Civil society and non-governmental organisations often play a crucial role within their societies, in providing policy input, following new initiatives and in holding governments accountable. They can be active actors in promoting democracy and human rights, the rule of law, good governance, principles of market economy and sustainable development.

In its communication on the EaP (2008), the European Commission underlined that "ongoing reforms [in Eastern Partner countries] require stronger participation of civil society to enhance oversight of public services and strengthen public confidence in them."

Prague Summit 2009

The Prague Summit of 2009 endorsed the idea of establishing a forum which would promote contacts among Civil Society Organisations of EaP and facilitate dialogue with public authorities. It should facilitate the sharing of information and experience on the partner countries' steps toward transition, reform and modernisation.

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (CSF) held its first meeting in November 2009 with more than 200 Civil Society Organisations from the Partner countries and EU Member States.

The mandate of the CSF is to influence EU institutions and national governments by presenting the recommendations of the CSF during their decision-making process.

Four Working Groups

Four Working Groups have been established, to follow the work of the four EaP thematic platforms, and to enrich their agenda.

The title of the Working Groups are:

·        WG 1. Democracy, human rights, good governance and stability

·        WG 2. Economic integration and convergence with EU policies

·        WG 3. Environment, climate change and energy security

WG 4. Contacts between people