Eastern Partnership Programme
The project, carried out jointly by the National Council and the Regional Bar Associations, involes the collaboration with and the provision of support to lawyers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine as well as establishing relations with Russian lawyers. As part of this project a number of lawyers from these countries have been invited to participate in conferences and seminars organised by the Regional Bars, the National Council and international lawyers’ organisations in Europe. The Regional Bar Associations and the National Council have funded scholarships for twelve lawyers from these countries, so that they could participate in the FBE Congress in Wrocław as well as the AEA-EAL seminar in Poznań. In addition, the grantees could take part in meetings with the representatives of the Regional Bars and the National Council as well as the members of the FBE and AEA-EAL, they could also participate in meetings of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Some Regional Bar Associations have agreed for our Eastern guests to participate in various trainings and conferences as speakers, covering their accommodation costs.
In April 2012, the magazine of the National Council, “Attorney at Law”, published an article by two advocates from Belarus, describing the situation of the profession in the country. In June 2013, advocates from Belarus and Russia took part in an international conference organised by the Gdańsk Bar Association, while in October 2013, more than 30 advocates from Ukraine participated in a seminar organised in Przemyśl by the Rzeszów Bar Association. Moreover, in June 2014, advocates from Armenia participated in a conference and other events held in Kraków and Warsaw thanks to the scholarships funded by the National Council and the Regional Bars in Bydgoszcz, Kraków, Toruń and Warsaw. In the same year, due to schoolarships funded by the National Council and Bydgoszcz Bar Association, lawyers from Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia took part in an international event “Bydgoszcz – the Wall” to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of freedom in Poland; the Kielce Bar Association with the support of the National Council, organized visit of the Georgian lawyer and her participation in Bar’s conference. Olsztyn Bar Association established close relations with lawyers from Kaliningrad and Lithuania, while the Białystok Bar, in co-operation with judges, organizes a conference with participation of Belorussian and Lithuanian colleagues.
As a consequence of previous activities, in May 2015 during the CCBE Plenary Session held in Gdańsk and in presence of Nobel-Prize winner Lech Wałęsa our Bar signed a Twinnig Agreement with the Georgian Bar Association in order to support activities and European presence of the Georgian colleagues. Similar Twinning Agreement was signed also by the Armenian Bar Association and the Czech Bar Association. Following the Twinnig Agreement, a delegation of Polish attorneys at law participated in November 2015 in a commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the independent legal profession in Georgia and in March 2016 two Georgian lawyers – human rights defenders – were awarded by our Bar with an honorary titltle of “Crystal Heart” for their activities in defending rule of law and human rights.
It must be noted that by engaging in the Eastern Partnership Programme, attorneys at law want to repay their debt incurred in the eighties and nineties of the last century, when the Polish lawyers were supported by their colleagues and friends from the West.