Over the past two days, a delegation of four S&D MEPs: Knut Fleckenstein (DE), Liisa Jaakonsaari (FI), Eugen Freund (AT) and Georgi Pirinski (BG) met with Russian parliamentarians in Belgrade in order to discuss topics of common interest. Parliamentarians have met for the third time in this format since last year. After having discussed challenges related to globalisation, climate change and terrorism, this time parliamentarians tackled the more technical and difficult issues of digitalisation and cyber security. Discussions once more highlighted the need for inter-parliamentary dialogue, particularly on issues that have global impact such as the digitalisation of professional and private spheres and concerns over cyber security.
S&D spokesperson on foreign affairs, Knut Fleckenstein, who led the delegation to Belgrade, said:
"We have always pleaded to maintain channels of dialogue open, particularly on the inter-parliamentary level, and despite tensions in EU-Russia relations related to the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing political and military de-stabilisation of Eastern Ukraine. It is only when discussing with each other that we can understand each other's perspectives, address mutual misperceptions, clarify differences and identify potential areas for common action. We hope that during the European Parliament's next legislative term conditions will allow to re-start the formal work of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee."