The next European Union-Russia Summit will take place on June 3-4 in the ancient Russian city of St. Petersburg.
The EU will be represented by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission head José Manuel Barroso, Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Russian delegation will be led by President Vladimir Putin, and include Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and several other Ministers.
"Russia is not only the EU largest neighbor - it is also a strategic partner with which we are building a solid and mutually beneficial relationship," Barroso said ahead of the summit.
"The EU believes that the best basis for a closer partnership is an ambitious and comprehensive bilateral new agreement. This should become the new centerpiece of our relations and a solid basis for cooperation in the years to come. It must include substantial provisions on trade and investment, including energy. Equally, the summit should confirm the high importance of the Partnership for Modernization, which is under full implementation now," he said in a statement on Friday.
"The summit will be an important occasion to run through the broad range of issues that today make up the EU-Russia relationship, such as modernization, visa and mobility, and trade. The main aim should be to confirm the past years results in the EU-Russia partnership and set the course for the coming years. The EU sees a lot of untapped potential to deepen our strategic partnership in all areas, which the St. Petersburg Summit should explore. There will also be need to discuss pressing global and international issues, such as measures to deal with the economic and financial crisis and international issues, such as Syria and Iran," said President Van Rompuy.
The Summit in St. Petersburg will start with an informal dinner on Sunday. It will continue with a plenary session on the next morning, followed by a working lunch and a press conference. Leaders are expected to exchange views on global economic developments and the situation in the Eurozone, and regional and international issues, including developments in Syria, the Middle East and Iran.
Leaders are also expected to focus on bilateral relations, including the need to reinvigorate the negotiations on the New Agreement. The Summit will also look forward to the ratification of Russia's WTO accession, and reconfirm that all related commitments will be implemented.
The leaders will also discuss energy cooperation. They will take note of the intensive work going on regarding the implementation of the common steps towards visa-free travel and discuss visa and mobility issues in general. Situation regarding human rights and the rule of law in Russia are also expected to be raised.
by RTT Staff Writer
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