Vaša poslankyňa Európskeho parlamentu Výbory pre zahraničie, bezpečnosť a obranu Výbor pre zamestnanosť a sociálne veci Delegácia Euronest

There is an opportunity which the EU must seize to win people’s hearts and minds.

Miriam Lexmann during AFET Meeting (19 May 2020) in exchange of views with Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, on the Eastern Partnership policy, on COVID19 related EU support in the Neighbourhood, and Turkey, and on the future external financing instruments.

Commissioner Varhelyi,

Thank you for joining us once again. 

It is very much appreciated that you regularly appear before this committee, and engage with us.

One of the core principles of the EaP is differentiation based on a ‘more for more’ approach. Indeed, it is only correct that we provide more ambitious space for cooperation and integration for those desiring it.

At the same time, this opens up a question on who ought to do ‘more’ to get ‘more’ – and, I believe, it shouldn’t just be based on the willingness – or lack of willingness – of the authorities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a testimony to the importance of civil society. 

With other Members of the Parliament we’re currently writing an open letter to express our admiration for the courage and resolve shown by the Belarusian people during these testing times. I believe there’s currently a unique opportunity which the EU must seize to win people’s hearts and minds. 

During this crisis the EU has clearly been the most important donor to the EaP countries. We must build on this by doubling our efforts in supporing the genuine civil society that has come to the fore during this pandemic. 

Mr Commissioner, I would like to suggest that while reshaping our financial instruments, we need to include procedures whereby the society is also awarded more for doing more. 

We have a unique window of opportunity, and if we truly want to build the resilience of our neighbours, a genuine civil society is our best hope. 

Thank you. 

Photo: Martin Lahousse

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