02 Dec 2013

The socialization potential of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Hrant Kostanyan


This article by CEPS Associate Research Fellow Hrant Kostanyan was published in the Eastern Journal of European Studies, 2013. Vol. 4, No. 2, 95-110, co-authored with B. Vandecasteele.


This article assesses socialization in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, an institutionalized civil society cooperation consisting of nongovernmental organizations from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries: Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The article argues that uniting the literature on socialization and on Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum adds considerably to scholarly knowledge about the role of the institutionalized civil society in the world. The analysis of the activities of the Civil Society Forum shows that the conditions for socialization are largely fulfilled. We conclude that the organisation and functioning of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum not only provides a passive framework for transmitting European values and norms, but also results in a middle degree of socialization between civil society organizations of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. There is a large degree of internalization of European Union-sponsored norms and values among the participants of the Civil Society Forum: they fervently promote and defend such norms and values. The little-politicized environment in which discussions take place also allows civil society organisations to make ambitious statements, often more straightforward than political representatives (can) make.

Keywords: Eastern Partnership, Civil Society Forum, socialization

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