The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will attend the EU-Russia summit in London on 4 October. The meeting will be hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair and attended by President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other Russian Ministers. The chief focus of the Summit is implementation of the four “common spaces” agreed at the last EU-Russia Summit in May. These encompass a wide range of policy areas from economic issues to environment and energy, security matters, culture and education. The leaders will look ahead to the future of the EU-Russia relationship and the current Partnership and Co operation Agreement. Intensive work is underway to make maximum progress on two agreements on visa facilitation and readmission ahead of the Summit
Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said: “Our close friendship with Russia is taking another important step forward. We will start implementation of the four common spaces which will further strengthen our relationship. Agreements on visa facilitation and readmission will be a very important example of the concrete benefits that the European Union – Russia relationship can bring to our citizens”.
The Common Economic Space (CES) aims to bring down barriers to trade and investment and promote reform, in large part by bringing Russian and EU legislation and administrative procedures closer together.
The Summit will discuss ways to intensify cooperation by establishing a number of dialogues on aspects of industrial and economic policy. Other areas where closer cooperation is being developed include veterinary and phytosanitary issues, space policy, satellite navigation and telecommunications and information society, as well as transport related issues. The EU will raise the issue of the phasing out of Siberian overflight payments.
This Summit will have a particular emphasis on Energy and Environmental issues. Leaders will discuss climate change, the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, and how to continue international cooperation after the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
The first meeting of the Energy Permanent Partnership Council, will be held on the eve of the Summit. Cooperation between the EU and Russia covers issues such as energy security, energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, investments and trade-related energy issues.
The EU–Russia Industrialists’ Round Table will also meet on 3 October in London. This forum pays particular attention to some major sectors covered by the Common Economic Space, notably the energy, transport, telecommunications sectors.
The Common Space on Freedom, Security and Justice envisages agreements on visa facilitation and readmission (the taking back of people found to be illegally on the territory of the other party). A few technical questions remain, and negotiators are still seeking solutions ahead of the Summit.
Implementation of this Space will also address the fight against terrorism, law enforcement, migration and border management. In this context human rights are also likely to be discussed including the situation in Chechnya and the wider North Caucasus.
The Commission has prepared a € 20M TACIS Action Programme for socio-economic recovery of the North Caucasus, focussing on health, education and job creation, in agreement with the Russian authorities.
Regarding the Common Space on External Security the situation in areas such as Belarus, Transnistria, Uzbekistan and Georgia will be raised. Talks will also touch on the Middle East, Iran, the follow-up to the UN Summit, the Western Balkans and the prospects for OSCE reform.
Under the Common Space on Research, Education and Culture, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and Foreign Minister Lavrov are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the European Studies Institute in Moscow.