President José Manuel Barroso and the European Commission will meet the Russian Government led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on 21 March 2013. These executive-to-executive talks will cover a wide range of EU-Russia cooperation, from discussions on the EU-Russia New Agreement to trade issues, energy cooperation, transport and mobility. As part of this visit, President Barroso will also meet with President Putin.
Meetings between the Russian Government and the Commission have been held since 1997, most recently in Brussels in February 2011. This meeting of the College of Commissioners with their counterpart Ministers of the Russian Federation will be the largest ever. The meeting will provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the EU-Russia relationship and to demonstrate a shared interest in tackling common concerns through open dialogue. The visit should allow the further advancement of bilateral cooperation in areas under Commission responsibility.
President Barroso said: “I look forward to the College visit to Moscow and to the discussions with Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin. Our intense and multifaceted relationship is well illustrated in our meeting agenda. Headway on the New Agreement, as well as cooperation in the fields of trade, energy and mobility should be among the most prominent topics. Russia is a strategic partner with whom we want to build more strategic trust. Next to the bilateral agreements we conclude, I hope this to be the main outcome of our meetings”.
The executive-to-executive-talks are one of a number of regular EU-Russia meetings. This year’s meeting will follow up on the last EU-Russia Summit of 21 December 2012 and will prepare for the next Summit in June this year.
Discussions should help to re-invigorate negotiations on a New Agreement – to replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement – which began in July 2008. The New Agreement should provide a solid legal basis for EU-Russia relations, covering all areas of our relationship and providing a basis for deeper economic integration.
Russia’s WTO accession provided significant momentum for bilateral trade. The executive-to-executive talks should build on this dynamic and discuss ways to overcome issues of concern regarding commitments and in particular to seek a solution on discriminatory recycling fees on vehicles.
Energy relations are important for both the EU and Russia. The Commission and the Russian government will continue its intensive dialogue with the aim to ensure mutually beneficial cooperation in this area.
Parties will also take stock of the ongoing cooperation in the field of mobility, notably the joint work on Common Steps towards a possible visa-free travel regime and upgraded Visa Facilitation Agreement.
The visit will also allow a review of developments with regard to the Partnership for Modernisation, which provides operational support to Russia’smodernisation process including the strengthening of the rule of law. The meeting should provide further guidance to the Partnership and ensure that it is speedily implemented in all its facets.