Security and Personality Issues Prove Distracting at EU-Russia Summit

Security and Personality Issues Prove Distracting at EU-Russia Summit

At their June 26-27 summit in the Siberian town of Khanty-Mansiisk, located in the heart of Russia's energy industry, EU and Russia officially launched negotiations on a new EU-Russia Agreement. Although the formal agenda consisted mostly of economic and energy issues, the participants devoted considerable time to security questions as well as assessing how the presence of Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, might affect the negotiations.

For the past few years, Russian-EU relations have been addressed within the framework of four "common spaces" -- the Common Economic Space (covering economic issues and the environment); the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice (including human rights and visa issues); the Common Space of External Security (including crisis management and non-proliferation); and the Common Space of Research and Education (including cultural, scientific, and technological exchanges).

Each of these dimensions entails separate "roadmaps" aimed at making progress toward their realization. These agreements, adopted at the May 2005 EU-Russia summit in Moscow, provide guidance for additional sector-specific negotiations and typically involve a distinct set of Russian government agencies and European Commission directorates. The recently launched negotiations aim to replace the now-expired December 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which will remain in force pending a new accord.

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