News & Events

Ukraine: Completion of Interactive Round Tables for Initiating Dialogue

In the framework of our project Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP), four interactive round tables have taken place in Ukraine between December 2019 and May 2020. Each of them covered one topic, which is relevant for the regional EU association: food safety, waste management, green economy and promotion of innovation. The round tables contributed to a dialogue and cooperation between Ukrainian civil society, business and public administration, but also included the interested public. All events encompassed both a seminar and a public panel discussion. The activities in the South and North of Ukraine took place locally whereas the ones in Western and Eastern Ukraine took place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first of the four round tables was organised in Odessa and dealt with the introduction of comprehensive food control in Southern Ukraine according to consistent international standards. The centrally discussed question was if the state or businesses should take on the responsibility of food inspections.

The second round table focused on sustainable regional development and waste management in Northern Ukraine. In the morning, the participants of the seminar had the possibility to get a practical insight into waste avoidance and recycling strategies of a local company whereas the afternoon provided space for informal exchanges in small groups on central problems and possible solutions for 2020. It was underlined how important the development of effective regional implementation plans for waste management will be.

The third round table dealt with green economy approaches in Western Ukraine (Lviv) and took place digitally. Representatives of science, politics and local businesses with sustainable concepts for success were invited as technical experts.

In May 2020, the fourth round table on the topic of promotion of innovation and export in Eastern Ukraine (Dnipro) also took place digitally. In addition to academic experts, a local businessman from Kamianske was willing to share his experiences in the areas of export and innovation with the audience. The event contributed to do away with myths concerning export economy and innovation.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change makers from Ukraine. CiSEP creates a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions of the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the aim to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

The interactive round tables were organized in cooperation with our local partners Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development (Odessa), Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Chernihiv), Civil Network Opora (Lviv), and the NGO “Public Chamber of Ukraine“ (Dnipro).

CiSEP is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Final workshop of the project incubator on Ukrainian EU association completed – project groups are ready to implement!

In order to ensure and strengthen civil society participation in the Ukrainian EU association process, the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) has developed a ‘Civic School for Sound EU Practice’ (CiSEP), a training programme that trains representatives of civil society organizations in EU association issues as multipliers and critical voices within the reform and monitoring process.

In October 2019, the project incubator started as part of the latest CiSEP project phase with the aim of supporting alumni in developing and implementing promising project ideas. For six months, the CiSEP project incubator guided alumni project groups step by step on their way from the first idea to a final concept and action plan. The training series, which took place in October 2019 in Chernihiv and in December 2019 and March 2020 in Odessa, lasting three consecutive days each, thematically linked previous trainings.

Five project groups had been selected for the incubator – all of them working on highly relevant and diverse EU association topics, ranging from food safety, data protection, and intellectual property, to regional and sustainable community development. During the workshops the project groups received expert input on central aspects of project management. This guided them through the whole process of project development – from the first idea to a well-planned project ready for implementation. In addition, they received tailored advice regarding the specificities of their projects at all stages of their work. Most importantly, the workshops also provided the groups with the opportunity to work together in a face-to-face setting, giving their often dispersed living members time and space to concentrate on their projects while at the same time being in a supportive professional environment. Between the workshop phases, the project groups received technical and methodological mentoring with regards to objective setting, activity planning, and budgeting, as well as monitoring and risk assessment.

During the third and final workshop, which took place in Odessa from 9 to 11 March 2020, the participants finalised the conceptual and strategic aspects of their projects by planning the implementation of their project using a detailed work plan matrix. They also prepared their monitoring and contingency plans to make sure they will stay on track, even in the face of adversities and unforeseen circumstances. Being well-equipped to take their projects to the next level, they spent the last day and a half of the workshop drafting their communication strategies to reach out to their target audiences and relevant stakeholders. After six months of intensive preparation, the projects are now ready to be implemented and the groups are eager to get started. To ensure the successful realization of their plans, the groups will now also receive the micro-grants as seed funding for their activities. During the implementation phase, which is starting now until mid-May, the groups will continue to receive on-going support by the CiSEP team and the local partners and experts where needed.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers from Ukraine. CiSEP is a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the objective to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

The CiSEP project incubator series is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and is implemented in cooperation with the local partners Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (PFIRS) and the Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development (ORARD).



20 civil society trainers on EU association process successfully instructed

Well done! At the end of February, 20 committed persons from the Ukrainian civil society received their trainer certificates related to the EU association agreement. In the framework of the Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) they benefitted from a half-year long Train-The-Trainer course on the Ukraine-EU association agreement. This included active attendance in four workshops of three-day length in Chernihiv and Dnipro. These trainings empower them with in-depth knowledge about the EU-Ukraine association process as well as the practical skill-set to operate as multipliers with their own interactive trainings on EU association in the future.

