16-18 November 2017, Berlin Germany

On November 16–18, 2017, the international symposium „Threat Perceptions – Drivers for Policy Change in Russia and the EU?” took place in Berlin. The symposium was organised within the framework of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum Legal Dialogue Programme. The aim of the Programme is to create formats for direct exchange of successful practices and ideas on the use of existing legal mechanisms and for the development of new legal approaches for citizens and civil societies in Russia and the EU.

Over 50 acknowledged legal experts from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, and the UK pointed out existing perceived threats in their societies and showed to what extent those threat perceptions impact legislation in these countries. During roundtables and thematic sessions, the participants discussed legal aspects of their work in the areas of human rights, migration, anti-extremism, climate change, labour rights, and digital rights. The experts also presented and discussed existing practices for mutual support at the national and international level.

The symposium brought together not only representatives of NGOs, think tanks, academia, and legal networks, but also representatives of the German ministries. Namely, Dr. Christian Pernhorst from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a welcome speech on the first day of the symposium. Dr. Daniel Holznagel from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection presented the controversial Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) and discussed its advantages and disadvantages with the participants of the symposium.

Above all, the various current undertakings of the Legal Dialogue Programme such as workshops, conferences, publications and the Legal Dialogue online journal were presented in order that their potential further development be considered. The participants actively suggested new projects as well as topics for future events and publications.

This international symposium was the second one organised in Berlin within the framework of the EU-Russia Legal Dialogue Programme. In 2016, the topic was “Domestic Law in a Global Upswing? The Strained Relationship between International and Domestic Law”. The Legal Dialogue Programme is financially supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.