The first on-the-road meeting of the 'Russia in a United Europe' public committee began yesterday in Kaliningrad. The topic of the meeting is 'Kaliningrad: what next?' Participants in the meeting will include Richard Wright, the head of the European Commission's delegation in Russia, Vladimir Lukin, a deputy speaker in the State Duma, Vladimir Shcherbakov, the deputy president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Gediminas Kirkilas, the Lithuanian President's special representative for the Kaliningrad Region, Rimantas Sidlauskas, the Lithuanian Ambassador to Russia, Vytautas Zalys, the Lithuanian Consul General in the Kaliningrad Region, deputies from the State Duma and the Kaliningrad regional assembly, as well as politicians, businessmen, and officials from the regional administration.
The meeting will be chaired by Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma deputy and coordinator of the committee. Following the meeting, the participants are to draw up recommendations that will be passed on to the Russian and EU leadership. The meeting will see discussions on how agreements between Russia and the EU over Kaliningrad are being implemented and on the prospects for bilateral relations after EU expansion. Discussions on bilateral relations will focus on the Kaliningrad problem, the status of the Kaliningrad Region and problems in the region. The meeting's participants will discover how these problems are viewed by Moscow, Brussels, Vilnius, and, of course, Kaliningrad.
The 'Russia in a United Europe' committee was formed in November 2001 in Moscow. It is made up half of politicians, businessmen and state officials from Russia, and half of diplomatic representatives from the EU and Russia. The Kaliningrad Region's official representative on the committee is Governor Vladimir Yegorov.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.