On 18-22 May 2020 the 10th General Assembly (GA) of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum was held. For the first time in the Forum history, the annual conference of Forum members and supporters went fully digital. More than 120 representatives of member organisations joined the live stream and actively participated in the discussion.
During the live stream on 18 May, the Forum Activity Report and the Annual Financial Report 2019 were presented. Apart from that, GA participants could pose their questions to the Board candidates. This time there were the record number of them, 17 nominees for 7 vacant slots (4 for members from the EU and 3 from Russia). Finally, a separate session was dedicated to the recently adopted Forum Strategy 2020-2025 and to the future discussion groups creation. These groups formed by the GA participants will be working on certain strategic priorities until the end of June. Among these priorities are enabling space for civil society, sustainable development and climate change, inequality in society, digital inequality and rapid technological development, safeguarding democracy and human rights, and free media.
On the same day, 18 May, the virtual voting was opened, and Forum members could vote on Financial Report and on future Board candidates.
The results of the virtual voting were known on 20 May. Along with the Financial Annual Report adoption, the following Board candidates were newly elected: Pavel Havlíček (Association for International Affairs (AMO), Prague/Brussels), Olga Gnezdilova (Stitching Justice Initiative, Russia) and André Gerrits (Netherlands Helsinki Committee, The Hague). Anikó Bakonyi (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Budapest), Nina Berezner (D’EST, Paris), Polina Filippova (Sakharov Centre, Moscow) and Elena Shakhova (Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg) were reelected for the new term.
After the joint online meeting of former and new Board members and the second-round voting on 21-22 May, the Board co-chairs were approved: Anikó Bakonyi and Nikola Mokrović (Documenta, Zagreb).
We congratulate the winners and looking forward to meeting EU-Russia Civil Society Forum members and supporters soon in person. We are also grateful for support and flexibility to our donors: the European Commission, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, OAK Foundation, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CAF Foundation.