Arhiv

30.12.08
Kommersant (of 26 December) published an article by Alexei Yekimovsky and Pyotr Netreba which reports on the Economic Development Ministry’s position on Siberian overflight charges. Press cites the head of the Ministry’s Trade Negotiations Department, Maxim Medvedkov, as saying that Russia does not plan to conduct talks on modernizing the system of Siberian overflight charges until Russia joins the WTO.
In an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, Vedomosti (of 29 December) forecasts main events of 2009, including in the European Union.
Commenting on the main events of 2008, Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses developments between Belarus and the EU and the US, and the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence.
Vedomosti (of 29 December) published an article by Vladislav Inozemtsev which reports on the 10th anniversary of the euro in January 2009.
 
26.12.08
Gazeta publishes an article entitled The best mediator by Anton Ivanitsky and Ivan Sotnikov which assesses the activity of President Nicolas Sarkozy as EU President, including his role in settling the Georgia crisis.
Summing up the results of 2008 in an article by Mikhail Zygar, Kommersant also comments on Sarkozy's activity and EU-Russia relations.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Olga Tomashevskaya, addresses the issue of Belarus' relations both with Russia and the US and the European Union, including in the context of the EU's Eastern Partnership initiative.
In a special supplement 'NG-Antrakt', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yekaterina Barabash which reports on the EU's decision to choose Vilnius as European Capital of Culture in 2009.
 
 
18.12.08
Novaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Lord Ashdown, President of the EU-Russia Centre, which addresses EU-Russia relations and Russia's positions in the world in the wake of the conflict with Georgia.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled 2 Crises Derailed Attempts to Improve EU Ties, by Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs, which comments on EU-Russia relations in the year 2008.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that EU HR Javier Solana has welcomed the registration in Belarus of the For Freedom opposition movement headed by Alexander Milinkevich (RIA-Novosti).
 
17.12.08
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Yury Shpakov, which reports on German Government anti-crisis measures.
Kommersant cites briefly Lithuanian PM Andrius Kubilius on the economic situation in Lithuania.
In an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, Kommersant reports on talks held in Slovenia by Gazprom's officials on Slovenia's possible participation in the South Stream gas pipeline.
Kommersant, in an article by Olga Berezintseva, reports on the candidacy of Edgars Skuja for the new Ambassador of Latvia to Russia.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU Puts Tariffs on Welded Steel Tubes (Bloomberg), which reports that the EU has imposed tariffs as high as 90.6% on welded steel tubes from China, Russia and Belarus and prolonged similar levels against Ukraine and Thailand. Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Andreas Storm, Parliamentary Secretary of the German Ministry of Education, which addresses German-Russian cooperation in the field of education and research.
RBK daily mentions briefly Montenegro's formal application to join the EU.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a decision by the European Court of Justice on a trademark for Anheuser-Busch's beer (RIA-Novosti report).
 
16.12.08
The Moscow Times publishes a Financial Times editorial, entitled EU Lacks Conviction in Global Warming Battle, which addresses the EU's targets for fighting against climate change.
RBK daily publishes an article by Roman Kirillov, which reports on Irish Government measures to safeguard the country's banking system.
Kommersant, in an article by Oleg Zorin, reports on Montenegro's formal application to join the EU.
Izvestia reports briefly that the European Commission does not rule out that Iceland could join the EU.
In an article by Vyacheslav Samoshkin, Vremya novostei reports on the nomination by Romanian President Traian Basescu of Emil Boc as Romania's new PM after the unexpected resignation of the previous nominee Theodor Stolojan.
Vedomosti reports on the situation in Greece in an article by Denis Malkov.
Expert weekly magazine reports on Slovakia joining the euro zone in 2009.
Expert, in an article by Sergey Sumlenny, reports on new EU emissions standards for cars.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on an application filed to the European Commission by Jysk Stalindustri, controlled by Vladimir Lisin, to acquire 80% in Volgo-Balt Transport Holding Ltd (Interfax).
In an article by Sergey Sumlenny, Expert mentions the European Commission's decision to fine Coats and Prym for operating a cartel in producing zips.
Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the Europe-wide emergency services telephone number, 112, which was introduced in 27 EU Member States as of 15 December.
 
Weekly review  8-15 December 2008
EU leaders reach agreement on climate change and economic recovery, find compromise on ratifying Lisbon Treaty
Lavrov talks of common economic space between Russia, EU and US
Gazprom warns EU about possible disruptions of gas supply to Europe
EU launches mission to Kosovo
 
Commenting on the EU summit on 11-12 December in Brussels, observers emphasize that despite “serious disagreements” (RBK daily, 15/12), EU leaders found a common ground on the three key issues – the EU’s climate change goals, a 200-billion euro package for Europe’s economic recovery and a compromise on the Lisbon Treaty as Ireland agreed to hold a second referendum in 2009. Ahead of the summit, press reported on a spat between the UK and Germany (RBK daily, Vremya novostei, 12/12) after The Financial Times published a statement by German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck who sharply criticised the British Government financial policy. The press also remarks that Chancellor Merkel was not invited to a meeting in London attended by PM Brown, President Sarkozy and European Commission President Barroso.
Kommersant (13/12) and Novaya Gazeta (15/12) point to approval by the EU leaders of the Eastern Partnership plan which is designed “to strengthen the EU’s position in the post-Soviet space”. Earlier, Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, said Moscow would closely follow the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme.
The media (Gazeta, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei) cites statements made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a conference of the Association of European Business on 10 December in Moscow. Vremya novostei notes that Lavrov addressed his statements mainly to the new US administration of the President-elect Barack Obama and European leaders. In his speech, Lavrov warned the West against advancing its interests in the post-Soviet space at Russia’s expense. At the same time, the top Russian diplomat said Russia understands that the US and the EU have “their legitimate interests in Central Asia and Transcaucasia”. Press also quotes him as saying that Russia is ready to introduce a bilateral visa-free regime with the EU “even today” if the Europeans were ready. On the whole, Lavrov said, Moscow is “satisfied with the current state of relations between Russia and the European Union”, stressing that this relationship could be described as a strategic partnership. Observers highlight Lavrov’s “utterly surprising” proposal to form “a common economic space from the EU, Russia and the US” based on an equal partnership. In an interview with The Moscow Times, the Head of the European Commission Delegation, Marc Franco, said that a common economic space “requires lot of technical work and [Russia’s] WTO membership”.
RBK daily and Vremya novostei (11/12) referred to statements made in Brussels by Gazprom spokesman, Sergey Kupriyanov, who has warned about possible disruptions of gas supplies to Europe this winter due to the poor quality of the Ukrainian gas transportation system. According to experts, Gazprom would like to substantiate the need to construct new gas pipelines, bypassing Ukraine (the Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipelines). In his article in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’, 09/12), analyst Alexei Khaitun speaks of a kind of the “sanitary cordon” [in Lord Curzon’s interpretation of the 1920s], “separating the Russian gas from European consumer centres by a ring of East European countries”. According to Khaitun, the alternative could be either to agree with transiting countries or to look for alternative routes for Russian energy exports. The Russian Government has chosen the second option.
Dailies (Gazeta, Vremya novostei) cite concern expressed by EU officials over disagreements between Moscow and Kiev. Spokesman for EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, pointed to negative consequences for Russia’s reputation as a gas supplier and on Ukraine’s reputation as a transiting country.
Kommersant, Novye Izvestia and Vremya novostei (10/12) reported on the launch of the EULEX mission to Kosovo. Expert from the Russian Institute of Slavonic Studies, Alexander Karasev, described as “Serbia’s achievement” the UN Security Council’s decision to keep UN control in Kosovo and to declare the EU mission’s neutrality on Kosovo’s independence. Radical groups in Kosovo, however, have no doubts that the EULEX’s refusal to back Kosovo’s independent status could lead to an ethnic partition of Kosovo. In the view of the Russian expert, the EULEX deployment “does not settle the main issue for Brussels, i.e. how to get Belgrade and Pristina into the European Union”.
 
 
11.12.08
Kommersant and Vremya novostei report on the agenda of an EU summit on 11-12 December in Brussels.
Kommersant quotes PM Gordon Brown as calling for investing in technology and environmentally friendly industries as part of efforts to deal with the economic turmoil.
The Moscow Times publishes a Financial Times editorial on the recent meeting in London of PM Brown, President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Novye Izvestia carries an article by Maria Semina, which comments on the economic situation in Latvia.
In an article by Vladimir Skripov, Vremya novostei reports on the visit of the new Lithuanian PM Andrius Kubilius to Brussels and the Lithuanian Government's programme.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Varvara Semyonova, which reports on Switzerland's joining the Schengen area as of 12 December. Gazeta publishes a Schengen area map.
Gazeta publishes an interview with Spanish diplomat in Russia, Javier Burgos Belascoain, which addresses bilateral economic and trade relations and mentions EU-Russia cooperation.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on European Commission plans to revise the structure of the EU's 2007-2013 budget and allocate additional 5 billion euro for energy connections in 2009-2010. The daily refers in this context to EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Dalia Grybauskaite (Interfax).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the European Commission's decision to give exports from 16 countries special duty free access to the EU from January 2009 until the end of 2011 (Interfax).
 
Russian, EU experts to scrutinize anti-crisis proposals – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Russia and the European Union have agreed that their experts will start scrutinizing proposed measures aimed at helping to counter the financial crisis in the run-up to an upcoming Group of Twenty summit, which is due to take place in London on April 2, 2009.
The European Union and Russia have agreed to give expert scrutiny to the suggestions ahead of the G20 summit in London, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses in Moscow on Wednesday.
The recent Russia-EU summit in Nice produced a common understanding that the ongoing financial crisis is not short-term, but it is a systemic matter that requires the world's leading economies to pursue a common policy, he said.
 
Russia-EU relations can be described as strategic partnership – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Relations between Russia and the European Union could now be described as a strategic partnership, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Interaction between Russia and the European Union is becoming a stabilizing factor on the Euro-Atlantic territory. Forecasts show that importance of this interaction will not decrease in the foreseeable future but is likely to continue to grow, and therefore we believe that quantity is turning into quality and that our relations could be characterized as a strategic partnership, Lavrov said at a news briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.
Russia is satisfied with the level of its relations with the EU, Lavrov said. Trade turnover growth is exceeding average indicators, mutual investments are expanding, and Russia's role in the geographical diversification of the European Union's foreign trade is increasing, he said.
On the other hand, over half of Russia's trade turnover goes to the EU, and this figure is continuing to grow, Lavrov said. A major part of the accumulated investments in Russia's economy also falls on the European Union countries, Lavrov said.
Relations with the U.S. and the European Union have passed a serious test following Georgia's attack on South Ossetia, Lavrov said.
This crisis came about as a result of a systemic malfunction in the European security architecture. Its repair cannot be delayed, he said.
Joint efforts to find ways for a settlement - for which French President Nicolas Sarkozy should be credited - have put Russia and the European Union on the track of pragmatic cooperation, Lavrov said.
 
Moscow awaiting Europe's reply to offer on work permits for guest workers – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Russia is waiting for the European Commission's response to its proposals to launch consultations on ways to make it easier for foreign employees to receive work permits both in Russia and the EU, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.
In May, we forwarded a proposal to the European Commission to begin consultations to mutually simplify this system. We are awaiting its reply now, Lavrov said.
Russia's procedures for issuing work permits for immigrants, that came into force in 2007, were modeled after similar [procedures] active in EU nations, he said.
They are neither worse nor better than the rules active in Western countries, the minister said.
 
World unprepared to fully get rid of nuclear arms – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - It is impossible to get rid of nuclear weapons throughout the world in the foreseeable future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
If you imagine that the day will come of the complete riddance of nuclear weapons, when the last warhead is destroyed, it is clear that if this does happen, it will not happen soon, he said addressing members of the Association of European Business on Wednesday.
 
No need for Russia to legalize dual citizenship – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Russia does not need to introduce dual citizenship, and the development of relations with the European Union could be promoted through abolishment of visas, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Visa free travel for all our citizens would be a brilliant joint project and a manifestation of our common commitment to the development of ties in every possible way, Lavrov said at a news briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.
At the same time, asked whether Russia could introduce dual citizenship, Lavrov pointed out that Russian law does not allow this. I do not think that the idea of dual citizenship could be a manifestation of Russia's true commitment to the development of cooperation with the European Union, he said.
 
Russia determined to join WTO, but will not at any cost – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Russia is determined to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), but it will not do so at any cost, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Accession to the WTO without any delays invariably remains a priority for Russia's foreign policy, Lavrov said at a news conference at the Association of European Businesses in Russia on Wednesday.
Russia views accession to the WTO as one of the preconditions for improving the structure of our foreign trade and GDP, he said.
But we will definitely not struggle to join the WTO at any cost. There is only one way of accession for us - on standard terms, Lavrov said.
Russia understands the far-reaching benefits of its WTO membership, Lavrov said.
Certainly, it might be better to be outside the WTO framework during a crisis. But we are looking to the future and understand our responsibility, and this determines our fundamental position on the WTO and the organization of economic cooperation and development, he said.
Russia's accession to the WTO is also among the preconditions for signing economic agreements dealing with individual industry sectors between Russia and the EU, he said.
The discussion of terms of a trade and economic agreement can be started only after the process of Russia's accession to the WTO is completed and after a major treaty is concluded, he said.
 
Russia, EU, U.S. could set up common economic space – Lavrov
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Russia, the European Union, and the U.S. could in the future form a common economic space, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
I think a common economic space of Russia, the European Union and the U.S. is not a virtual project at all, and this should be worked on, Lavrov said at a news conference at the Association of European Businesses in Moscow on Wednesday.
Lavrov pointed out that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had earlier come up with the idea of setting up a common economic space between the EU and Russia.
 
Lavrov hopes for constructive relations with U.S.
MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Russian-U.S. relations will hopefully become more constructive, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The United States is a key partner of Russia, Lavrov said addressing members of the Association of European Business on Wednesday.
We hope for a constructive relationship with the United States, he said.
As for the impact [of Russian-U.S. relations] on the partnership with the EU, here we would want to see harmony, an equilateral triangle, Lavrov said.
The partnership between Russia, EU and the United States is extremely important in a global world, in a world of tightening competition, he added.
 
Roadmap of restoring Russia-NATO relations agreed – envoy
BRUSSELS. Dec 120 (Interfax) - Talks to stop the cold spell in relations between Russia and NATO have begun and Russian envoy to the alliance Dmitry Rogozin will have a working meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on December 18.
On Tuesday I had talks with Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Martin Erdmann and Special Representative for the Caucasus Robert Simmons, Rogozin told Interfax on Wednesday.
He confirmed that the restoration of relations in the framework of the Russia-NATO Council was the topic of discussion.
A roadmap of restoring relations was agreed upon as a result of the meeting, he said.
Rogozin said that on December 18 he would have a working meeting with the NATO Secretary General.
The resumption of relations along the lines of the Russia-NATO Council was actually announced at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels at the beginning of December. Rogozin told Interfax then that an informal council session could be held as early as in December.
 
10.12.08
Gazeta and Izvestia report on the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. Gazeta quotes European Commission's high-ranking official, Gunnar Wiegand, who expressed concern over disagreements between Moscow and Kiev. At the same time, he pointed out that the EU does not plan to interfere in settling the dispute. (see also economic headlines)
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, which reports on the Nobel Peace Prize 2008 award to former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and the launch of the EULEX mission to Kosovo. Novye Izvestia reports on EULEX in an article by Maria Semina, Kommersant in an article by Oleg Zorin.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Belarus Parliamentarian Sergey Maskevich, which addresses, among other issues, Belarus' relations with the West.
In an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on an upcoming EU summit on 11-12 December in Brussels.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Latvia's economic crisis and cites Latvian Finance Minister Atis Slakteris in an article by Vladislav Rilsky.
Vremya novostei reports on the same issue in an article by Georgy Voronkov.
Novye Izvestia, in an article by Alexander Mineyev, reports on the economic situation in Belgium.
Kommersant and RBK daily report on disturbances in Greece. Experts, contacted by RBK daily, do not exclude disturbances in other EU Member States.
Vremya novostei addresses German-Polish talks yesterday in Warsaw in an article by Valery Masterov.
In an article by Svetlana Gamova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on relations between Romania and Moldova.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on a new EU directive on lighting in private households which provides for a gradual disappearance of incandescent lamps.
 
9.12.08
In a special supplement, ‘NG-Energy’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes a number of articles, which address EU-Russia energy relations, pipeline projects, e.g. Nord Stream, Nabucco, and energy supplies to the EU.
Vremya novostei (ITAR-TASS) reports briefly on the European Commission’s Eastern Partnership initiative which will be discussed at an EU summit on 11-12 December.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on an EU naval operation against piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
Interfax, RIA-Novosti and The Moscow Times (AP) report on the sending to Chad of Russian personnel and four helicopters to take part in an EU peacekeeping mission under the UN aegis.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a meeting on 8 December in London of PM Gordon Brown, President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss measures to deal with the economic crisis (ITAR-TASS).
Novye Izvestia, in an article by Alexander Skanavi, reports on the economic situation in Poland and mentions EU financial support.
Vremya novostei cites EU Competition Commissioner Nellie Kroes on rescue measures for banks (Reuters).
Gazeta publishes an article by Yelena Melnikova, which addresses the prospects for Poland’s, Hungary’s and the Czech Republic’s accession to the euro zone. According to the author, these countries could unlikely join the euro zone before 2012.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on disturbances in Greece over the death of a teenager killed by police.
In an article by Alexander Koksharov, Expert weekly magazine cites a European Commission report on the EU’s pharmaceutical sector.
 
8.12.08
In a special supplement ‘NG-Dipkurier’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Moscow has completely come out of diplomatic isolation”, by Yulia Petrovskaya, which addresses Russia’s relations with the West in the wake of the August conflict in South Ossetia. The author mentions inter alia the resumption of EU-Russia talks on a new agreement.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) publishes an article by Yekaterina Kuznetsova, which comments on the European Commission’s plan for dealing with the financial crisis.
Gazeta publishes an article by Oksana Gavshina, which addresses the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute and its possible impact on Russian gas supplies to the EU. The daily quotes Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko as having pledged that Ukraine guarantees security of the transit of Russian natural gas to Europe via Ukraine.
In an article by Nikolai Surkov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on a meeting in Gdansk, attended by President Nicolas Sarkozy and leaders of nine Central and Eastern European countries, to discuss the EU’s climate change plan. The daily also comments on Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama and China’s protest over the meeting.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on China’s reaction to Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama (ITAR-TASS report).
Kommersant publishes an article by Serbian journalist Zorana Bolic, which mentions the deployment of EULEX mission to Kosovo.
 
5.12.08
The Moscow News reports on the resumption of EU-Russian talks on a new agreement in an article, entitled “Russian envoy: EU talks show progress” (RIA-Novosti report).
Vremya novostei reports on the European Commission’s Eastern Partnership initiative and EU-Belarus relations in an article by Olga Tomashevskaya.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “The Istanbul process”, by Professor Alla Yazkova, which addresses Russian-Georgian relations and mentions the recent meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers and the European Commission’s Eastern Partnership initiative.
Novye Izvestia, in an article by Maria Semina, cites new Lithuanian PM Andrius Kubilius on relations with Russia.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Alexander Samokhotkin, which reports on latest developments between the EU and China and the postponement of the EU-China summit over European officials’ plans to meet with the Dalai Lama.
In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei cites statements on the financial crisis made in the Bundestag by Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of an EU summit next week.
Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the ECB decision to cut its benchmark interest rate from 3.25% to 2.5%.
Vremya novostei carries an article by Alexei Grivach, which reports on the start of the construction of Bovanenkovo-Ukhta gas trunkline system as part of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.
 
3.12.08
Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies and Vremya novostei report on the second round of talks between the EU and Russia on a new partnership agreement yesterday in Brussels. Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, is quoted as saying that the sides have discussed “the structure of the future agreement”. Chizhov suggested that the next round of the talks could be held late in January or early in February.
Kommersant publishes a special supplement dedicated to EU-Russia relations. The main topics of the supplement include the recent conflict in the Caucasus, the global financial crisis, the resumption of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement, energy and other issues.
Kommersant publishes an article by Natalia Portyakova, which reports on the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, which addresses the issue of European security.
In an article by Vladimir Skosyrev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites EU HR Javier Solana as having called on Pakistan to help India investigate the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the re-election of Chancellor Angela Merkel as party leader to lead Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 2009 general election in in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on EU Finance Ministers’ support for a plan to increase a crisis fund from 12 billion euro to 25 billion euro to help EU Member States deal with the financial crisis (RIA-Novosti).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on an EU decision on reducing car CO2 emissions to an average of 130g/km between 2012 and 2015 (RIA-Novosti).
Kommersant publishes an article by British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, which addresses British Government measures in the environmental field.
Izvestia, in an article by Dmitry Dimidko, cites Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko who said that Kiev viewed Poland as Ukraine’s main strategic partner and the most reliable partner in the EU.
RBK daily publishes an article, entitled “A new capital”, by Alexander Klenin, which reports on the selection by the EU of Vilnius as the European Capital of Culture in 2009.
 
1.12.08
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with the head of the Brussels-based EU-Russia Centre, Fraser Cameron, which addresses EU-Russia relations and the prospects for concluding a new EU-Russia partnership agreement.
The economic situation in the EU is addressed in an article by Roman Kirillov, published in RBK daily, and in an article by Ulyana Gorbolskaya and Vasily Kashin and an article by political scientist Vladislav Inozemtsev (Vedomosti). Vedomosti mentions the European Commission’s plan for Europe’s economic recovery, presented last week.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Georgy Voronkov, reports on the British Government’s decision to buy a majority stake (almost 60%) in Royal Bank of Scotland.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Europe Can’t Bank on Past”, by Joschka Fischer, Germany’s former Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor, which comments on Europe’s economic situation.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on EU energy policy and Iran’s interest in developing energy cooperation with the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Victoria Panfilova, which reports on the meeting on Saturday of the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey to discuss energy cooperation in the context of Caspian energy supplies to Europe.
Kommersant publishes an article by Alexander Kuranov, which reports on a publication in the Czech weekly magazine Reflex of a controversial transcript of a conversation between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Czech PM Mirek Topolanek on 31 October in Paris. The main issue of the conversation was the upcoming Czech Presidency of the EU. However, the French President has allegedly made some statements on the new Mediterranean Union.
Gazeta and Kommersant report on the approval by EU Interior and Justice Ministers of Switzerland’s accession to the Schengen area.
In an article by Margarita Gracheva, Kommersant reports on Romania’s legislative elections on Sunday.
Novaya Gazeta publishes an article, by Natalia Chernova, on a survey on the situation of disabled people in Russia, which was conducted in the framework of an EU project.
In an article by Artyom Oparin, RBK daily reports on the ratification by the Czech Senate of an agreement with Washington on a US missile defence installation in the Czech Republic.
 
Weekly review 1-8 December 2008
EU, Russia resume talks on a new agreement
European Commission’s Eastern Partnership initiative “could irritate Moscow”
EU monitors in Georgia, Russian military discuss interaction
Press reports on the resumption of EU-Russia talks on a new agreement and the second round of the talks on 2 December in Brussels. Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, is quoted as saying that the sides have discussed “the structure of the future agreement in more detail”. According to Chizhov, the next round could be held late in January or early in February. Neither Russian diplomats, nor European observers expect the talks to be easy, although both sides described the second round as “constructive”. Asked when a new draft agreement may be ready, Chizhov said that “there is nothing more harmful for the process than artificial deadlines” (RIA-Novosti, 02/12). In an interview with Vremya novostei (01/12), the head of the Brussels-based EU-Russia Centre, Fraser Cameron, called energy issues “the most difficult”, and emphasized that the European Union and Russia are just “in the beginning of the negotiation process”.
Commenting on a number of events last week, including the resumption of the EU-Russia talks, the decision to gradually resume the work of the NATO-Russia Council and a discussion by OSCE Foreign Ministers of President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal of a new European security treaty, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (08/12) expresses the view that “after four months since the military operation in the Caucasus… Moscow has finally come out of diplomatic isolation”. Experts, cited by Vremya novostei (03/12), note some positive trends in EU-Russia relations. German expert Stefan Meisterpoints to the “stabilization” of EU-Russia relations “after the chill caused by the conflict in the Caucasus”, but adds that “Georgia and the war in the Caucasus will undoubtedly play a role”. He does not exclude that “Central and Eastern European countries will again raise the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity and the problem of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, and suggests that these issues might cause heated debates between the EU and Russia in the coming months. In his view, the EU will unlikely speak with Russia in “one voice” on a number of issues.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta (03/12) reports on a meeting on 2 December in the village of Ergneti of representatives of Russia’s Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries and EU monitors in Georgia to discuss interaction. The deputy commander of Russia’s Ground Forces, Valery Yevnevich, who headed the Russian delegation, said the Russian side had presented a draft memorandum on ‘interaction of Russian military contingents in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and EU monitors in Georgia’. According to the daily, in their own proposals presented at the meeting, EU representatives said that Russian servicemen were hampering access of EU monitors to the village of Perevi and the Akhalgori district.
The European Commission’s Eastern Partnershipplan, which proposes boosting ties between the EU and six former Soviet republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), received coverage in the Russian media (Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei). Experts, cited by Nezavisimaya Gazeta (02/12), say the implementation of the Eastern Partnership initiative could “cross out Moscow’s plans of creating a common economic space in the post-Soviet space”. Kommersant (03/12) writes that the Eastern Partnership initiative will most likely become one of the foreign policy components of the Czech Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2009. The daily remarks that many observers consider this initiative as a “counterbalance” to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s initiative of a Mediterranean Union. According to Kommersant, the Eastern Partnership proposal could irk both Paris and Moscow.
 
