Putin in Paris

It’s no coincidence that Vladimir Putin chose France for his first foreign visit as Prime Minister. The visit demonstrates the growing importance of the two countries’ bilateral relations, in the context of Russian-EU relations. Russia and the EU will begin negotiations next month for a new Cooperative Framework Agreement, and France assumes the EU presidency in July. In a sign, too, of how central civil nuclear energy has become to French foreign policy, Putin will be accompanied by the head of Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear agency, which is seeking to broaden its collaborative contracts with its French counterpart, Areva.