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).