At the end of December 2013, the EU awarded the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum a grant to fund the further development of the Forum. The 1st February marked the start date for the project, which includes a wide range of actions supporting civil society in both Russia and the EU. The German-Russian Exchange acted as the Consortium lead organisation in the grant application process and will coordinate project activities alongside the other Consortium members: Agency for Social Information, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, the Public Verdict Foundation and the Stefan Batory Foundation.

The overall objective of the project is “to foster systematic contacts and cooperation between independent civil society actors in Russia and the EU”, with specific aims to “contribute to the continued and improved functioning and sustainability of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum” and to “maintain and increase exchange of information and policy dialogue related to topics of common interest between EU and Russian CSOs as well as between the CSF and other stakeholders”.

 

The main activities of the project can be outlined thus:

 

  1. Internal relations and strategy
    • Establishment and staffing of CSF secretariat
    • Member survey, discussion process and development of paper on internal relations
    • Discussion process and development of mid- and long-term strategy
    • Donors’ conference
    • Final project and strategy meeting
    • Revision and enlargement of communication tools
    • Formation of internal policy team
    • Continuous policy and advocacy work
    • Internal policy updates for members

 

  1. Projects and common CSF initiatives
    • Sub-grant programme for Working Groups of CSF
    • Visa project
    • Europe Lab (follow-up to Pilorama Lab)
    • Investigation of EU-Russia trans-border corruption cases
    • Solidarity and urgent action activities
    • Joint seminar of the CSF and the European Economic and Social Council
    • Outreach activities towards civil society in the EU and Russia
    • Recruitment of new members

 

  1. External relations/Policy Dialogue
    • Formation of CSF policy team
    • Continuous policy and advocacy work including position papers
    • Internal updates for members and engaging CSF members in policy activities

 

  1. External Relations/ Civil Society and other Stakeholders
    • Joint seminar of the CSF and the European Economic and Social Council to initiate cooperation
    • Specific outreach activities towards Civil Society in the EU and Russia in order to encourage CSO cooperation in general and to recruit new members
    • Public event on EU-Russia relaions