The first event organised within the framework of the project “Eastern Neighbours and Russia: Close links with EU citizens – ENURC”, with the support of Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union, was “What’s next after the Eastern Partnership? EU membership perspective for Eastern Europe”. This event was organised by the Romanian project partner CRPE in the margins of EUROSFAT – the annual European debates forum which has been taking place in Romania since 2013. The goal of the event was complementary with the objective of EUROSFAT – bringing together politicians, civil society representatives, business leaders, stakeholders and citizens, in order to debate the most important topics of the Eastern Partnership agenda following Riga summit, thus facilitating a more evidence and dialogue-based position for EU member states and EaP members.
The event took place on May 29, 2015 at the Parliament Palace in Bucharest. The timing of the conference had been adjusted to ensure no overlap with EU’s ENP summit, the Riga Summit, one week earlier, May 21-22 2015.
The session focused on the Eastern Partnership and the EU perspective in the East, Riga EaP summit conclusions, and the new challenges within the Black Sea Region. The event was attended by high level EU officials from the European Commission, members of the European Parliament, politicians from Romania, experts, members of civil society and relevant stakeholders that shaped their positions and expectations towards the European Union and the Eastern Partnership. Moreover, the session was also attended by high level experts from Ukraine, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, the Visegrad countries and the Baltic region.
The event proved to be successful in increasing the level of awareness and knowledge on EU’s concerns and main positions towards the EaP countries and also created the incentives for a better understanding of the relationship between EaP countries and Brussels in Central and Eastern European Countries. The audience of the event was made up of 293 people plus 15 speakers, coming to a total of 308 participants. While the audience consisted mostly of Romanian citizens, they had the opportunity to interact with experts and citizens from other countries who attended the event as audience or speakers. There were nine EU countries participating in the event. Besides the host country Romania, also the United Kingdom, Hungary, Estonia, Poland, Finland, Slovakia, Latvia and the Netherlands. There were also participants from non-EU countries: Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.