The objective of the own-initiative opinion is to analyse the state of affairs of civil society in Russia and to elaborate recommendations on how the EU and EU civil society organization can contribute for improving the working conditions for civil society organizations in Russia and for the strengthening of genuine civil and social dialogue.
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 opinion will look at the issues related to economic, social, environmental and human dimensions of the growing use of the Arctic wealth, potential role of the civil society in voicing the interests of the groups involved as well as in supporting the position of the EU in the dialogue with international partners concerned.
L'avis se penchera sur les questions relatives aux dimensions économique, sociale, environnementale et humaine du caractère croissant de l'utilisation des richesses de l'Arctique, et sur le rôle potentiel de la société civile pour exprimer les intérêts des groupes concernés ainsi que pour soutenir la position de l'UE dans le cadre du dialogue avec les partenaires internationaux concernés.
The Neighbourhood policy is high on the agenda of the EESC's external relations priorities. This opinion will provide the contribution of the Committee to this consultation process as a first step, to be followed by a reaction to the Commission document that will be issued in the 2nd semester of 2015.
The opinion will provide an opportunity to get the views of Albanian civil society organisations in the course of a study visit to Albania.