16th German-Russian Youth Forum
The forum was attended by 40 young people and youth workers from Germany and Russia. This time, the programme focused on sustainability and the UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs) in current German-Russian cooperation. In addition, the participants dealt with current German-Russian relations.
The participants discussed not only with each other, but also with politicians* and decision-makers*. In the Federal Foreign Office we met with Dirk Wiese, coordinator for inter-societal cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the countries of the Eastern Partnership. He promised to work to ensure that young people and young adults were exempted from visas. We very much welcome this, because the hurdles here are currently high.
The subject of visas was also part of the conversation with the Russian ambassador Sergei Netschaev. We discussed with him how obstacles in the German-Russian youth exchange can be removed. The effort and administrative costs for visas are high. In Russia, some young people have to travel 500 kilometres to apply for a visa. A personal application with fingerprint of all group members* is required.
In an interview with Frank Schwabe, member of the Bundestag, the cuts in the youth sector in the Council of Europe were discussed. We appealed to him to work for the preservation of the youth section as an equal part of the Council of Europe structures and to advocate an increase in Council of Europe contributions.
The participants discussed the SDGs in workshops. The focus was on the SDGs on peace, justice and strong institutions, on climate protection and sustainability, and on education. The Russian SDG youth representatives* and the German youth delegates for sustainable development presented their programmes and work.