27.11.08
Kommersant, RBK daily, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on the European Commission's comprehensive plan for Europe's recovery from the ongoing economic crisis.
Kommersant reports briefly on an article on the economic crisis written by President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The article was published in Le Figaro and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Vremya novostei reports on German Government measures to deal with the financial and economic crisis in an article by Yury Shpakov.
RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on the European Commission's Eastern Partnership initiative.
Vremya novostei reports on the international presence in Kosovo and the EULEX mission deployment in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, which comments on the recent arrest in Kosovo of three German nationals for their alleged involvement in bombing an EU office in Kosovo.
In an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses energy cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan and the issue of delivering Caspian oil and gas to southern Europe.
Novye Izvestia, in an article by Sergey Maksimov, reports on the coming into force as of 27 November of a new points-based migration system in the UK. The new system concerns non-EU migrants.
Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei address the Spanish Government's position on the possible purchase by Russia's LUKoil of a 30% stake in Repsol.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Vladimir Skripov, reports on the discussion in the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) of the candidature of Andrius Kubilius to the position of Lithuania's PM.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled On the Wrong Side of the Financial Iron Curtain, by Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko, which mentions the EU's measures in the banking sector. While EU banks in Western Europe have been stabilized by the guarantees, their Eastern European subsidiaries have been left out on a limb because some governments declared that tax-payers' money could not be used abroad, Tymoshenko writes. The article was published in the Financial Times.
In an article by Alexander Skanavi, Novye Izvestia reports on measures in Estonia and Latvia aimed at a pay freeze for public servants.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Vladimir Skosyrev, addresses the human rights situation in China and mentions the European Parliament's decision to award the Sakharov Prize to Chinese dissident Hu Jia.

 

25.11.08
RBK daily publishes an interview with CEO of Gazprom, Alexei, Miller, which addresses, among other issues, Russian gas supplies to Europe (see economic headlines).
RBK daily and Vremya novostei report on Gazprom’s bid to acquire a stake in Hungary’s Fogaz.
In an article by Daria Yurieva, Rossiyskaya Gazeta cites a letter, sent by mayors of 30 Czech towns to the US President-elect Barack Obama, in which they called on Obama to abandon plans to deploy the missile defence shield in Eastern Europe. In the letter, the mayors emphasized that the US missile defence plans in Eastern Europe “are increasing tension between the US and Russia, as well as between the US and the European Union, and will lead to a new expansion of the arms race”.
Kommersant reports on upcoming Parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan in an article by Nikolai Filchenko. The author also mentions the issue of energy relations between the EU and Turkmenistan.
Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report briefly on the decision to lift the facilitated visa regime between Estonia and Russia’s bordering regions as of 19 January 2009.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Yury Shpakov, reports on the arrest in Pristina of three German nationals on suspicion of their involvement in bombing an EU office in Kosovo.
Vremya novostei carries an article by Zurab Nalbandyan, which reports on the British Government’s measures to tackle the economic and financial crisis.
Expert weekly magazine publishes an article by Sergey Sumlenny, which addresses the economic situation in Europe and reports on an economic forum Euro Finance Week in Frankfurt. The author also cites a statement at the forum by EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.
In a special supplement, ‘Financial instruments’, Kommersant publishes an article by Mikhail Smirnov, which addresses European Commission proposals on credit rating agencies.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Andrey Dolgikh, which mentions the situation on the labour market in the EU against a backdrop of the economic crisis.
 
Weekly review 17-25 November 2008
 
Progress made at Geneva talks on security in Caucasus
Incident with motorcade of the Georgian, Polish Presidents
Press comments on progress made by the parties at the second round of talks on security in the Caucasus last week in Geneva, despite the fact that disagreements and tensions remained and that “no visible results” have been achieved. Kommersant (20/11) cited EU special envoy for Georgia Pierre Morel, who described the meeting as “very productive”. In the run-up to the meeting, observers expressed scepticism about its outcome, pointing to the format of the talks, i.e. the participation of representatives of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as a “stumbling block”. Moreover, on the eve of the second round, the Abkhaz side made “a tough statement towards the EU” by accusing EU monitors in Georgia of “taking part in armed provocations organised by the Georgian side” (Kommersant, 18/11). Abkhaz President Sergey Bagapsh, in turn, called “inadmissible” the presence of the EU monitors in Abkhazia without agreeing with Sukhumi. As Kommersant commented, the Abkhaz side has thus “prepared its response to an initiative to replace the Russian contingent with an international force”. Russian political expert Sergey Markedonov views as “possible gains for Moscow at the Geneva talks” the intensification of “a pragmatic dialogue not so much with Georgia as with the European Union” (Kommersant, 18/11).
Meanwhile, an incident involving the motorcade of the Georgian and Polish Presidents, Mikheil Saakashvili and Lech Kaczynski, on Sunday near the Akhalgori area hit the headlines, as Kommersant writes (25/11), in Georgia, Poland and Russia. The Georgian side claimed that Russian troops in South Ossetia fired shots at the motorcade; Moscow denied the allegations of Russia’s involvement. Commentators point to the fact that the incident involved the President of a country which is a member of both NATO and the EU. RIA-Novosti reports that the EU and NATO voiced concern over the incident, “but stopped short of accusing Russia”. According to Kommersant (25/11), at a recent meeting in Paris with Saakashvili, French President Nicolas Sarkozy “made it clear that he had done what he could in the dialogue with Russia, and that no one should reckon on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Akhalgori area”. The daily suggests that the Georgian President “has thus decided to use the shooting incident to make his ‘European friends’ change their minds”.
Gazprom critical of the Commission's Strategic Energy Review
Dailies (Gazeta, 19/11), Vremya novostei, 19/11) and Kommersant, 20/11) published articles on the Commission Second Strategic Energy Review and reactions by some Russian commentators, citing critical statements voiced by Deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev at the Russian Gas Forum conference on 18 November in Moscow. As Gazeta writes, “a new gas conflict is brewing between Russia and the EU”. Vremya novostei speaks of “another round of an energy debate” between Gazprom and the European Commission. In the view of Konstantin Simonov, the head of the National Energy Security Foundation, the EU’s plans “will force Russia to think about possible alternative markets” and “an active production of liquefied gas” (Gazeta). This point of view is shared by Duma deputy speaker and the President of the Russian Gas Union, Valery Yazev, who mentioned in his article in Izvestia (18/11) the priority of both western and eastern vectors of Russia’s energy policy.
Gazprom’s Medvedev expressed “surprise” over the fact that “the new energy policy” does not put emphasis on energy imports, while “actions aimed at reducing the need in Russian gas imports are becoming a priority”. In his view, a possible decision to refuse growing imports of Russian gas is “political”, rather than “economic” (Vremya novostei). Medvedev also recalled PM Putin’s statement, made after the meeting with his Finnish counterpart Vanhanen on 12 November in Moscow, that “Europe should decide whether it needs a pipeline [Nord Stream] or not. If you don’t, we will build liquefaction plants and send liquefied gas to world markets, including to European markets. But it will be more expensive for you”. Medvedev stressed that a building of large gas-liquefying facilities in order to boost exports of liquefied gas is technically possible. Vremya novostei writes in a comment that the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline is now under question. Experts, contacted by Kommersant, also suggest that the construction of the Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipelines “might lose its expediency”. At the same time, Gazeta and Vremya novostei refer to a statement made last week by the Head of the European Commission Delegation Marc Franco who confirmed the EU’s backing for the Nord Stream project.
EU says Ukraine, Georgia will not prevent Russia’s WTO accession
The press cited statements on Russia’s WTO bid made at a press conference on 18 November in Moscow by the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco. Franco mentioned a decision to create “a kind of roadmap listing the measures that need to be taken quickly before Russia joins the WTO”, and expressed the view that Georgia and Ukraine were unlikely to veto Russia’s accession to the WTO.

