Brussels/Moscow, 14 December, 2011

Editor: Eva van Velzen

As EU and Russian leaders meet in Brussels tomorrow for their six-monthly summit the newly formed EU-Russia Civil Society Forum calls on them to pay greater attention to civil society. 

Meeting in Warsaw last week 55 member organisations of the Forum produced recommendations for the EU Russia Summit participants to improve protection of human rights defenders in Russia, the execution of the European Court decisions both in the EU and Russia; cross border environmental problems; the engagement of citizens and local communities in order to generate change; transparency and accountability in activities of governmental agents and bodies; visa facilitation and liberalization and finally public control over the electoral process. 

With recent developments in the Russian Federation following the Duma elections, grass root organisations both in Russia and the EU are following the events in Russia closely. The Steering Committee of EU-Russia Civil Society Forum issued a statement last week, calling upon Russian authorities to guarantee the right to freedom of assembly and expression for participants of protest demonstrations demanding free and fair elections, release who have been arrested during the rallies, ensure that civil society organizations can carry out their work without hindrance, and urged the EU to raise these issues with Russian counterparts during upcoming EU-Russia summit.

The EU Russia Civil Society Forum was set up bottom up and includes more than 80 organisations from different Russian regions and EU countries. The recommendations for the EU Russia Summit can be read at the website www.eu-russia-csf.org.

For more information about the EU Russia Civil Society Forum visit the website or send an e-mail to info@eu-russia-csf.org.

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