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Author: Dovilė Šukytė

Multiplying civil society’s voice in the Eastern Partnership, a challenging task

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum was established to facilitate civil society’s engagement in Eastern Partnership policy and promote dialogue among civil society organisations and the authorities. One might think that one decade is enough time to develop co-operation where officials learn to value civil society’s expertise and willingness to help. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

When asked to look into the past ten years of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP SCF) I did not envision how difficult it would be. I found myself divided between my professional passion for the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region and the frustration that accumulated over the years of working on it. I have enormous admiration for civil society in the region whose actors, despite personal risk, tirelessly defend human rights, seek to instil democracy and the rule of law and create a safe and engaging environment. But I also cannot ignore the limitations.

May 2, 2019 - Dovilė Šukytė

Past as weakness or strength? The shared history, strained present and uncertain future of Belarus and Lithuania

How can barriers between two historically close countries like Belarus and Lithuania be lowered or eliminated? What are the prospects of improved relations between the two states? Ultimately, closer ties between ordinary Belarusians and Lithuanians could serve as the best guarantor of closer political relations.

During his September 2018 visit to Vilnius, Pope Francis quoted Lithuania’s national anthem and encouraged people to “draw strength from the past”. He reiterated what is often common knowledge: for one to look to the future, one must first know and make peace with the past. In theory the same logic could apply to Lithuania and Belarus, two neighbours that, over the centuries, have spent more time together – that is, belonging to (or being ruled by) the same state – than apart.

November 5, 2018 - Dovilė Šukytė

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