At the same time, press (The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei) last week mentioned a statement by spokesman for EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, Peter Power, who warned that Russia’s plans to increase import duties could harm the country’s bid to join the WTO.  

 

21.11.08
Izvestia publishes an article, by Roman Kalinin, on the recent conference in Moscow ‘Gas of Russia-2008’ and an article by Duma deputy speaker and President of the Russian Gas Union, Valery Yazev. Both articles mention EU-Russia energy relation. Mr Yazev comments on the Nord Stream, South Stream and Nabucco pipeline projects.
Kommersant publishes an article by Dmitry Butrin, which addresses EU anti-crisis measures and reports on a European Commission plan to present on 26 November a recovery action plan (see also economic beadlines). Vremya novostei mentions the Commission’s plan and reports on the French Government’s measures to deal with the financial crisis (ITAR-TASS, Interfax reports).
Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the visit to the US of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to discuss the missile defence issue.
In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan addresses inter alia the US missile defence plans in Eastern Europe. He also speaks of Kazakhstan’s relations with the EU.
In an article by Victoria Sakharova, Gazeta compares a rise in prices on foodstuffs in Russia and the EU.
Izvestia, in an article by Yury Kovalenko, reports on the World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations in Vienna. EU-Russia relations were tackled among other issues.
Kommersant reports briefly on the European Commission’s communication on The EU and the Arctic Region, adopted on 20 November, and cites on the issue EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner (ITAR-TASS report).
Gazeta publishes in Russian a Daily Telegraph article, which mentions EU proposals for stricter rules on animal testing.
 
20.11.08
The web site of the European Club publishes an article by the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Marc Franco, on EU-Russia relations after the Georgian conflict.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Summit in Nice Proves We Can Work Together”, by member of the Federation Council Vasily Likhachev, which addresses the EU-Russia summit on 14 November in Nice.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Better Status for Abkhazia”, by Alexander Cooley and Borut Grgic, which addresses the issue of the “internationalization” of Georgia’s territorial conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and addresses inter alia the EU’s position. The article appeared in The Wall Street Journal Europe.
In an article by Konstantin Simonov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta describes EU energy policy as “an example of distrust towards Russia” and refers to the Commission’s energy plan.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Sergey Pritchin, which comments on the Baku energy summit to discuss energy routes, bypassing Russia.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Professor at Warwick University, Robert Skidelsky, which addresses the recent visit to Moscow of British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson and the EU’s decision to resume talks with Russia on a new agreement.
Novaya Gazeta, in an article by Alla Geraskina, reports on a conference of the Association of European Businesses in Russia to discuss the activity of European business in Russia against the background of the global financial crisis.
Kommersant (Interfax) reports that Estonian authorities plan to toughen a visa regime for residents of neighbouring Russian regions.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Danuta Dembovskaya, reports on the possible candidate for new Latvian Ambassador to Russia, Edgars Skuja.
Vremya novostei addresses internal developments in Serbia in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov. The author also mentions talks between Belgrade, the UN and the EU over the international presence in Kosovo.
Kommersant and RBK daily report on mutual accusations of genocide in the early 1990s voiced by Serbia and Croatia. As Kommersant writes in an article by Gennady Sysoyev, the accusations could undermine relations between Serbia and Croatia and hamper the two countries’ accession to the EU and NATO.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Maria Semina, which reports on Italy’s plans to reduce the number of foreign workers in Italy from non-EU countries. The daily also cites a European Commission report, released earlier this week, on an inflow of workers from the ‘new’ EU Member States into the EU’s ‘older’ Member States.
 
19.11.08
Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies, and The Moscow Times report on a press conference yesterday in Moscow by French Ambassador to Russia, Stanislas de Laboulaye, the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Marc Franco, and member of the Federation Council, Vasily Likhachev, on EU-Russia relations. Franco said that the next round of talks between the EU and Russia on a new agreement could be held on 2 December. Kommersant, in an article by Pavel Belov, quotes Franco as saying that the EU “has never doubted” the importance of investment in the Nord Stream gas pipeline project. At the same time, he stressed the need to observe environmental regulations during the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline. The Moscow Times and Vedomosti point to his statement on Russia’s WTO bid: Franco mentioned a decision to create “a kind of roadmap listing the measures that need to be taken quickly before Russia joins the WTO”, and expressed the view that Georgia and Ukraine would unlikely veto Russia’s accession to the WTO.
In an article by Yevgeny Shestakov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Portugal to discuss both bilateral and EU-Russia relations.
Vremya novostei reports on President Dmitry Medvedev’s upcoming visit to Portugal in an article by Alexander Zditovetsky.
Vremya novostei quotes spokesman for the EU Trade Commissioner, Peter Power, as saying that Russia’s plans to increase import duties could hamper Russia’s WTO accession (RIA-Novosti report).
Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei cite statements by Deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, who voiced criticism at a conference on Russian gas yesterday in Moscow towards the European Commission’s Energy Security report. As Gazeta notes, “a new gas conflict is brewing between Russia and the EU”. (See also economic headlines).
Gazeta publishes an interview with Duma deputy speaker and President of the Russian Gas Union, Valery Yazev, on EU-Russia energy cooperation and plans to set up an “OPEC-style” gas cartel.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the European Commission’s Energy Security report.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on developments around the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline (ITAR-TASS report).
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, which addresses Russia’s relations with the West.
In a special supplement ‘Oil & gas’, Kommersant (Tuesday’s issue) publishes an interview with Chairman of GDF Suez, Gerard Mestrallet, which addresses energy projects in Europe and energy cooperation with Russia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Igor Malashev, which reports on the International Day for Tolerance, which is marked on 16 November, and the special event on promoting tolerance held on 10 November at the European Parliament.
RBK daily, in an article by Artyom Oparin, reports on recent US-Romanian consultations on the Transnistrian settlement.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Vadim Rodionov and Oksana Antonenko, reports on celebrations of the 90th anniversary of Latvia’s independence.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on clashes between far-right extremists and police in Litvinov on 17 November, on the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day in the Czech Republic.
Gazeta publishes in Russian a Daily Telegraph article on a spy scandal in Estonia and mentions an investigation by NATO, the US and the EU of the allegations that Herman Simm, an official at the Estonian Defence Ministry, might have been working as a Russian agent.
Gazeta reports on the election of Arunas Valinskas as new speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) in an article by Vladas Liubartas.
In a special insert dedicated to Germany, Expert publishes a number of articles on the German economy.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta contains a supplement dedicated to Cyprus.
Expert publishes an interview with Professor at the Marburg University, Dirk Berg- Schlosser, which tackles some aspects of the development of the European Union.
 
18.11.08
Itogi weekly magazine reports on the EU-Russia summit in Nice in an article by Valeria Sycheva and Alexei Dityakin.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “EU Should Be Ashamed For Lifting Sole Sanction” (The Wall Street Journal Europe), which tackles the EU-Russia summit in Nice and agreement to resume talks on a new EU-Russia deal.
In a special supplement ‘Gas of Russia’, Izvestia publishes an article by Duma deputy speaker and President of the Russian Gas Union, Valery Yazev, which addresses Russia’s energy policy, including energy relations with the EU.
Izvestia (‘Gas of Russia’) publishes an article by deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, on Russian gas exports to Europe and the issue of diversification of energy supplies.
Izvestia (‘Gas of Russia’) publishes an article by Paul Corcoran, the financial director of Nord Stream AG, which comments on the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.
In an article by member of the executive board of E.ON Ruhrgas, Jochen Weise, Izvestia (‘Gas of Russia’) addresses energy cooperation between Germany and Russia.
In an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta comments on the Baku energy summit to discuss energy supplies to Europe.
RBK daily, in an article by Alexander Panchenko, reports on exports of diesel fuel to Europe.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Yury Gavrilov, reports on Russian peacekeepers’ support to the EU peacekeeping contingent in Chad under the UN auspices.
Kommersant publishes an article by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, which addresses the activity of the UN office in Geneva.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with speaker of the Polish Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz, which addresses bilateral relations and some international issues (e.g. the US missile defence plans in Eastern Europe).
In an article by Sergey Smirnov, Vremya novostei reports on the ‘Week of Tolerance in Europe’.
Gazeta carries an article by Alexander Shunin, which reports on the coming into force as of 17 November of a visa-free regime between the US and six EU Member States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) and South Korea.
Itogi publishes an article, entitled “A continental blockade”, by Konstantin Ugodnikov, which reports on a conference in Frankfurt am Main, organised at an initiative of Deutsche Boerse, to discuss the global economic situation. The author focuses on EU measures to deal with the economic and financial crisis.
Kommersant reports on certain differences between Hungary and Slovakia and the recent meeting of the two countries’ PMs, Ferenc Gyurcsany and Robert Fico, in the border town of Komarno.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta reports on European Commission proposals on credit rating agencies in an article by Tatiana Konishcheva.
 
