On October 7, 2014 ADC “Memorial” took part in a seminar “Position and role of civil society in the European Union and Russia”, which was organized by European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) together with Civil Forum EU-Russia. The main topic of discussions was the influence of civil society on the development of social and economic policies at local and state levels, that is, exactly the type of activities that many Russian NGOs are now being accused of and forced to get listed in the register of “foreign agents”. Organizers of the seminar have a different view of this, though: EU’s official bodies, including EESC, are interested in developing cooperation with employers, trade unions and non-governmental organizations.
First session was devoted to discussions about the role of independent monitoring of political events and reporting about them, while the second session dealt with the problem of strengthening relations between European and Russian civil societies and the third with responsibility of the state for ecological and social situation. Sergey Mikheyev, expert of ADC “Memorial”, while talking about social responsibilities of state and business, stressed the situation of discrimination of Roma people and labor migrants in Russian Federation and violation of their socio-economic rights. His speech was received with great interest because the situation of Roma people in the European Union is also troublesome. Other noteworthy reports at this session included presentation made by Yelena Gerasimova of the Center for social and labor rights concerning the situation of civil society in Russia, as well as a report by Estonian member of European Economic and Social Committee Mell Hallam, who spoke about a coalition between the laborers and an NGO, which monitors implementation of the decisions and promises made by Estonian authorities.