One year after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are still at a critical juncture for the future of the European Union and democracy globally. The Russian regime’s war of aggression shows that authoritarian rule is a global security problem for states, businesses and people everywhere. Democracy support needs to be a European strategic priority.
In March 2022, EPD and its members released a set of actionable recommendations calling on EU institutions and European governments to respond to the crisis with a democracy-focused approach in the short term, while developing a far more strategic approach to supporting democracy globally in the long term.
Below we provide an overview of the tireless efforts of our members to advance democracy, peace and well-being in Ukraine and for Ukrainians for the past year.
- Published a statement condemning the illegal invasion of Ukraine and supporting its people;
- Presented 10 recommendations for a European response to the invasion of Ukraine with a democracy-focused approach;
- Amplifying the voice of and collaborating closely with member organisations and other civil society organisations working on Ukraine;
- A signatory of the #GlobalDemocracyCoalition statement in support of Ukraine and its people; and
- Co-drafted and co-signed a joint letter to President Von der Leyen, demanding the European Commission and Council to not compromise on the rule of law and human rights when it comes to releasing recovery funding to Poland and Hungary.
- Raised 50,000€ for humanitarian relief and emergency support;
- Supports civil society through local democracy agencies in Dnipro and Mariupol;
- Organised a in June 2022 a conference in Brussels to identify potential partners for opening new Democracy Agencies in Ukraine in Bucha, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Vinnytsia;
- Organised a conference in Wroclaw (Poland) in November 2022 to showcase its best practices in supporting Ukraine and mobilise more stakeholders for future actions;
- Participates in the Committee of the Regions’ ‘European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the reconstruction of Ukraine‘, and several other EU-level bodies such as the CoR’s working group on Ukraine; and
- Organised a visit in Kyiv between 14-17 of February 2023 to meet local stakeholders, assess their needs and plan future support actions together.
CFI media development
- Within the framework of the project Yak Vdoma, CFI is providing shelter to 11 Ukrainian journalists exiled in Romania with their families by offering them material, financial, logistical and psychosocial support, as well as training and an environment in which these journalists can work;
- Currently implementing the project MediaFit, which aims to improve information integrity in Ukraine and the resilience of the Ukrainian media in this context, especially in the southern and eastern regions. CFI supports the UA:PBC, the national public broadcaster of Ukraine, so that it can continue producing independent high-quality programmes providing Ukrainians with better access to relevant and reliable information; and
- Has a specific facebook page in Ukrainian language to ensure quality content for the Ukrainian audience.
Club de Madrid
- Strongly condemned the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine and called on President Putin to pull back from the abyss;
- Published an article supporting China’s position in facilitating the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine;
- Published a statement urging dialogue and diplomacy to solve the conflict and ensure peace and security in the region;
- Together with EPD members, presented 10 recommendations for a European response to the invasion of Ukraine with a democracy-focused approach;
- Released a podcast with the reflections of Alexander Stubb – former Prime Minister of Finland and Mircea Geoanã – Deputy Secretary-General of NATO – on the effects on topics such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022;
- Published a statement condemning the Russian Decision on the annexation of Ukrainian territory; and
- Divulged a video calling on the end of the war in Ukraine and the restoration of its territorial integrity, while enabling its economic and social reconstruction.
Democracy Reporting International
- Solidarity actions – Helped evacuate contacts, resettled our staff, and travelled to Kyiv to meet with partners (including a field visit to Bucha at the request of Parliamentary leadership);
- Fostered discussions on democracy during war, including a conference in Kyiv with local partners: ‘’Preserving and Developing Ukraine’s Democracy: Current and the Future Challenges of Democratic Transformation’’;
- Numerous op-eds and social media commentaries giving further profile to the Ukrainian cause and bringing to light the less obvious critical issues related to the invasion, negotiations, the rule of law in Ukraine, Russia’s sanctions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8;
- Key scenarios paper of the impact of the war on global democracy efforts;
- Ongoing analysis of Ukrainian and Russian war-related discourse on social media;
- Joint research with a local partner (Vox Ukraine) on Russian disinformation narratives, as well as “astroturfing” efforts on Telegram, and international campaign and training for local and international journalists on findings;
- A week-long symposium with Verfassungsblog on the impact of the war on the rule of law in both Ukraine and the EU;
- Providing analysis and input into Germany’s updating of its security policy with greater emphasis on democracy;
- A scoping study on democratic consideration in the foreign and security policies of 13 EU and other countries, launched with the participation of the Swedish democracy ambassador; and
- Publication on how Russian disinformation efforts on Ukraine fit into the overall global picture of cutting-edge tools, tactics and narratives.
