Open Europe experts search for cooperation with Russia

RIGA, Latvia, Oct. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ‘Open Europe’ expert club carried out an online discussion ‘European Dialogue: New Format’…

RIGA, Latvia, Oct. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ‘Open Europe’ expert club carried out an online discussion ‘European Dialogue: New Format’ to talk about the EU-Russia relations. The expert club was founded by Ruslan Pankratov, leader of Latvian ‘Rīcības’ («Action») political party, to give the floor to politicians, diplomats and academics and share the outcomes with the EU institutions. Many Europeans lately have been going through stress and pressure related to the pandemic and economic decrease, while new sanctions and active spread of propaganda in the media targeted at their eastern neighbour and consequent militarization, more noted in the Baltic states with a significant percent of Russian-speaking population, is adding challenges within the EU.

The event was attended by experts from Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Latvia. Ruslan Pankratov started off highlighting the difficulties that the Russian-speaking minorities are facing in the Baltic States, mentioning the list of rights that they are deprived of, which consists of 82 points. Ongoing militarization and brain drain are not encouraged to talk about in the public space, as the new legislation promotes controversial official policies and ‘truths’, not shared by many citizens, and is enforced by censorship mechanisms.

Edikas Jageayvichus, a board member of the Socialist Front of Lithuania, added some concerns regarding the freedom of speech in Lithuania, speaking about political figures and citizens being interrogated and even arrested for their political views and doing business with Russia.     

Fernando Cabrita, writer, journalist, lawyer and International Criminal Court expert explained that the people of the EU and Russia are negatively affected by the Cold War mentality and myths spread in the media. He suggested building bridges through people-to-people diplomacy and fostering the cultural ties. 

Gregoire Tolsloy, honorary member of Peter the Great Foundation, direct descendant of the famous author of ‘War and Peace’, Leo Tolstoy,  shared his impressions about the awareness about Russia in Brussels, saying that he expected deeper knowledge of Russia from the European diplomats, which could have made official dialogue more effective, and suggested to re-establish civil servants exchanges and study visits to improve the mutual understanding.

Professor Roberto de Primis, Italian diplomat, representative of Belgium in the UN has named the carbon tax as an issue that can challenge EU relations with Russia in the future even more than sanctions. The new laws taking action in 2026 will imply major changes in the structure of economics, new rules and regulations for major industries (energy, agriculture, metal industry and production). Areas that could serve as a cooperation basis: climate change and collaboration for peace, security and development of the African continent. «Russia is always a dilemma for European countries, on the one hand EU is willing to have strategic partnership with its neighbor, on the other there is still quite a lot of the Cold war heritage and influence of the USA that wouldn’t allow to build the future together,» Roberto concluded.

Experts intend to continue discussions in this format and share the reports with the officials promoting strategic cooperation goals.

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SOURCE Open Europe