In March 2019 we began a series of monthly focus group meetings on key aspects of the Association Agreements and DCFTAs between the EU and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Focus group sessions are held in each of the three capitals with a range of stakeholders (government, business, civil society, etc.) using a standardized questionnaire. The focus groups are organised and moderated by our partners in the three capitals: IER in Kyiv, Expert-Grup in Chisinau and Reformatics in Tbilisi.
The objective is to get fresh views on how the Association Agreements and DCFTAs are progressing in practice. This may lead to recommendations to policymakers in the three capitals and the EU institutions. While the views of individual participants are treated as confidential, reports are published drawing together a synthesis of the findings.
Focus Group No 3 concerned ‘Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary regulations (SPS), which is the official name for the body of food and agriculture safety regulations. At the EU level the legislation consists of a very large set of about 300 directives and regulations, which under the Association Agreements and DCFTAs the three DCFTA states are committed to apply with time schedules stretching over a number of years.
The Focus Group No 3 sessions were held in May 2019. The number of participants ranged between 13 and 21, with representatives of government ministries and agencies, farm producers and food processing and trading associations.
A common questionnaire was submitted beforehand to participants, with invitation to submit summary opinions in writing, which was obtained in the majority of instances.