10/2012: St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG GENERAL ASSEMBLY
9-10 OCTOBER 2012

For the first time in its history, the Forum held its General Assembly in Russia, which addressed the issues of EU-Russia relationship, the role of civil society in fostering EU-Russia dialogue, as well as produced policy recommendations for the upcoming EU-Russia Summit. Along with high level EU and Russian officials, Forum participants represented well know civil society organisations such as BELLONA Environmental Rights Center (Russia), Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia), Committee Against Torture (Russia), EU-Russia Centre (Belgium), German

Russian Exchange (Germany), Golos (Russia), Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland), MitOst (Germany), NGO Development Centre (Russia), People in Need (Czech Republic), Public Verdict (Russia), Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland), among others.

The General Assembly discussed the EU-Russia relations in light of their “strategic partnership” and Russia’s accession to the WTO as well as considered different approaches the two sides have had on a number of issues (visa liberalisation, investigation into the activities of Gazprom, major foreign policy issues such as Syria).

Attention was also paid to the recent challenges civil societies face in Russia (new legislation which many fear will hamper the operations of NGOs in Russia) and the EU (NGOs under pressure from economic crisis). The aim of the Assembly was to discuss ways civil societies from Europe and Russia could cooperate and support one another in the challenging environment.

VENUE ACCOMODATION

Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden: Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden is a modern and cozy hotel near the city center. The hotel is located in a leafy park along one of the city’s main roads, Moskovsk yProspekt, which leads directly to Pulkovo International Airport. The hotel has 348 comfortable rooms, excellent meeting and conference facilities, cozy Fransmanni restaurant and a lively bar. There are plenty of shops and restaurants near the hotel, and the nearest metro station (Tehcnologicheskii Institute) is a mere 2 minute walk away. Due to its convenient location, Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden is an excellent choice for both business and leisure travellers.