17.11.08
Business & Financial Markets weekly newspaper publishes an article by member of the Federation Council, Vasily Likhachev, which addresses EU-Russia relations and the EU-Russia summit on 14 November in Nice.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, Miloslav Vlcek, which addresses both bilateral relations and some international issues, including the upcoming Czech Presidency of the EU and the US missile defence plans in Eastern Europe. Mr Vlcek reiterates his opposition to the deployment of a US radar on Czech soil.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with German political scientist Alexander Rahr on EU-Russia energy relations.
Gazeta and Izvestia comment on the Baku energy summit to discuss diversification of energy supplies to Europe.
Kommersant, in an article by Natalia Grib, reports on a European Commission proposal to set up a Caspian Development Corporation which would buy natural gas in Central Asia and coordinate investment in oil and gas production and transportation in the region.
In an article by Viktoria Panfilova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the visit of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to discuss, among other issues, energy cooperation.

 

14.11.08
Interfax news agency, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Novye Izvestia publish interviews by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner on the EU-Russia summit and most topical issues in bilateral relations. Special attention is paid to the resumption of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement and the situation in the Caucasus in the wake of the Georgia conflict. In her interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Benita Ferrero-Waldner underlined that at the summit, the EU will reconfirm its position that Russian violation of Georgian territorial integrity and the unilateral recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were and remain unacceptable.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, which addresses Russia's relations with the West after the conflict in South Ossetia.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Finnish PM Matti Vanhanen, which comments inter alia on PM Vladimir Putin's announcement of delaying the introduction by Russia of higher export tariffs on timber.
The issue of Russian export duties on timer is addressed in an article by Arina Sharipova published in Kommersant.
In an article by Yury Stroganov, Parlamentskaya Gazeta comments on Estonia's position on the resumption of EU-Russia talks on a new partnership agreement.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview on the EU-Russia summit in Nice by the Permanent Secretary of the French Academy, Helene Carrere d'Encausse.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta carries an analytical article on the EU-Russia summit, by Andrey Shitov.
Izvestia, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on a European Commission report on energy security to protect Europe from its dependence on Russian energy supplies. A Russian expert, cited by Izvestia, describes the report as a response to the setting up of a 'gas OPEC'.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, reports on an energy forum in Baku to discuss energy security and energy supplies to Europe.
In an article by Vasily Kashin and Boris Grozovsky, Vedomosti reports on the economic situation in the EU.
Vremya novostei (RIA-Novosti) reports on a statement by the German Economic Ministry, in which it defended the Nord Stream gas pipeline project following reports that Russia might call off the construction of Nord Stream.
In an article by Ksenia Fokina, Izvestia cites PM Berlusconi as having called on the EU to accelerate Turkey's bid to join the European Union.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Serbian parliamentarian, Dejan Mirovic, which addresses Kosovo, Serbia's EU bid and some other issues.
Vremya novostei cites briefly Spanish Economy Minister Pedro Solbes on Gazprom's interest in buying 20% of Repsol.

 

EU-Russia Summit in Nice on 14 November
Nice will host the next EU-Russia Summit on November 14, which, following the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers of 10 November, will confirm the continuation of negotiations for a New EU-Russia Agreement. Alongside topics such as the economic and financial crisis, energy security, and climate change, the Summit will also address the recent conflict in the Caucasus and other international issues such as Iran and proposals for a new European security architecture. In addition, the summit will review the state of play in the four Common Spaces[1]. The Commission will be represented by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, accompanied by Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton.
Prior to the Summit, President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, said: “The conflict in Georgia has emphasised the crucial need for permanent political dialogue between the EU and the Russian Federation, while the global economic crisis has underlined once more the interdependence between the EU and Russian economies. It is our belief that the New Agreement offers the best possibility for the EU to advance its interests while defending its values.”
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner added: “The Commission’s recent review of EU Russia relations has received overwhelming backing from EU member States. Russia needs the EU, and the EU has a clear interest in pursuing close co operation with Russia. Our team will approach the forthcoming negotiations with Russia with a clear-eyed sense of where the EU sees its own advantage. At the same time, the EU stands firm on the positions we have adopted since the Georgia crisis: the Geneva process must advance, and the principle of territorial integrity must be upheld.
Commissioner for Trade, Catherine Ashton commented: The EU-Russia trade relationship is now worth around EUR 260 billion a year. While the EU is a strong economic partner for Russia, our relationship could be much more valuable if Russia were to join the WTO.
The Summit will set a date for the next round of negotiations for the new EU-Russia Agreement, for which the mandate was adopted by the EU Council of Ministers on 26 May 2008. Negotiations for the Agreement were launched at the last EU-Russia summit in June in Khanty-Mansiisk and the first round of negotiations took place on 4 July 2008. Following the conflict in the Caucasus the European Council of 1 September 2008 decided to postpone meetings on the negotiations. At the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers of 10 November the Commission received political backing to pursue negotiations.
The new Agreement will cover results-orientated political co-operation, the perspective of deep economic integration, a level playing field for energy relations based on the principles of the Energy Charter, closer relations in the field freedom, security and justice, and a mutual opening of the educational and scientific systems. The new agreement will build upon the current four Common Spaces.
The EU does not accept status quo in Georgia. Council conclusions have made clear that the Russian violation of territorial integrity and unilateral recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are unacceptable. The October GAERC noted that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the zones adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia was an essential step in the implementation of the agreements of 12 August and 8 September, and called on all parties to continue to implement their commitments. The EU is fully dedicated to the international discussions provided for in these agreements (Geneva process) which continue on November 18th. The EU is committed to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.
 

Common Economic Space; Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice; Common Space of External Security and the Common Space of Research and Education

 

31.10.08
Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the visit yesterday to The Netherlands of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an article by Vladislav Vorobyov.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Yury Shpakov, reports on the 35th anniversary of Russian natural gas supplies to Germany and Western Europe.
Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies quote Foreign Minister Lavrov as saying yesterday in The Hague that Russia will meet all its contractual obligations to supply natural gas to Europe despite the global financial crisis.
In an article by Anna Arutunyan, Moscow News reports on the visit to Moscow of British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson to discuss measures to fight against the global financial crisis.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, which addresses latest developments around the Nabucco gas pipeline project and discussions of Azerbaijan’s participation in energy projects, bypassing Russia.
Kommersant publishes an article by Natalia Portyakova, which reports on the French Government’s decision to increase military spending as part a more assertive French foreign policy.
In an article by Alexander Shunin, Gazeta reports on a planned strike of Latvian medical workers to demand wage increases and improvements in the country’s healthcare system.
 
30.10.08
Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on a press conference yesterday in Moscow by British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled “Only truth”, by Valery Masterov, which reports on the recent meeting in Moscow of the Russian-Polish Commission for Disputed Issues to discuss problems of the past that have a negative impact on bilateral relations.
ITAR-TASS news agency reports on the visit to Russia of a delegation of the European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on Climate Change ahead of international talks on a post-Kyoto agreement.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Gazprom officials’ talks in Romania on the South Stream gas pipeline project (Interfax report).
Vedomosti (Wall Street Journal report) and Vremya novostei (Interfax report) mention that the EU has expressed its readiness to provide Hungary with a 6.5 billion-euro loan to help restore the country’s economic stability.
 
29.10.08.
Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the meeting yesterday in St. Petersburg of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council at the level of Foreign Ministers. The Moscow Times reports on the meeting in an article, entitled EU, Russia Hold Icy Talks in St. Pete, by Conor Sweeney and Denis Pinchuk.
Kommersant publishes an interview with British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, which addresses bilateral relations and the global financial crisis. Lord Mandelson also comments on his contacts with Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Mandelson's visit to Moscow in articles by Kira Latukhina and Yelena Kukol; Gazeta – in an article by Ksenia Batanova. Gazeta writes that this has been the first visit of a member of the British Government since 2007.
In an article by Tatiana Ivzhenko and Ivan Rodin, Nezvaisimaya Gazeta mentions the results of a recent poll by the Levada-Centre on Russians' attitudes towards the US, the EU, Ukraine and Georgia.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled Information hunger, by Natalia Savankova, which reports on plans by a group of Russian historians to send a letter to the European Parliament in connection with its recent resolution over Ukraine's famine (Holodomor).
In an article by Vladimir Kuzmin, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the upcoming opening in Moscow of the Bulgarian visa centre.
 
