Member of the Month: Swedish International Liberal Centre
SILC is very active in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. How is civil society developing in countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova?
Civil Society is totally oppressed in Belarus and Azerbaijan. It is under attack in Armenia. Georgia and Ukraine sees a very vivid civil society that has been instrumental in keeping the countries away from outright repression several times. Ukraine is a special case. It is such a big country with 45 million people. Many of them are liberally minded and well organized. The big game of politics is highly corrupt and infested with oligarch funding, but on the level of small towns, there is a larger room for civicness and participation.
What kind of activities and projects do you carry out in the countries of the Eastern Partnership? And how do you measure the results of these activities?
We engage in policy dialogue with liberal parties, we train activists and we have several projects in support of elections observation. Free elections represent a human right guaranteed by the Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but neglected too often, even by organizations working for human rights.
How do you expect the Eastern Partnership to develop in the future? Are some EaP countries likely to join the EU someday?
Liberal values are under attack, and unfortunately, the Kremlin is already at war, using asymmetric warfare, against all its neighbors and Europe. Unless Europe awakens and defends its principles and interests, the prospects for EU-integration and peace are bleak.
The eastern partnership is based on key liberal values: democracy and the rule f law, and a commitment to market economy. It is a liberal partnership that should be cherished by us liberals. Visa-free travel for Georgians is highly popular, and it is important to grant the same rights to Ukrainians as soon as possible.
What activities can we expect from SILC in the rest of 2017? And how can other members stay up to date on your work?
We are looking forward to welcoming liberals to Sweden in November, to the congress of the Liberal Party (Liberalerna), for a deep discussion on liberal rule of law-policy. Also, we welcome Liberals to the Stockholm Pride week in July. Come and march with us for LGBT rights!
28. Mar 2017 by Intern