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Welcome from the Chair

MEP Othmar Karas Russian Delegation Chair MEP Othmar Karas Russian Delegation Chair
MEP Othmar Karas Russian Delegation Chair © EP
In my position as Chair of the Delegation, I warmly welcome you to the website of the European Parliament's Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (D-RU).

As the EU's largest neighbour and a key player at global scale, it is in the interest of the EU to establish mutually-beneficial relations with Russia. These include a wide range of areas including foreign policy, security, economy, energy, environment, research and education, culture and sciences as well as the facilitation of people-to-people contacts.

However, profound divergences between the EU and Russia on approaches towards our common neighbourhood have seriously affected EU-Russia relations. Since March 2014, in response to the Russian illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine, the EU has imposed restrictive measures against Russia, Russia has imposed counter-sanctions against the EU, and the European Parliament has discontinued inter-parliamentary relations with the Russian Federal Assembly.

In the current context, I preside over regular meetings of the Delegation to reflect and debate on developments and themes of interest to the EU and Russia, with a view to finding solutions to current disputes and preparing the ground for positive changes in bilateral relations. The Delegation also plays an essential role in maintaining a channel for discussion and exchange with representatives of Russian civil society, non-governmental organisations and media.

I thank you for your interest in visiting the Delegation's website and I hope you will actively use it with a spirit open to dialogue between EU and Russian citizens.

Othmar Karas