IOB Evaluation – The Matra programme in the Eastern Partnership countries 2008-2014

The Dutch Matra programme was launched in 1993 to support democratisation in Central and Eastern Europe. Since then, it has evolved from a programme focused solely on the social transformation of post-communist countries to one that also aims to contribute to EU enlargement policy and the European Neighbourhood Policy. Matra aims to contribute to the development of democratic, pluriform states governed by the rule of law, where there is space for dialogue between the government and the people. In addition, Matra aims to strengthen bilateral relations between the Netherlands and the partner countries.

In this report IOB examines the implementation of the Matra programme in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. Being former republics of the Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine share many characteristics, but they have chosen distinctive paths since their independence. After a period of having a relatively low profile in the Netherlands, tensions in 2014 and the broader developments in the ring around Europe unequivocally put the EaP countries back on the map. With this report IOB contributes to the post-2015 review of the Matra programme in the region.