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Brussels, 16 May 2007
Commission President José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the EU-Russia Summit in Volzhsky Utyos, Samara region of Russia, on 17-18 May 2007. Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Presidency Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Government Ministers including Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will also attend. The main topics on the agenda will be the current state of EU-Russia relations and a number of topical international issues such as Kosovo, the Middle East and Iran.
President Barroso said: “We need to continue to develop our strategic partnership. Together, we have a key role to play in addressing some of the main global challenges such as energy security, climate change and the search for peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world and in our common neighbourhood. The EU remains fully committed to Russia’s early accession to the WTO. A more diversified Russian economy will unlock new opportunities to fully exploit the potential of our relationship. Our interdependence in the energy field requires us to push for deeper cooperation based on transparent principles.”
He added “I hope the Summit will highlight that, whatever our current difficulties may be, there is a wide range of practical cooperation ongoing with Russia under the Common Spaces Road Maps. The EU wants constructive cooperation and we expect Russia to engage with the EU as a whole. The Summit should in particular give visibility and provide new impetus for people-to-people contacts, which are so important for improving mutual understanding.”
The Summit will cover:
The four Common Space Road Maps agreed in May 2005 set out the current work programme for developing EU-Russia relations.
The Common Economic Space includes co-operation on a wide range of issues including agriculture, transport, energy, environment, and space technology, as well as fair and reciprocal access to resources, infrastructures and markets.
In the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice, great importance is attached to further facilitate travel and people-to-people-contacts. Conditions for mutual visa-free travel as a long-term perspective will be examined. Further, to relieve traffic congestion at EU/Russia borders by rationalising administrative measures, electronic exchanges of customs information and improvement of infrastructure, and increasing cooperation on fighting trafficking and organized crime.
In the Common Space on External Security, the EU and Russia conduct an intensified dialogue on international issues and the EU-Russia common neighbourhood. Other areas include the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation, crisis management and civil protection.
In the Common Space on Research, Education and Culture, a jointly financed European Studies Institute opened in 2006. In the future, successful cooperation in science and education should include more flagship research projects for sustainable economic development and pressing global issues. The protection and promotion of cultural diversity and common values is very important to both sides.
The EU's relations with Russia: