Civil society in Ukraine needs a favourable legal framework in order to monitor and contribute to domestic reforms. This was the main conclusion of a seminar organised jointly by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Ukrainian National Tripartite Social and Economic Council (NTSEC), held in Kiev on September 26 and 27.
The 80 participants included representatives from both of those bodies, along with Ukrainian government ministers, the head of the EU Delegation to the Ukraine, ambassadors of several Member States and NGO representatives.
After exchanging their different perspectives, the parties acknowledged Ukraine's European aspirations and agreed that the necessary political steps, such as the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), needed the involvement of civil society. In this context, the EESC committed to support the creation of structured mechanisms for civil society consultation, with the help of the national authorities and civil society organisations, including the members of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
Participants called for the institutional capacity of employers' and trade union organisations to be strengthened, taking advantage of the newly created Civil Society Facility and other relevant EU programs. The deeper the influence of social society in political reforms, the better these reforms will preserve fundamental freedoms and economic and social stability.
Another important step on the road to reform is the swift implementation of the new legislation on social dialogue, so that ILO core standards and especially the right of association are respected.
During the second day of the seminar, representatives looked at the issue of farming and advised negotiators on both sides that agriculture should be specifically dealt with in cooperation agreements. In doing so, the importance of competitiveness should be recognised, but rural development and preservation of the environment must not be neglected. The main objective is to ensure safe and healthy food at affordable prices whilst guaranteeing the standard of living for farmers through job creation and the viability of farming.