Discussion “External dimension of the Platforms’ activity: how to cooperate effectively with the EU institutions and civil society”
On 20 Mach 2018, the Civic Synergy project held a discussion “External dimension of the Platforms’ activity: how to cooperate effectively with the EU institutions and civil society”.
The speakers and participants of the event addressed the following questions: How do partners in Brussels perceive the Platforms and Ukrainian NGOs today? What is the real potential of cooperation between Ukrainian and European civil society, as well as needs and expectations from both sides? How to establish more effective communication with the EU institutions? What concrete steps should be taken to strengthen the image of the Platforms in the eyes of the European audience and become interesting for them?
Zoryana Mishchuk, key expert of the Civic synergy project, member of the Steering Committee of the Ukrainian Side of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform; Dmytro Shulga, Director of the European Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation, Head of the Civic Synergy project; Olena Prystayko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels; Hennadiy Maksak, National Coordinator of the Ukrainian National Platform, Member of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Head of the Board of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”; Iryna Sushko, Executive Director of the “Europe without barriers”; Anton Antonenko, Vice President of the DiXi Group; Ivan Kulchytskyy, Coordinator of the Working group 6 “Science and technologies, information society, education, training and youth, culture, and sport” UA CSP, President of the NGO “Agency of European Innovations”; Vasyl Andreev, Coordinator of the Working group 4 “Employment, social policy, equal opportunities, and health” UA CSP, President of the Construction and Building Materials Industry Workers’ Union of Ukraine, participated in the discussion.
At the beginning of the discussion, Olena Prystayko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels, presented a target audience research “How Ukrainian pro-European civil Platforms should work effectively in Brussels”.
According to Olena Prystayko, only 30% of the EU CSOs were aware of the existence of the Ukrainian Platforms of CSOs. 69% of them are interested in working with Ukrainian Platforms. When the organisations have a Ukrainian partner/member, 43.75% of the respondents said they were aware of the existence of such platforms. Among the respondents who said they were not aware of the existence of such platforms, 63.3% did not have a Ukraine-related activity. EU officials, who work on Ukraine’s issue, are mostly aware of the existence of the Ukrainian Platforms of CSOs but not always know what exactly these Platforms do.
Olena Prystayko also noted that despite the variety of stakeholders and areas of cooperation between Ukrainian and EU CSOs, the current state of cooperation leaves much room for improvement. Ukrainian SCOs shall try to increase their visibility through events in the EU. The staff of the Ukrainian Platforms and their members must be able to speak English to communicate with EU CSOs. There is also a need to increase a frequency of information exchange between partners and to develop personal contacts with them. In addition, the author of the research emphasised the importance of coordination between Ukrainian SCOs with the aim to present the common position in the EU.
The participants of the discussion shared their advocacy and networking experience in Brussels, and also offered their ideas how to enhance the Platform’s activity in the EU. To sum up the results of the discussion, the Civic Synergy project identified 7 key recommendations that will help the Platforms and their members to use the Platforms as a powerful communication channel with the EU:
- Deepen knowledge about the EU and bring more information about Ukraine.
- Choose stakeholders for cooperation attentively.
- Use existing communication channels effectively and attract new ones.
- Coordinate and promote a common position.
- Increase the professional level of the discussion.
- Put Ukrainian issues in the context of the European agenda.
- Do not be afraid to raise new important topics.
The event was held with the support of the Civic Synergy project, co-funded by the European Union and International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) and implemented by the European Program Initiative of the IRF.