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 is very keen to engage with youth on sustainable development as we are preparing to give input and participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that will take place in 20-22 June in Rio de Janeiro. This Conference is a crucial opportunity to send a clear message for a global change towards a green and sustainable economy and poverty eradication.
The five ideas are a distillation of the dreams and aspirations encountered across Europe. Concrete proposals on democracy, employment, rights, education, and the European public sphere.