25 September 2020
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936 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     928 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities


Russia and the European Union are strategic partners who depend on each other in a wide range of fields, including economy, national and  global security, and, in the final count, bear the primary responsibility for the situation in Europe and outside it. 

The main instrument regulating relations between Russia and the EU is the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement signed on 24 June 1994 and envisaging the development of advanced relations in politics, economy,  trade, justice, domestic affairs and humanities. In May 2003 at the St Petersburg summit Russia and the EU adopted a strategic framework for creation ofcommon spaces in four policy areas – the Common Economic Space, the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice, the Common Space of External Security, the Common Space of Research and Education, including cultural aspects. Implementation of the “road maps” on formation of the common spaces envisaged at the 2005 Moscow summit is the key tool for strengthening the cooperation between the sides. 

At the 2005 London summit Russia and the EU fixed the need to renew the existing contractual legal framework, which failed to meet the ambitious goal to create the four common spaces and to reflect the real depth of cooperation in general. In May 2006 the sides made a political decision to work out a new frame document to introduce specifics in the existing idea of strategic cooperation and create effective mechanisms for its practical implementation. Negotiations on the future agreement started in 2008 and are under way. 

Of course, the potential of Russia-EU partnership is still to be tapped. The main areas for the near-term include visa waiver for Russian and European citizens going on short trips, establishment of a more effective and result-oriented interaction in the sphere of foreign policy and security, including crisis management, harmonisation of integrational processes in Europe and Eurasia, creation of mutually advantageous and sustainable conditions for cooperation in energy. All these steps are to lead to the implementation of the strategic task – creation of a common economic and human space from The Atlantic to the Pacific. 

The European Union is one of Russia’s strategic economic partners. Trade and investment cooperation between the sides is developing in a rather dynamic way. About 50% of Russia’s foreign trade is carried on with the European Union. Russia is the third largest partner of the European Union following the US and China and is the top supplier of oil and petrochemicals. At year end 2011, mutual turnover exceeded the pre-crisis level of 2008, coming to USD 394 bn. In December 2011, the accumulated investment of the EU in the Russian economy reached  USD 261.8 bn (with direct investment of USD 110.7 bn) and Russia’s accumulated investment in the EU totalled USD 64.7 bn (with direct investment USD 46.7 bn). Today Russia and the EU take active part in elaboration on common approaches to the strategy and tactics of the global crisis management via bilateral dialogue and within international structures. Presently, implementation of the “road maps” is the core effort the Russia-EU cooperation. 15 sectorial dialogues have been launched in the framework of the first “road map” being the key format of expert cooperation involving inter-agency coordination and close contacts with the business community of Russia and the EU which gives broad opportunities for widening business participation and streamlining our cooperation. 

The joint initiative “Partnership for modernization” launched at the summit in Rostov-on-Don on 1 June 2010 is the leading format of cooperation aimed at bringing innovation and high technology in the bilateral economic relations. This initiative aspires to create a diversified, competitive and low-carbon economy, liberalise the global trade, promote scientific research cooperation, improve investment and social climate and facilitate people-to-people contacts. 23 EU countries have signed bilateral declarations on modernisation  cooperation with Russia. To provide a financial base for the initiative Vnesheconombank, the IBRD and the European Investment Bank signed memoranda of understanding envisaging allocation of up to EUR 2 bn of credit recourses. 

The partnership between Russia and the EU is largely defined by energy. Russia makes a significant contribution in improvement of energy security in Europe. The launch of the first pipeline of Nord Stream and the acceleration of South Stream construction are among the main achievements in this area. There are plans to create a common energy market for Russia and the EU. Russia’s and the Baltic states have opened negotiations on synchronization of their energy systems. In the course of the WTO negotiations Russia and the EU have managed to eliminate a large number of problems, which demonstrates the mutual desire to seek compromise. Persistent problem issues in Russia-EU relations in many ways result from Europe’s tendency to project changes in its law on third countries, including Russia. Thus, the Third energy package of the EU remains a concern, as it would infringe on the interests of Russian corporate sector and erode energy security on the European continent. Russia is also concerned with the unilateral steps of the EU leaders to include aviation into the quotas trade system without the approval 
of the ICAO. Unfortunately, the European Union still attempts to force the implementation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline disregarding the international law and environmental implications. 

However, Russia does not dramatise the existing difficulties being certain that mutually acceptable solutions are possible without excessive politisation of the talks and with regard to the strategic character of our partnership.