28.10.08.
Itogi weekly magazine, in an article by Kirill Privalov, reports on French President Nicolas Sarkozy's activity in the EU context.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Andrey Terekhov, reports on a meeting yesterday in Moscow of the Russian-Polish Commission for Disputed Issues. The meeting was opened by Foreign Minister SergeyLavrov.
The Moscow Times reports on the visit to Moscow of British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson in an article, entitled Embattled Mandelson Holds Talks In Moscow, by Nikolaus von Twickel.
Gazeta, Kommersant and Vremya novostei report on the results of Lithuania's Parliamentary elections.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the victory of the Czech opposition in elections in the Czech Republic.
In an article by Alexander Koksharov and Sergey Sumlenny, Expert comments on the economic situation in Europe.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Vyacheslav Prokofyev, which reports on France's bailout plan.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes a number of articles on the impact of the ongoing financial crisis on the everyday life in some countries (Belgium, France, the UK).
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine publishes an article by Alexei Alekseyev, which reports on the situation in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Cyprus settlement process. The magazine publishes an interview with Northern Cyprus leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Another Balkan Sleepwalk, by Richard Holbrooke and Paddy Ashdown, which addresses the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the country's EU membership bid.
In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei reports on a European Commission proposal of scanning air passengers by x-ray body scanners with a view to enhance security at airports. The author points to criticism voiced by MEPs towards the proposal which is viewed as a threat
 
Weekly review 20-27 October 2008
 
Moscow voices criticism towards EU monitors in Georgia
Donors’ Conference for Georgia
 
Russian diplomats last week voiced criticism towards EU monitors in the areas adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia against the backdrop of new tensions in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov inter alia called on the EU monitoring mission “to pay more active attention to the task outlined in the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, which consists of ensuring that the Georgian troops return to their permanent location”. In a later statement, Lavrov expressed concern that the EU monitors “have so far been paying little attention” to ensuring the non-use of force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Having complained that Georgian troops failed to withdraw from areas near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the top Russian diplomat warned that the Georgian actions could lead to new clashes. In his article published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta (27/10), Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin highlighted the need “to urgently settle the issue of the EU’s mandate and responsibility in the areas adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia”. Meanwhile, The Moscow Times cites the head of the EU monitoring mission in Georgia, Hansjoerg Haber, as saying that most Russian claims that Georgia is violating a cease-fire agreement in South Ossetia appear to be inflated. “There may have been isolated shootings, but no major incidents have been registered”, he said. Commenting on a recent wave of violence in the region, Vremya novostei (27/10) writes in a comment that the deterioration of the situation has become “another evidence of an incapability of the international community, in the first place the EU, to stabilize the situation in the Caucasus”.
 
Dailies report broadly on the 22 October Donors’ Conference for Georgia in Brussels and a pledge by international donors of more than $4.5 billion to help Georgia recover from the recent conflict with Russia. Kommersant (23/10) remarked that the conference ended “with the triumph of Georgian authorities”. At the same time, the daily expressed the view that “large-scale Western money pouring in the Georgian budget will not necessarily help President Mikheil Saakashvili keep control over the situation in the country”. Georgian political scientist Shalva Pichkhadze is quoted by Vremya novostei (23/10 as saying that “Georgia is not told and will not be told that the money is compensation for the loss of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”. The same daily also writes that “in addition to suspicions that the allocated funds could be used for strengthening the power of Saakashvili and rearming the Georgia armed forces, many experts suggested that the EU will finance via donors the implementation of its own projects to transport Caspian energy resources to Europe, bypassing Russia”. The media quoted European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who has openly admitted that the conflict in South Ossetia “had potential costs for Europe in terms of our energy security and our diversification strategy”.
 
‘US missile defence radar victim of Czech elections’ – press
 
Press comments on the outcome of the Senate elections in the Czech Republic, focusing on its possible impact on the proposed deployment of a US missile defence radar Czech soil and the Czech Presidency of the EU in the first semester of 2009. Vedomosti (27/10) writes in its headline that “the radar has lost the elections”, adding that after the victory of the Social Democrats, “the Senate might not ratify the agreement with the US on the radar even if it were approved by the lower chamber of the Czech Parliament”. Kommersant (27/10) highlights concerns expressed in other European countries toward the political situation in the Czech Republic as the country will soon hold the EU Presidency. “A question is being raised in many European capitals to what extent a country that can lose its PM or the whole Government is able to solve global problems given that its President Vaclav Klaus is known as a Euro-sceptic and categorically rejects the Lisbon Treaty”.
Novye Izvestia (27/10) reports on suggestions that the French Presidency of the EU should be extended as Prague may not cope with its role amid the ongoing financial crisis.
 
“Gas Troika”: EU opposes to any gas cartel
 
The establishment by the Gazprom CEO and the Ministers of oil and energy of Iran and Qatar at a meting in Tehran of a working commission (a so-called ‘gas Troika’) to discuss joint projects in the gas sector received broad media coverage. The term Gas OPEC, however, was avoided. Some experts believe that gas cartel activities will have serious implications for EU-Russia gas relations and say that the decision might hinder the US’s attempts to isolate Iran for its nuclear ambitions. Both the EU and the US opposed the creation of a ‘gas OPEC’, saying that a cartel would threaten the energy security and lead to price manipulation (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 22/10). Novye Izvestia (23/10) cites spokesman for EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, as having expressed opposition to any gas cartel.
 
European Parliament stops short of using the word “genocide” in its resolution on Ukraine’s famine
 
Dailies last week (Izvestia, Kommersant and Vremya novostei) reported on the adoption by the European Parliament of a resolution describing the famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine in 1932-1933 as “an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity. At the same time, commentators point out that the Parliament stopped short of using the word “genocide”.
 
 
21.10.08
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Anatoly Gordiyenko, and Vremya novostei, in an article by Mikhail Vignansky, report on a Donors’ Conference for Georgia on 22 October in Brussels and comment on EU assistance to Georgia.
Izvestia publishes an article by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, which comments on Europe’s reaction to the Georgina conflict.
In an article by Maria Semina, Novye Izvestia reports on the outcome of regional elections in the Czech Republic ahead of the Czech Presidency of the EU in the first semester of 2009.
In a special supplement, dedicated to the Czech Republic, Expert weekly magazine publishes an interview with Czech PM Topolanek, which addresses issues of European integration and EU-Russia relations.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Polish Professor Grzegorz Kolodko, which addresses the issue of relations between Russia and the West.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on the French Government’s measures to deal with the financial crisis in an article by Natalia Kolosova. RBK daily, in an article by Roman Kirillov, and Vremya novostei (ITAR-TASS) report on the Dutch Government’s bailout plan for the ING bank. Vedomosti addresses bank bailout measures adopted by the Dutch and Swedish Governments in an article by Tatiana Bochkareva.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the German Government’s bank bailout package, worth €500 billion (Interfax report). Expert publishes an article by Alexander Koksharov and Sergey Sumlenny, which reports on measures of EU Member States’ Governments to deal with the financial crisis.
Kommersant (Interfax) cites Lithuanian politician and the likeliest candidate for Lithuania’s new PM, Andrius Kubilius, on EU-Russia relations, including negotiations on a new partnership agreement.
Kommersamt, in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, reports on the appointment of 10 Kosovo ambassadors and cites Kosovo envoy to Belgium Ilir Dugolli who said he would lobby for wider recognition of Kosovo’s independence by EU Member States.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Sergey Lavinov, which comments on the relationship between Peter Mandelson and Russia’s aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska. The daily remarks that in his previous job as the EU Trade Commissioner, Mr Mandelson was involved in decisions to cut import tariffs on aluminium.
Expert reports on a recent spat between Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and PM Donald Tusk over the participation in the EU summit.
In an article by Leonid Chrikov, Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on the political and economic situation in Hungary in the context of the country’s EU membership.
 