CiSEP puts emphasis on designing the training series as interactively as possible in order to optimise the participants’ learning effect. As regards the content, the workshops focused on deepening their knowledge on the EU association process. Simultaneously, the future trainers learnt how to develop helpful methods, agendas and suitable materials for their trainings. Their skills in visualisation and presentation of training contents was strengthened. During the last workshop, they benefitted from useful insights into debriefing and evaluation of a training.

At the end of February 2020, the 20 participants passed their exams to become trainers on the EU association agreement. This was an important course requirement beside their active workshop participation and regular homework completion. CiSEP and the participants felt honoured to welcome the German Consul General in Donetsk (current residence in Dnipro), Stefan Keil, during the certificate handover ceremony.

In addition to conducting the workshop, CiSEP also provided the participants with individual consultations related to their self-developed trainings. As part of the training series the participants will organise self-designed workshops in the framework of the association agreement. Thematically, some of them will evoke the basics of the association agreement, whereas others will focus on specific chapters of the agreement. Likewise, the target audience of their trainings will be diverse: e.g. youth, students, entrepreneurs and journalists.

Participants are expected to use their acquired knowledge and trainer skills to implement trainings on the EU association agreement in their regions. In this framework, the future trainers will reach many more Ukrainians and sensitise them to diverse topics related to the association agreement. Thereby, they will make an important contribution to inform the Ukrainian population about European integration.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers from Ukraine. CiSEP is a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the objective to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

This training series is organised in cooperation with the local partners Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Chernihiv) and the Public Chamber Ukraine (regional office in Dnipro).

CiSEP is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.


Successful start of the project incubator on Ukrainian EU association

As a part of the new project round of CiSEP, the project incubator which supports alumni in realising promising project ideas started in October. The project incubator takes up the topics of the already implemented specialisation trainings (intellectual property, consumer protection and food safety, trade and sustainable development) and assists the 21 alumni from all of Ukraine in developing, refining and implementing their project ideas. To do so, the five most promising ideas have been selected before. The projects are funded with micro-grants and the project groups are supported through technical and methodological mentoring. The mentoring encompasses the provision of knowledge on project cycles, objective setting, activity planning, budgeting, finding partners and on all other aspects which are necessary for the implementation of a successful project.

During the first workshop that took place in Chernihiv from 14th to 16th October 2019 the participants learned to convincingly pitch their project to a third party, to differentiate the basic methods and procedures of project management, to define their stakeholders, project objectives and activities and to plan the next steps of their project using a project planning matrix. Furthermore, they had the opportunity to benefit and learn from the experience of the two CiSEP-partners Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development and Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies. Moreover, the discussion on the question what makes a project a successful one allowed to reflect on the criteria for a sustainable and impactful project.

The next two workshops are going to take place in Odessa in December 2019 and February 2020 and are going to deal with budget planning and funding. The project matrices are also going to be refined and the project groups are going to receive thematic feedback on their project from experts in the respective area.

CiSEP is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.


Start of new project round

CiSEP is going into the next round! We are very happy to announce that the new project round of CiSEP is going to start tomorrow and that the first activities are going to take place in September. Stay tuned for more information and the calls for applications that are going to follow soon!


The CiSEP Convention held in Kyiv (6-7th June, 2019) marked an important milestone of the project: It brought together over 100 CiSEP-alumni with high-ranking officials from Ukraine and EU, as well as national and international AA/DCFTA experts. It was also an opportunity for many to look back on four years of intensive work towards EU association before turning their gaze to the future. The convention enabled CiSEP-fellows and non-fellows to grasp the remarkable size of the CiSEP network and to further strengthen its bonds, thus getting ready for the next stage of the project.

The convention programme was diverse and action-packed – it allowed for intense discussions and constructive work on DCFTA and AA content, as much as it gave room for the alumni to reunite, network and create new project ideas.



The official kick-off to the event was given on Thursday morning when Maksym Koriavets, President of the Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies and the Director of the Institut für Europäische Politik, Dr Katrin Böttger welcomed the convention participants.

The official welcome was followed by accounts of the Berlin-based CiSEP-team summarising the achievements of the four-year project and of three CiSEP-alumni who told inspiring stories of their work as civic activists aiming to bring EU association measures to their regions. These inspirational talks showed very clearly the deep meaning that the European path has for many; and the very personal hopes and ideas connected with it.

Panel discussion – “Moving forward together?!”
How to put these ideas into reality was then topic of the subsequent panel discussion with the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Hugues Mingarelli; the Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine Dr Ernst Reichel; and the Director General for Strategic Planning and European Integration at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Iuliia Zaichenko who represented the Ukrainian perspective.

