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On 14-15th of October 2009 in Brussels a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate for European International Organizations Very Rev. Antoniy Ilyin took part in a joint seminar of the European economic and social committee of EU and the Public Council of Russia titled “A membership of the social committee in relations between EU and Russia”. The participants discussed a rôle of the civil society in the preparation of the future bilateral agreement related to strategic partnership between Russia and EU as well as social consequences of the economic crisis and the ways for its overcoming.

In the course of the seminar the participants pointed out the importance of the thesis about the civil society, which is to be included in the future agreement; a joint memorandum was signed. Also the participants decided to organize a bilateral advisory body for cooperation on the regular basis.

A secretary of the Russian Public Council, Academician E. V. Velikhov, a president Maio Sepi and the leading Russian political scientists and experts such as Prof. V. A. Nikhoniv, Prof. A. M. Migranyan, Academician V. A. Tishkov and the other representatives of various organizations took part in the seminar.

A brief address was delivered by the Very Rev. Antoniy Ilyin, who emphasized the importance of such attempts to organize different commissions of experts. He pointed out that it is necessary to invite such an important institution of the civil society of the Russian Federation as the Russian Orthodox Church for discussion. He also reminded that the rôle of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is immense for the Eastern European region, because its positive and unique influence upon the civil societies of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.