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More efforts are needed to strengthen media freedom and resilience, said MEPs and MPs from Eastern Partnership countries closing the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly on Wednesday.

During the 6th session of the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly in Kyiv (Ukraine), MEPs and their counterparts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine debated the preparations for November’s Eastern Partnership Summit and adopted a set of resolutions.

 

Counter propaganda

 

The EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly supports a vibrant media environment which allows diverse information and opinions to be shared. However, the media face challenges, such as inadequate legislation, a lack of diversified media ownership, the political elite’s intolerance to criticism, violence against journalists or politically-motivated control over information space, says the resolution on media freedom.

 

MEPs and MPs condemn policies based on propaganda and misinformation, and denounce Russian governmental efforts to discredit the EU and divide it and its partners by using state-controlled media. They recommend strengthening media resilience, promoting fact-based information and setting up “EU-funded transnational networks of fact-checkers, investigative journalists and researchers” to scrutinise hostile misinformation.

 

Support for Paris climate deal

 

The resolution on energy cooperation welcomes the commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change to limit the increase in the global average temperature and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This will require major economic changes, a shift towards a more diversified energy mix, as well as the promotion of sustainable energy sources and energy efficiency improvement, say MEPs and MPs. They call on the European Commission to increase capacity-building assistance in this regard to Eastern European partners.

 

Tackling youth unemployment

 

The EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly stresses that youth unemployment rates in the Eastern Partnership countries differ considerably, between 5% and 33% in 2015, whereas more than 4 million young people were unemployed in the EU in 2016. Parliamentarians call on the EU and its Eastern partners to combat unemployment by focusing on training youth to work, on social inclusion, active participation in civil society, promotion of entrepreneurship and support for young parents amongst others.

 

Women in the labour market

 

MEPs and MPs welcome the relatively high level of women’s integration in Eastern Partnership countries’ labour markets, but regret that the gender pay gap remains high and can be as much as 50%. To remedy the situation, they advocate the promotion of equal economic independence, equal pay for equal work, equality in decision-making and ensuring a work-life balance.

 

Urgency resolutions

 

The plenary also adopted three urgency resolutions on:

- deterioration of the human rights situation in the regions of Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast;

- lethal autonomous weapons;

- the future of the Eastern partnership – combating hybrid challenges and security threats together.