Mingarelli used the opportunity to highlight the importance of CiSEP for the Ukrainian civil society and the value of its educational work on the AA/DCFTA. He also emphasised that the Ukraine had an “exceptional asset” compared to the other association countries: its engaged civil society.

Mingarelli also stressed that the implementation of the AA/DCFTA not solely depended on political will but also needed active support from the Ukrainian citizens, which he saw as crucial to the success, and named two main objectives: to get rid of remaining custom duties and to get rid of all technical barriers to trade. How could this be achieved?  He identified two major tasks: to align the Ukrainian legislation and to implement the changes.

After the discussion the floor was opened for questions from the audience. Many CiSEP-fellows took up the opportunity to discuss their concerns. The morning was completed with a lunch reception, which also concluded the public part of the event.

AA/DCFTA Video Challenge
The afternoon focussed on creating new bonds between the CiSEP-fellows and on highlighting the variety and vastness of skills already present amongst them. To achieve this, they were broken down in groups of 5 and given the “AA/DCFTA VIDEO CHALLENGE”, which asked them to explain a DCFTA chapter in a one-minute video. With this complicated task to solve, the afternoon just flew by until the official closing of the convention day at 6pm.



No video challenge without awards! The day began with honouring the three winning videos in a prize-giving ceremony before the group dispersed into the six morning workshops around many different AA/DCFTA topics, such as the EU copyright reform, EU environmental standards and the coordination with government bodies.

A short lunch break interrupted the hard work before the second round of workshops began – more topics, more AA/DCFTA!

After the afternoon workshops had finished everyone came together once more, to listen to the workshop rapporteurs report the results of their workshops and to conclude the convention together before returning home the same day.



The CiSEP Convention was very well-received by its participants and many contacted the CiSEP-team afterwards, expressing their gratitude for putting on the event,
like Svitlana Olieinikova for example:

“It was great pleasure to be again in our expert community on EU Association and DCFTA implementation, possibilities and to network with those who make changes, to share with you my experience. The most important calls are really mine:

Good job of the great team ❤ ❤ ❤ “
(Svitlana Olieinikova, participant at the CiSEP Convention)


The CiSEP Convention was a great success, making CiSEP visible as a major player in the EU-association process of Ukraine.


The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is working with active citizens and change-makers in Ukraine in order to create a network of Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (AA/DCFTA) specialists with the common goal of enhancing Ukraine’s European integration.  The CiSEP training programme has been running since September 2015.

This event took place in the framework of the Civic School for Sound EU practice and was organized by the Institut für Europäische Politik (Berlin). The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

In cooperation with: Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Chernihiv), Civil Network OPORA (Lviv), Odessa regional branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, and Dnipro branch of the Public Chamber of Ukraine.



CiSEP Video Challenge

“AA/DCFTA video challenge”– watch the winning videos here

CiSEP fellows attending the two day CiSEP Convention in Kyiv (6-7th June, 2019) were invited to take part in a difficult challenge: to explain a selected AA/DCFTA chapter in a one-minute video!

From the over sixteen videos produced and entered in a single afternoon, three winners were selected and awarded prizes.  Watch the videos here.

Can you guess which AA/DCFTA chapter they are about?


  Some impressions from our award ceremony


Successful Completion of CiSEP Level A2 in Dnipro

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) Level A2 training series has successfully come to an end in Dnipro. The training series focused on basics concerning the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union (AA) and the accompanying Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).

Over the course of four workshops, our participants, who represent active citizens from civil society organizations within Ukraine, learned about the values, the political system and the bodies of the EU. They learned how civic participation can function within the EU integration and also got a systematic introduction into the AA and DCFTA and an approach on how to read them.

The last two workshops have taken place from 20-22 May and 24-26 June 2019 in Dnipro. The workshop in May focused on the implementation and civic engagement aspect of the EU-integration, further approaching the topic by using examples from neighbouring countries and their experiences with the EU association, such as Serbia and Georgia. Thematically, an emphasis was made to Intellectual Property Rights (Chapter 9) and Transparency (Chapter 12).

The last workshop of the training series combined different aspects: Firstly, it focused on Chapter 3: Technical Barriers to Trade. It further stressed the importance of regional civic engagement and the opportunities decentralization can bring. Organizing civil society in local hubs, as demonstrated by the example of Nis in Serbia, is very important to give a voice to civil society members and empower them, since it creates opportunities of influence. Supporting this process, the participants also learned more about Project Cycle Management and how it can be of help to them. A highlight of the training was visiting the production site of Interpipe – a Ukrainian industrial company for steel pipes and railway wheels.

