Steering Committees of the EU-Russia Civil and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums Decide on Cooperation >>
Kick-Off Meetings in Moscow >>
New CSF Secretariat Structure >>

Statement "On the European Commission Proposal on Amendments to EU Visa Policy" >>

Sub-Grant Programme for Joint Projects of the Forum Members >>

Another Court Decision for the "Perm Youth Memorial" >>
Suspension of "Ecowatch" Activities >>
Call for Applications: Annual Conference "Ecology of Russia: Right to Life" >>



Steering Committees of the EU-Russia and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums Decide on Cooperation

On April 23-25, 2014, members of the EU-Russia CSF and the Eastern Partnership CSF met in Prague for a first joint session to discuss closer coordination of their activities. The meeting took place in the framework of a big international conference in Prague to mark the fifth anniversary of the EU's Eastern Partnership Programme in the midst of the Ukraine crisis and was held in the "Pyramida Hotel" near the Czech Foreign Ministry where the EU-Russia CSF was founded in 2011.

The EU-Russia CSF was represented by Steering Committee members Stefan Melle  (Berlin), Ksenia Vakhrusheva (St. Petersburg), Harry Hummel (The Hague), and Rostislav Valvoda (Prague). The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Programme (grouping Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) was headed by CSF-Director Natalia Yerashevich.  Overcoming initial scepticism, two CSFs agreed that cooperation and coordination on a civil society level was urgently needed in times of military confrontation and a historic rift between Russia and its neighbours.

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Kick-Off Meetings
in Moscow

Representatives of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum Steering Committee and Consortium members spent last week attending two "kick-off" meetings crucial for the future development of the Forum after receiving new funding from the European Commission for the period running until July  31, 2015.

Forum representatives first took part in a seminar for the launch of new projects financed within the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) held at the EU Delegation to Russia on April 1-2, 2014.

This was followed by the Forum's own internal Consortium meeting at the Sakharov Centre on April 3-4, 2014: The discussion was focused on the CSF's future development in the framework of the new 18-month EU project launched on February 1, 2014.

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New CSF Secretariat Structure

In March 2014, the Secretariat of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum was established in Berlin, Germany (at the German-Russian Exchange). Its main target is to coordinate Forum's everyday work.

As the CSF Executive Director, Barbara von Ow-Freytag, political scientist and journalist, will be serving until June 2014, followed up by Anna Sevortian, an expereinced specialist in the field of civil society and human rights.

Stefan Melle, journalist and Russia expert, Director of the German-Russian Exchange, has the position of the Head of the Consortium, while another associate of the organisation - Kristina Smolijaninovaitė - takes the responsibilities of the Project Co-Ordinator.

Sergei Tereshenkov, public activist, political writer, PR & GR specialist, moves to Berlin as the Forum's PR Co-Ordinator, whereas Katarzyna Nowak, a professional for financial issues, especially within the NGO sector, accepted the position of the Financial Manager.           

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Statement "On the European Commission Proposal on Amendments to EU Visa Policy"

The Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum with great satisfaction welcome the proposal made by the European Commission to introduce amendments liberalising the EU visa policy towards third states, including those in the post-Soviet area.

The proposed amendments are a substantial step towards making EU visa policy more friendly. They are a vital political signal at a time of increased confrontation and fully correspond to demands raised by the EU-Russia CSF. The CSF Visa sub-group has worked out assessments of EU visa policies and submitted detailed recommendations addressed to EU decision-makers.

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Sub-Grant Programme for Joint Projects of the Forum Members

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum (CSF) announces a call for applications for support of joint projects of CSF members within the framework of a new CSF Sub-Grant Programme. The CSF Sub-Grant Programme is part of the Forum’s current project “Continuation and Development of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum” implemented in 2014-2015 by the CSF Consortium and supported by the European Commission. It is subject to EC sub-grant rules. The programme’s objective is provision of financial support for implementation of maximum 6 joint projects with a sum of up to € 16,000 each.

Deadline: May 31, 2014, 10 p.m. CET, 12 p.m. MSK

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Another Positive Court Decision for the "Perm Youth Memorial"

On March 26, 2014, the Perm Regional Court completed its examination of the case brought against the "Perm Youth Memorial" on the violation of the "foreign agents'" law.

Robert Latypov, Co-Chair of the "Youth Memorial": 'For us as well as for our collegues, it is crucial to protect our good name and continue to fulfil our mission in favour of our country and our fellow citizens. It is an absurd to blame us in conducting political activities at the expense of the interests of the state. Better read about our real work and its results before saying that nonsense."


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Suspension of "EcoWatch" Activities

Since March 21, 2014, activities of the Public organisation "Ecological Watch for Northern Caucasus" (EcoWatch) are suspended in accordance with Article 42 of the Law "On Public Associations". This was reported by Bella Meretukova, the Head of the Division for NGO Affairs of the Department of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for the Republic of Adygea.

According to the official from the Department of the MoJ for the Republic of Adygea, should the leaders of "EcoWatch" ignore the MoJ's decision to suspend activities, the MoJ will have the right to go to court on liquidation of the public organization.


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Call for Applications: Annual Conference "Ecology of Russia: Right to Life""


Environmental Right Centre "Bellona" announces the opening of registration for the 4th Annual Conference on Protection of Environmental Rights "Ecology of Russia: the right to life"

The conference will gather leaders from different Russian environmental organisations, activists, experts, journalists, university professors, students, and environmentalists. This conference has become a place for sharing experiences, information and joint actions for the protection of environmental rights of Russian citizens. 

Date: May 28-30, 2014


Venue: Pushkin (St. Petersburg), Russia

Deadline for registration: May 12, 2014.

Preliminary programme and registration form (in Russian) are available here.


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