Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#13 - JRL 2009-96 - JRL Home
May 22, 2009
[Medvedev] Press Statements following Russia–EU Summit

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the media,

I would like to begin by summing up the results of the Russia-EU summit that has just ended. First of all, I think that the choice of venue, so far from central Europe, created a unique and special atmosphere that our European friends will remember, I hope. I think that this atmosphere helped us to discuss openly and constructively all of the different areas of Russian-European cooperation: issues on which we share one and the same position, and issues on which our views differ. At any rate, I think that we will continue to choose different regions as venues for our summits. I think that this is a very productive practice and I hope it will continue. Russia is a big country and has even more remote and hard-to-reach corners.

We discussed all the current issues on the global agenda today. We began with the financial crisis over dinner last night, discussed the measures our countries are taking. It seems to us quite evident that, unfortunately, no one has a full understanding of exactly how this crisis will develop. This would be an achievement worthy of the highest prizes. At the moment, we are forced to respond to circumstances as they arise. But we have nonetheless produced some results over these last months. There have been the consultations between Russia and the European Union and of course the results of the G-20 summit of the world’s biggest economies. In any event, this work will continue.

We had an extensive discussion on energy security issues, including the Russian Federation’s recent proposal to establish a new legal foundation for international cooperation. It seemed to me that our European colleagues show interest in these ideas. I hope that we will continue our discussions in this area. This is clearly in the European continent’s interests.

We took a close look at the regular issues on our agenda such as implementing the roadmaps approved back in 2005. We see progress in this area as the main mechanism for cooperation between the Russian Federation and the European Union. I am referring to the four common European spaces: the common economic space; freedom, security and justice; external, that is, international security; and science, education and culture. We want to continue the work in this area and broaden as much as possible our constructive cooperation on all of these issues.

We also discussed our strategic dialogue. Of course, we looked at the issue of the new basic agreement that is to replace the current Russia-European Union Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Overall, despite the brief delay we had along the way, we are happy with the pace at which things are progressing now. In itself, the work on this agreement facilitates rapprochement between our positions on various important current issues, and we hope that we will continue to make headway. We hope that the work on settling and approving the main conditions will go ahead smoothly and will take into account our countries’ interests.

Existing cooperation mechanisms were another important and productive subject of discussion. We think that these mechanisms have proved their worth overall, both during quiet periods and crisis moments. I think that the European Union accomplished much during the crisis period in the Caucasus last August. The EU showed that it has sufficient means at its disposal for responding to crises that arise. But there is never any complete guarantee against future crises of this kind, and in our view, if we want to prevent such crises we need to put in place the legal foundations for anti-crisis action. The new European security treaty would give us just such a foundation.

We exchanged views on current international issues, in particular on the unresolved conflict situations in Europe. I am referring of course to Cyprus, Kosovo, the security problems in the Caucasus, and the situation with Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We discussed developments in the situation in Moldova, and also looked at the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear programme, and the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was a frank and constructive discussion. We all have an interest in these issues and on many points we share close positions, something I think is very positive, and also very important for resolving these various problems. We do have our differences on some issues, of course, but this does not stop us from continuing our discussions and looking for constructive ways to settle our differences.

Overall, I want to say that we have no doubt as to the strategic nature of the partnership between Russia and the European Union. We think that this kind of partnership enables us to respond to the most complex challenges and resolve even the most complex problems, including the financial and economic crisis. We will continue to work together to develop our economic relations, fight international terrorism and trans-border crime, and address other threats to humanity’s development. Overall therefore, I want to say that I am happy with the results of our work today.