#12 - JRL 2009-212 - JRL Home
November 18, 2009
[Medvedev] Press Statement Following EU-Russia Summit


We just concluded the EU-Russia summit. This was a special summit in several ways.

It is true that this summit, which we have been holding over the last several years, essentially heralds the 20th anniversary since the ties between Russia, at that time the Soviet Union, and what was then the European Economic Community were established. At that point, this was certainly a very significant, pivotal event.

Our summit is also taking place 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which divided the people of Europe, first and foremost the people of Germany. We just recently marked the anniversary of this highly important event in Germany, with participation of our colleagues who are here today, recognizing it as one of the most important historical moments in the unification of Europe.

In these two decades, the world has changed radically, and summits such as this one here in Stockholm are no longer surprising to anyone. On the contrary, these summits have become routine; but that does not make them any less important.

I would like to say that I am quite content with the results this summit has produced. We were able to cover the entire range of issues traditionally discussed during EU-Russia summits, and at the same time, we did this in an entirely constructive way, without going into emotions or additional problems, which were sometimes conducive to such meetings, and sometimes counterproductive.

I would like to thank Mr Prime Minister for the input Sweden has made into hosting this summit and for the bilateral talks that we held. I think that Mr Prime Minister has already described the key issues we worked on. Nonetheless, I will make a few comments.

Naturally, the economic aspect of our relations is very important. We discussed the work in the “four areas” [of cooperation], a topic traditionally covered in any of the talks, an area which is important for reaching agreements between our nations.

We also talked about visa problems and agreed that the existing visa issuing system hinders, speaking objectively, normal exchanges between businessmen and ordinary people. It simply creates problems for those who want to visit our nation. I feel that we must continue our work on streamlining the process of obtaining both ordinary visas and long-term visas involving work permits.

We spoke about negotiations on the framework agreement between Russia and the European Union: here things are progressing quite nicely. We have already held six sessions since we met at the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiisk, where we gave the go-ahead to this work; we are now finalising the document itself, going though every paragraph and every section. I hope that we will soon have the final version of these arrangements.

Naturally, certain compromises are necessary, and in this respect the summit in Stockholm has demonstrated that all the parties involved are ready to make such compromises, and this is the only way we can reach a normal agreement.

We spoke about developing large-scale economic projects, including ones related to energy cooperation, building energy security, and ensuring energy security in Europe. In this regard, I feel that we found a mutual understanding, which is good, because unless we reach an agreement on these issues, it is impossible to imagine things being normal in Europe. And, of course, ensuring energy security will largely depend on the kind of regulatory instruments we use.

I once again reminded our partners of the energy initiative Russia has come up with as a supplement to the existing energy documents, including the Energy Charter Treaty. Once again, I believe that we must continue the exchange of opinions on this topic, in order to develop a high-quality international foundation for energy cooperation in the future. This is particularly true now that we have achieved some very good results in promoting large energy projects; I am referring, of course, to North Stream and South Stream.

As for the other issues we discussed, naturally, we discussed the issues on the international agenda; we discussed Iran’s nuclear programme, and the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In my view, we are cooperating very effectively on these issues with the European Union and the United States, so in this regard our positions have almost no differences.

We also discussed problems related to the South Caucasus region. I can tell you honestly that in this area, our positions do not converge, and this must be admitted openly. We still have differences, but that is not the reason to dramatise the situation. We need to move our positions closer together, to find ways to stabilise a rather complicated situation that currently exists in the South Caucasus.

There are also good approaches and good examples of cooperation. In particular, we discussed the process taking place between Azerbaijan and Armenia in settling the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. And this is a good example of how we can cooperate, or how we could have cooperated if the known act of aggression had not taken place last year.

We spoke about one other subject that I would also like to support: cooperation on climate change. We expressed absolutely identical concerns in this area, as well as a completely concordant desire to promote cooperation as actively as possible.

Russia has always been in the mainstream of European ideas on what should be done to tackle climate change. Currently, our goal is to convince some of our other colleagues that cooperation in this area is timely, relevant, and crucial.

All this must be done ahead of the conference in Copenhagen which, I hope, will be successful. Although we have not yet agreed on a legally-binding agreement, we have generally agreed on how we will conduct our work.

Summing up what has been said, I would like to say that I am happy with the work we have done. I also want to mention that this was the last summit held under the old rules ­ the next one will be held in a slightly different format.

We do not yet know who the European participants in the next summit will be, but we hope that we will maintain continuity. And naturally, we hope that a steadier system of holding summits along with a stable system of presiding over the European Union will contribute to strengthening our relations. We are all at the threshold of change. Tomorrow is a special day for our European Union partners, and I wish them success.

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