St. Petersburg, 4 October 2012 – For the first time in its history, the Forum will hold its General Assembly in Russia, addressing the issues of EU-Russia relationship, the role of civil society in fostering EU-Russia dialogue, as well as to produce policy recommendations for the upcoming EU-Russia Summit. Along with high level EU and Russian officials, Forum participants will represent well known civil society organisations: 

EU-Russia Centre (Belgium);
People in Need (Czech Republic);
German Russian Exchange (Germany);
MitOst (Germany);
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland);
Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland);
BELLONA Environmental Rights Center (Russia);
Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia);
Committee Against Torture (Russia);
Golos (Russia);
NGO Development Centre (Russia);
Public Verdict (Russia)

The General Assembly will discuss the EU-Russia relations in light of their “strategic partnership” and Russia’s accession to the WTO as well as consider different approaches the two sides have on a number of issues (visa liberalisation, investigation into the activities of Gazprom, major foreign policy issues such as Syria).
Attention will be 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 is to discuss ways civil societies from Europe and Russia can cooperate and support one another in the challenging environment. Detailed agenda is available at:

The Assembly will be held on October 9-10, 2012 at Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden (Bataisky Pereulok, 3A, 190013 St. Petersburg). Briefing for media is planned, on October 9 at 14:00 in Sokos Hotel. 
List of briefing participants: 
Mr. Stefan Melle, German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Mrs. Danuta Przewara, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Mr. Yuri Dzhibladze, Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Moscow)
 Mrs. Svetlana Makovetskaya, Centre for Civic Education and Human Rights (Perm)
Mrs. Elena Shakhova, Citizens Watch (St. Petersburg)
Moderated by: Mrs. Anna Sharogradskaya, Regional Press Institute (St. Petersburg). 

Media Accreditation: (Name, E-mail, Tel.)

Additional Information: 
The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum was founded in March 2011 in Prague.  The Forum serves as a permanent platform for cooperation of civil society organisations from the Russian Federation and the European Union. The Forum aims to increase links between civil society organisations; provide mutual assistance and solidarity; as well as contribute citizens’ voice to EU-Russia political dialogue. Today, the Forum has 98 members from across Russia and EU member-states. More about the work of the Forum: 

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