ST. PETERSBURG GENERAL ASSEMBLY
9-10 OCTOBER 2012
For the first time in its history, the Forum held its General Assembly in Russia, which addressed the issues of EU-Russia relationship, the role of civil society in fostering EU-Russia dialogue, as well as produced policy recommendations for the upcoming EU-Russia Summit. Along with high level EU and Russian officials, Forum participants represented well know civil society organisations such as BELLONA Environmental Rights Center (Russia), Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia), Committee Against Torture (Russia), EU-Russia Centre (Belgium), German
Russian Exchange (Germany), Golos (Russia), Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland), MitOst (Germany), NGO Development Centre (Russia), People in Need (Czech Republic), Public Verdict (Russia), Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland), among others.
The General Assembly discussed the EU-Russia relations in light of their “strategic partnership” and Russia’s accession to the WTO as well as considered different approaches the two sides have had on a number of issues (visa liberalisation, investigation into the activities of Gazprom, major foreign policy issues such as Syria).
Attention was also paid to the recent challenges civil societies face in Russia (new legislation which many fear will hamper the operations of NGOs in Russia) and the EU (NGOs under pressure from economic crisis). The aim of the Assembly was to discuss ways civil societies from Europe and Russia could cooperate and support one another in the challenging environment.
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