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The Political Symposium is being held from 25 till 28 August and it has again gathered presidents and ministers of many countries, but also political thinkers and experts.
As part of the Political Symposium, the European Forum Alpbach and the European External Action Service brought on August 26th and 27th group of decision makers, political scientists and specialists for an in-depth discussion on EU-Russia relations.
The discussions were partly be based on the results elaborated by the EU-Russia Expert Network on Foreign Policy (EUREN), which has since its inception by the EU Delegation to the Russian Federation at the beginning of 2016 grown into a trustful dialogue and a platform for regular meetings of experts from both sides which feeds the official political dialogue. The EUREN featured several experts at the Forum. EUREN is run by the EU Delegation to the Russian Federation in the framework of the "Public Diplomacy EU and Russia" Project and the Russian International Affairs Council. For the time the EUREN held ten meetings and it published a series of EUREN Chronicles, while the publication of a report on the preliminary results, which was presented at one of the sessions of the European forum Alpbach, is expected in early autumn this year.
On 26 and 27 August, the EUREN presented its program at the forum.The debates involved experienced practitioners such as Thomas Greminger, Secretary General of the OSCE, Karin Kneissl, Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Markus Ederer, the EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation, and leading scholars like Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow, Sabine Fischer, Head of the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, Kadri Liik, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. They took stock of the bilateral contested issues, as for example on EU's and Russia's approaches towards specific countries and unresolved conflicts in the neighborhood. Concurrently, participants analyzed the risks for further deterioration, explored spaces for cooperation and examined the possibilities of providing future frameworks for the EU-Russia relationship.
Photo ©Steven Blockmans