Civil society needs to play a greater role in EU–Russia relations, says the EESC

Published: 10 December 2010 y., Friday

In the immediate wake of the successful EU–Russia Summit, the European Economic and Social Committee is discussing its own–initiative opinion on EU‑Russia relations in the presence of Vladimir Chizhov, Russian Ambassador to the EU. In the opinion, the EESC calls for civil society to play a greater role in relations between EU and Moscow.

Responding to the calls which the EU formulated at the summit for civil society to be involved in Russia's modernisation process, the EESC is about to create a contact group responsible for relations with Russian civil society.

The EESC considers that the Partnership for Modernisation, which frames EU–Russia relations, will enhance the role of civil society in their bilateral contacts. The new EESC opinion also calls for the establishment of a widely representative EU–Russia Business Forum as well as more frequent exchanges in the field of education and intercultural dialogue.

It likewise advocates liberalisation of the visa regime and stresses the need for civil society actors to be given access to consultation on human rights.

The EESC has come out clearly in favour of Russia becoming a member of the WTO and has said that the accession process would give new impetus to negotiations on the new EU–Russia Agreement. The Committee also reiterates the proposal that this forthcoming Agreement include provisions on the creation of a joint EU–Russia civil society body responsible for monitoring implementation of the agreement.

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