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Brussels, 25 June 2008

EU-Russia Summit on 26-27 June in Khanty Mansiisk to launch negotiations of the new framework agreement

This year’s EU-Russia Summit, the first with President Dmitri Medvedev, will take place in Khanty-Mansiisk, Siberia, on 26 and 27 June. One of the centrepieces of this Summit will be the official launch of negotiations on the new agreement with Russia. This new agreement presents an opportunity to update the legal framework underpinning the EU-Russia relationship, to reflect the substantial changes that both Russia and the EU have undergone since concluding the first Partnership Cooperation Agreement in the early 1990s. As an important global player, Russia is a vital partner for the EU in addressing global challenges and therefore topics such as Food Security, Energy Security, Climate Change, as well as the development of the world economy, are high on the agenda. Foreign policy issues will also be discussed during the Summit, such as the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine, Georgia and the Common neighbourhood. Participants from the side of the Commission will be the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and Commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner (External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy) and Peter Mandelson (Trade).

Prior to the Summit, President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, said: “I look forward to this Summit with President Medvedev, as it comes at a crucial moment for both Russia and the EU. Our economies are increasingly interdependent. The negotiation of a New Agreement provides a good opportunity to develop the potential of our strategic partnership.”

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner added: “This Summit with Russia will lay the foundations for a constructive relationship with the new administration, defending our values and promoting our growing mutual interests. I look forward to starting work on negotiations for the new agreement, which will help us unlock the full potential of our relationship. The Summit is also an opportunity to discuss with Russia the need for non-confrontational solutions to the frozen conflicts in our common neighbourhood.”

The Summit will see the launch of negotiations for the new EU-Russia Agreement for which the mandate was adopted by the EU Council of Ministers on 26 May 2008. The new Agreement will cover results-orientated political co-operation, the perspective of deep economic integration, a level playing field for energy relations based on the principles of the Energy Charter, closer relations in the field freedom, security and justice, and a mutual opening of the educational and scientific systems. The new agreement will build upon the current four Common Spaces, which are: Common Economic Space; Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice; Common Space of External Security and the Common Space of Research and Education.

The Summit will also look at issues of global concern, such as the stability of financial markets, the rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds, climate change and global warming, energy security and the current food crisis. This will be an opportunity for the EU and Russia to compare assessments of and approaches to these developments, as well as to see what scope there might be to work together more closely.

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