The end of the workshop series was marked by the exams all participants had to pass in order to successfully complete Level A2. All of our participants have indeed passed and we are very excited to see our CiSEP network growing. We wish our participants all the best and hope we will be seeing them again soon.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers in Ukraine. It creates a network of Association Agreement specialists with the common goal of enhancing Ukraine’s European integration. CiSEP is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA).



Start of second training edition on “The basics of EU Association and DCFTA”

In March the second edition of our Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) basic training on „The basics of EU Association and DCFTA“ started. CiSEP is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers in Ukraine. It creates a network of Association Agreement specialists with the common goal of enhancing Ukraine’s European integration.

The 22 participants from all over Ukraine are gaining an in-depth look into the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA). In this context they are also getting an overview of relevant EU institutions and decision-making processes, the internal as well as the bilateral EU-coordination in Ukraine. Working with selected chapters of the DCFTA and working on the original documents, the question remains how the Ukrainian civil society can find its role in the association progress.

Within the first workshop, which took place from 18.-20.03 in Dnipro, the participants worked on the basics of the European Union and the Association Agreement to not only get to know the core elements of the political system of the EU, but also to get to know the structure and the status of implementation of the Association Agreement. To further endorse this first approach, myths that still accompany the association process were confronted. Civil society members are asked to mediate the association process and its implications precisely and understandably to be able to correct certain myths that might still be found within the broader society. The undertaken argumentation training and coaching supplied our participants with the necessary tools to face these kinds of myths and to debunk them with facts.

Ukraine’s EU association is not to be understood and handled without internal and bilateral EU-coordination and cooperation. The second workshop, taking place from 15.-17. April in Dnipro, is dedicated to this topic in a practical way: the topics of EU-coordination and bilateral EU-coordination were not only dealt with thematically, but were also made comprehensible by a subsequent simulation. After the basics of the Association Agreement were dealt with thoroughly, the second part of the workshop focused on DCFTA’s chapter 13 “Trade and Sustainable Development”. After an introduction into the concept of sustainability and the EU’s ecological directives, as well as their implementation and monitoring possibilities, the topic social responsibility – better social policies and workers’ rights – within the integration process was emphasized. Topics such as the standing on workers’ rights in Ukraine and how it can be improved by implementing the principles of social dialogue in Ukraine were addressed. Further on, the principle of social responsibility was also highlighted: What are the principles of social responsibility and how can they be implemented successfully? Case studies are a good opportunity to evaluate, what works and what could be improved.

The next two workshops will also take place in Dnipro from 20.-22. May and 24.-26. June. They will concentrate on the implementation experiences of the other associated neighbor countries Georgia and Moldavia, EU’s experiences on integrating the western Balkan as well as campaigning and other selected DCFTA-chapters.

CiSEP is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA).

Study trip to Berlin to explore German consumer protection

How does Germany implement EU-standards in the sector of consumer protection? What does federalism mean when it comes to guaranteeing food safety? Who implements consumer protection rights and which role do alternative dispute settlement proceedings play?

Our study trip gave answers to these and many more questions to Ukrainian consumer advisers, visiting Berlin from 25-30 March 2019. For 18 participants from all over Ukraine this trip was the final highlight of the training series on implementation of EU consumer protection in Ukraine, which took place over the course of six months.

The workshops trained the participants on the basics of EU-consumer protection laws as well as food safety and they were able to work with many practical examples from other EU member or candidate states.

Within the framework of the EU association the Ukrainian consumer protection system is being reformed fundamentally. The legal harmonisation with its constantly growing body of EU consumer protection regulations as well as the institutional and practical arrangement within limited resources puts the Ukraine under enormous pressure. Taking these facts into consideration the Ukrainian consumer advisers are asked to give useful impulses on creating Ukrainian consumer politics and to actively fulfill their role as a connecting element between politics, administration and consumers.

The study trip in Berlin was aimed at showing the interaction between EU and national legislation as well as its implementation in a decentralised state. The participants’ knowledge and competences were strengthened by visiting state institutions, consumer offices, NGOs and other stakeholders. At the same time the study trip gave opportunity to expand the participants’ professional networks. Among other things, the group visited the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, Stiftung Warentest, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the German Conciliation Body for Public Transport and the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic.

The group was given the chance to discuss topics such as the institutional linkage in the areas of product and food safety and the responsibilities of companies in relation to market surveillance by the state. Especially the practice of dispute settlement appealed to many on the background of the Ukrainian juridical system. Apart from that the importance of consumer research for goal-oriented consumer politics as well as effective consumer protection worked as a common theme throughout the study trip.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.