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The EESC's engagement with civil society organisations in Russia is governed by the five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations agreed between EU foreign ministers and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One of these guiding principles is "support for people-to-people contacts".
Dialogue and the exchange of experiences between civil society representatives from the EU and Russia contribute in a significant way to the continued implementation of the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership. The EESC has adopted a two-stranded approach to its relations with Russian civil society in order to engage with as wide a range of civil society representatives as possible. On the one hand, it maintains relations with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, its official Russian counterpart, and organises – amongst other things – annual joint seminars on topics of interest to civil society on both sides. The EESC's other partner is the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which brings together a different set of civil society organisations.
The EU-Russia Follow-up Committee is an internal EESC body, which acts as a steering group, and is responsible for developing and maintaining relations and organising meetings and joint seminars with civil society in Russia.
The European Economic and Social Committee and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation held their seventh joint seminar in Brussels on 27 September 2017. Both sides highlighted that civil society has an instrumental role to play in contributing to sustainable economic, social and cultural development, democracy and human rights, and fostering people-to-people contacts – one of the guiding principles underpinning the EU's engagement with Russia.
The 7th Joint Seminar of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (CCRF) will bring together EESC members and representatives of their Russian counterpart, representatives of the European Commission, experts and academics, to discuss cooperation in the areas of higher education and rural development. During four thematic sessions, participants will focus on EU-Russia cooperation in the fields of science, research and innovation; aligning higher education in the EU and Russia (the Bologna Process) and Erasmus+, on narrowing the gaps between rural and urban areas, and on cross-border cooperation for businesses and SMEs.
On 30 and 31 March, 100 students and 39 teachers from all 28 EU Member States and the five EU candidate countries (Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) met at the EESC in Brussels for “Your Europe, Your Say!” 2017. This year's theme was “Europe @ 60: Where to next?”.
Since 1987, the Erasmus exchange programme has had a major impact on the lives of more than 9 million EU citizens by allowing them to take part in multicultural exchanges and develop new skills. At an event organized by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) on 18 May, Erasmus was recognized as a milestone in the creation of a European identity. The event was celebrated on ...