EU-Russia Summit, Brussels 20-21 December 2012

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The 30th European Union-Russia Summit took place in Brussels on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 December 2012.

The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. Russia was represented by President Vladimir Putin. 

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, along with European Commissioners Günther Oettinger (Energy) and Karel De Gucht (Trade), also took part in the Summit on the European side. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Energy Alexander Novak and Minister for the Economy Andrei Belousov accompanied President Putin.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Herman Van Rompuy said: “The hosting of our 30th summit is tribute to the indispensable nature of our partnership and is once again an important opportunity to take stock of progress and to discuss open issues and concerns across the broad span of EU-Russia relations. We have good prospects for enhancing our solid political cooperation […] alongside concerns over developments affecting civil society and fundamental rights. We want to deepen our cooperation at a global level […] - together the EU and Russia can make a decisive contribution to global governance and regional conflict resolution.

José Manuel Barroso said: “The value of close EU-Russia cooperation is clear to all - our regular exchanges are a sign of this. We share a continent and many common interests, which is why we want to develop this strategic partnership further. A comprehensive New Agreement should provide the best basis for us to move forward towards our common goals, while respecting our values. Mutual benefit and mutual respect are the basis of our cooperation. We need to build on the progress achieved so far and on our international commitments, be it on trade as WTO members, energy or transport. In other areas, like science and research, our very good cooperation should be developed further. At this summit I also look forward to discussing progress made on our mobility agenda."

On the Agenda

Leaders discussed the political and economic situation in Russia and in the EU, along with strategic perspectives for EU-Russia relations. A wide range of bilateral issues were on the agenda, including work on the New EU-Russia Agreement; the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernisation; trade issues following Russia's WTO accession in August 2012; energy cooperation; visa issues and mobility; aviation; crisis management and civil protection cooperation; human rights and the rule of law.

Leaders also discussed Russia's G20 presidency as well as regional and international issues, with discussions expected to focus on the situation in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa, the Middle East Peace Process; the Iranian nuclear programme; Moldova/Transnistria, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh and the Western Balkans.

Background

The legal basis for EU relations with Russia is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which came into force on 1 December 1997 for an initial duration of 10 years, and which has been automatically extended beyond 2007 on an annual basis.

It sets the principal common objectives, establishes the institutional framework for bilateral contacts, and calls for activities and dialogue in a number of areas.

The EU is currently working with Russia on a new agreement to replace the PCA to reflect the numerous changes which both sides have experienced since 1997, as well as the new challenges linked to globalisation.

Since 2005, the EU and Russia have held regular, six-monthly human rights consultations. They have provided for a substantial dialogue on human rights issues in Russia and the EU and on EU-Russian cooperation on human rights issues in international fora. The last meeting took place on 7 December 2012.

The Partnership for Modernisation was launched at the June 2010 summit when priority areas for cooperation were identified. They are set out in work plans, which are now being implemented. These priorities include investment, trade, promoting SMEs, alignment of technical regulations and standards, research and development, promoting the effective functioning of the judiciary and strengthening the fight against corruption as well as the dialogue with civil society.

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