plans and the 2013 Vilnius Summit Roadmap. The paper assesses the inclusion of minorities in the EU financial instruments available to EaP countries. Furthermore, it looks at the inclusion of minority CSOs in available grant programmes including the Civil Society Facility and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Finally, the policy paper examines the inclusion of minority CSOs in the Civil Society Forum (CSF) and the National Platforms set up by the EaP as distinctive mechanisms to ensure civil society participation in EaP processes.