EU backs integration of Russian-speaking minorities

The European Commission supports the efforts of EU members to help Russian-speaking minorities living in their countries to integrate . This was announced at the opening of the first European-Russian forum in Strasbourg on Monday.

The problem of national minorities is a key human rights issue for Russia and the EU, and plays a vital role in relations between the two.

Russia's EU representative, Vladimir Chizhov, said the forum would be a new platform for the development of these relations.

A European Commission representative also noted that the EU encourages the study of the Russian language in its member states as a way of strengthening cultural ties.