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.