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EPD is co-organising the annual Václav Havel European Dialogue Conference for the third year running. This year, the conference will centre on the Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and the challenges to civil society in this region. The conference will continue a debate about Europe and contribute to a discussion in the context of European Neighbourhood Policy Review, especially with a focus to the importance of the engagement of civil society for democracy.

An active and self-confident civil society is one of the crucial prerequisites for any functioning democracy. Whereas in some states of the Eastern Partnership civil society is an important part of the reform efforts, in other countries it is perceived as a problematic by the government. This situation is being influenced by developments in Russia, where we witness steps aimed at limiting the freedoms and independence of civil society. At the same time, Russia herself is facing many external and internal challenges and threats, engages in military action against Ukraine and her activities challenge European security and our values of democracy, pluralism and the right to make foreign policy choices. Civil society is an important part of EU Neighbourhood Policy. The conference will aim to answer the following questions: What are the tendencies for civil society Eastern Partnership countries? What are Eastern partnership countries’ needs and expectations from the EU and the Eastern Partnership? What should be the EU´s role vis-à-vis civil society in Eastern partnership countries? Is EU engagement efficient? What is the role of the EU, when faced with assertive Russian policies towards its neighbours?

To read the full programme and to register for the event, click here.

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