- Runs a project to educate refugee women from Ukraine living in Berlin on the German political system and integrate them in political participation opportunities; and
- Networking events to exchange ideas and plan joint initiatives between Germany and Ukraine beyond the duration of the project mentioned above.
- Organised the 17th annual conference of Kyiv Dialogue in October 2022 in Berlin, dedicated to recent developments in German-Ukrainian relations;
- Policy Paper: “Tensions, expectations and ways to strengthen German-Ukrainian relations“; and
- Discussions about “Myths and Facts about the Russian war in Ukraine and public debate in Germany” in Dresden and Leipzig.
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
- Continued support to Ukrainian human rights defenders and their organisations, including for supporting their work on collecting evidence of war crimes, through flexible grants. In total they have supported 21 organisations;
- Continued flexible emergency support for human rights organisations to cover extra costs that occurred as a result of the war, such as loss of equipment, protection gear and medical costs. In total, they were able to provide this emergency support for 13 organisations;
- Amplifying the voices of Ukrainian human rights defenders in the Netherlands and internationally;
- Supported the development of an app to support accessible mental health care for Ukrainians (already been viewed by 14 million people); and
- Continued to work with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and probation service to help them with justice reforms and setting up an effective probation. They stressed that we should not wait for the war to be over before continuing with the justice reform agenda, the momentum for reforms is now.
People in Need
- Direct humanitarian aid as a response to the war;
- Provided immediate support to three Ukrainian coalitions documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity with the aim of bringing their perpetrators to justice. This trio monitors violations of humanitarian law and human rights with a special focus on vulnerable groups (children, seniors, minorities, women, etc.). In addition to collecting witness and victim testimonies, they focus on securing forensic evidence, producing expertly documented material for national and international institutions, and providing legal and psychological support to victims;
- Financially supported 10 Ukrainian media outlets, including four well-known independent news and investigative portals and six smaller regional media outlets. These actors are providing crucial practical information through a variety of formats, including print, to key local audiences.They face a multitude of issues including the collapse of the advertising market, the need for alternative sources of electricity and heating, in some cases the need to relocate to more secure premises and replace lost or damaged equipment, and the psychological strain of working under war conditions or directly in the war zones;
- Organised 14 psychosocial rehabilitation stays in safe locations in Ukraine for civil society organisations and media, benefiting more than 300 beneficiaries. In addition, we supported two organisations providing free psychological support to affected communities to train psychologists in the area of war trauma, and two LGBTQ+ organisations to support those in need;
- Provided individual psychological support to more than sixty journalists and human rights defenders, each of whom has received an average of 10 hours of counseling;
- Provided emergency financial support to individual human rights activists, journalists, bloggers and lawyers to be able to continue their work; and
- Assisted with relocation of several dozen foreign activists who had fled to Ukraine to escape the oppression in their own countries and would be at risk of ill treatment if captured by the occupying forces.
Kofi Annan Foundation
- Participated in consultations and key-policy discussions on Ukraine, including as a speaker in the International Expert Conference on the Recovery, Reconstruction and Modernization of Ukraine, convened by the EU and the G7, in the ‘‘Institutional Transformation, Good Governance and Inclusiveness’’ session; and
- Contributed to a series of consultations led by young Ukrainians in the fall of 2022 on new priorities for the country’s National Youth Plan. Currently, the Kofi Annan Foundation is discussing a research and policy project with a youth-led Ukrainian NGO to increase youth participation in the recovery and rebuilding process, through a) the identification of the key issues affecting young Ukrainian Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and refugees and b) exploring possible solutions that would inspire youth to come back and be involved in the rebuilding process.
Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD)
Keeps collaborating with the Ukrainian Parliament within the framework of Rada Next Generation Programme (RANG):
- Developed a common understanding of Code of Conduct (CoC) and ethics standards utilising best international practices and expertise;
- Developed a blended learning programme on legislative processes for MPs and parliamentary staff to increase their awareness of legislative procedures and best international practices;
- Developed a curriculum and training materials on a full policy cycle for the VRU;
- Developed an overview of best international experiences of Post-Legislative Scrutiny (PLS);
- Produced research on the best practices of parliamentary legislative drafting and law drafting;
- Supported PLS inquiries of three parliamentary committees;
- Supported setting up a Parliamentary Research Service (PRS) by developing a comparative research on other research services in other parliaments;
- Support with thematic networking;
- Mentors and provides expert support to the VRU three committees when it comes to analysing draft legislation in areas of social policy, energy safety and devolution; and
- Facilitates consultations between parliamentary committees and relevant GOU branches and developed a research on best international practices on how to engage government branches into the work of committees.