17.10.08
Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the EU summit in Brussels. The media focuses on discussions by the EU leaders of the ongoing financial crisis and proposals of a new Bretton Woods system, and on the relations between the EU and Russia. Commentators point to the absence of a decision to restart talks with Moscow on a new partnership agreement.
The Moscow News (AP report) quotes Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi as saying that he is in favour of Russia becoming a member of the EU.
In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Novye Izvestia comments on the European Pact on Immigration backed by the EU leaders at their summit in Brussels.
Kommersant cites a statement on energy security made by Estonian PM Andrus Ansip at the meeting between the leaders of the Baltic States, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Poland with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Kazakhstan will link Europe to China”, by Polina Khimshiashvili, which reports on a discussion in Astana of a transport corridor from China to Europe.
In an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Kazakhstan joining projects to supply energy resources to Europe (e.g. the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline).
In an article, entitled “Mandelson Scolded Over Deripaska”, by Nikolaus von Twickel, The Moscow Times quotes spokesman for the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Denis Daniilidis, as commenting on EU decisions on the tariff cuts in the context of former EU Trade Commission Peter Mandelson’s relationship with Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska. “Mr Mandelson has made it clear that he has met Mr Deripaska socially through mutual friends”, the spokesman said, adding that “Mr Deripaska has not raised any commercial interest on a single occasion in any of these contacts”.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Yury Shpakov, which cites statements on energy security in the EU and the European Commission’s role in this field made by member of the executive board of E.ON Ruhrgas Henning Deters.
 
15.10.08
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, and Vremya novostei, in an article by Alexander Mineyev, address the agenda of the EU summit that opens today in Brussels. The authors focus on EU-Russiarelations.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Andrey Baklanov, which addresses the issue of European security.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the Transnistrian settlement in an article by Svetlana Gamova.
RBK daily reports briefly on conclusions on Moldova adopted at the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting, expressing the EU's intention to negotiate an ambitious agreement with Chisinau. The daily argues that the move is caused by EU concerns that Moldova has become one of Moscow's allies.
Vedomosti publishes in Russian a Financial Times article, which addressed PM Gordon Brown's economic policy.
Vremya novostei reports on PM Brown's proposals for overcoming the financial crisis in an article by Zurab Nalbandyan.
In an article by Andrey Denisov and Nikolay Kochelyagin, Vremya novostei mentions an EU statement on the situation on Hungary's financial markets.
Kommersant, in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, and Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Yulia Petrovskaya, report on a rally in Podgorica to protest against the recognition by Montenegro of Kosovo's independence. Kommersant quotes Montenegro's PM Milo Djukanovic as saying that the decision to recognise Kosovo was not a result of foreign pressure. We took into consideration our country's need to strengthen partnership with the EU, he stressed.
In an article by Margarita Verkhovskaya, Novye Izvestia mentions a report on road accident victims in the capitals of EU Member States, issued by the European Transport Safety Council. According to the report, Berlin's road death rate per 100,000 inhabitants stood at 1.64 in 2007. Ljubljana became the most dangerous European traffic capital, with 12.98 victims of road accidents per 100,000 residents.
 
Weekly review 14-20 October 2008
 
Georgia talks get off to a shaky start
EU takes no decision to restart talks with Moscow
The media comments widely on a failure of the first round of international negotiations over the South Caucasian conflict on 15 October in Geneva over “procedural difficulties”. Speaking to reporters on the same day, President Nicolas Sarkozy warned against confrontation with Russia, saying that it would be unreasonable. “I am told that the discussion started off painfully, but I would have been surprised if they had started off smoothly”, Sarkozy was quoted saying (Moscow News, 17/10).  Some observers argue that the failure of the talks was in the interests of both Moscow and Tbilisi, although it should not be viewed as “a great diplomatic success” (Novye Izvestia, 16/10). Addressing the EU summit last week in Brussels, the media emphasizes that despite expectations, the issue of the relationship with Russia was not high on the agenda. Kommersant (16/10) wrote that following the failure of the Geneva talks, “the EU leaders decided to postpone again the restart of negotiations with Moscow on a new partnership agreement”.
In Vremya novostei’s view (17/10), “uncertain provisions” of the summit’s conclusions may be explained by “disagreements inside the EU” over the Russian troops’ presence in Georgia. While at its summit on 1 September, the EU decided to postpone the negotiations with Russia until the withdrawal of Russian troops to the positions held prior to 7 August, the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, amended by the Russian and French Presidents on 8 September, speaks of the Russian troop withdrawal from buffer zones around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta (16/10), the EU seeks to get access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, although there are no respective agreements with Moscow. Referring to unnamed ‘Western diplomats’, the daily writes that “the EU’s goal is to get access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia to monitor both the military situation there and the situation with the rights of the remaining ethnic Georgian population”.
In his article published in Kommersant (14/10), Russian political scientist Andrey Fyodorov expresses the view that “the longer the EU and Russia delay their work on drafting a new agreement, the less chance there is for Russia to work with the EU normally”. Until now, the expert writes, “a dialogue with individual EU Member States – France, Germany and Italy – has been more important for Russia than the relationship with the entire European Union. But in the future this scheme will be losing its effectiveness due to the consolidation and upcoming transformation of the EU’s system of power”.
 
EU leaders discuss financial crisis
 
The media focuses on discussions by the EU leaders at their summit last week in Brussels of the ongoing financial crisis and proposals of a new Bretton Woods system, and the meeting on Saturday in Camp David of Presidents George W. Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso to deal with the economic crisis. The leaders called for a summit aimed at reforming the international financial system.
 
Turkmenistan has enough gas for Nabucco
US Senator Lugar warns of Russia’s energy monopoly over the EU
According to an audit conducted by Britain’s Gaffney, Cline & Associates, Kommersant (15/10) reported, the South Yolotan-Osman field in south-eastern Turkmenistan holds between 4-14 trillion cubic metres of natural gas. Experts note that the field is larger than Russia’s Shtokman field (3.7trillion cubic metres of gas), and makes Turkmenistan capable not only to satisfy the needs of Gazprom and China, but also to pump its gas to Europe via the Nabucco pipeline. A Russian analyst told the daily that this is “good news for the European Union” as Nabucco, which is considered as the main rival to Gazprom’s positions on the European market, has not had a resource base.
In the meantime, Vremya novostei (20/10) cites US Senator Richard Lugar’s statement at the National Defence University in Washington on Russia’s movement toward “an energy supply monopoly” in Europe. Lugar described the latter as “one of the most damaging foreign policy developments of the post-Cold War era”, and slammed the US, the EU and NATO for their failure to provide alternatives to Russia’s energy strategy in Europe. The daily writes that the Senator considers oil and gas supplies to Europe form the Central Asian region (first of all Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) as the cornerstone of a new system of energy security for Europe.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in its supplement ‘NG-Energy’ (14/10), analyses the transit of hydrocarbon resources from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to Europe via Georgia. The corridor via Georgia is described as “the only economically effective and politically possible, in the context of the existing inter-state relations in the South Caucasus, transit corridor to supply the Caspian and Central Asian oil to the world market, bypassing Russia”. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (17/10) reports on Kazakhstan joining projects to supply energy resources to Europe, bypassing Russia (e.g. the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline).
 
14.10.08
Dailies report broadly on the EU Foreign Ministers' decision to temporarily lift a travel ban on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud and Vremya novostei). Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the EU Foreign Ministers' decisions on Belarus and Uzbekistan in an article by Svetlana Gamova and Victoria Panfilova. Kommersant also mentions the EU Foreign Ministers' decision on Uzbekistan in an article by Alexander Gabuyev and Yury Potemkin.
In a special supplement 'NG-Energy', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Oleg Nikiforov, which addresses discussions of energy relations between Russia and Europe at the Economic Forum in Poland's Krynice.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Energy') carries an article by Alexei Khaitun, which comments on the recent conflict in the Caucasus in the context of gas and oil supplies to Europe via Georgia.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Iran's plan to build a pipeline to pump natural gas to Europe that would be independent of Nabucco (RIA-Novosti report).
RBK daily publishes a front-page article by Andrey Kotov, which comments on British PM Gordon Brown's call for a new Bretton Woods system to build a new international financial architecture. Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses Brown's proposal in an article by Artur Blinov.
Trud reports on the meeting over the weekend in Paris of the 15 eurozone leaders to discuss the financial crisis in an article by Pyotr Geltishchev. Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the eurozone summit in an article by Vyacheslav Prokofyev.
In an article by Konstantin Tikhonov, Gazeta addresses measures proposed by the Governments of some EU Member States for overcoming the financial crisis. Vremya novostei reports on the same issue in an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin and Yury Shpakov.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled A new anti-Iran coalition, by Nikolai Surkov, which argues that the EU and the US can agree on imposing additional sanctions against Iran without informing the UN, Russia and China.
Expert weekly magazine, in an article by Alexei Bausin, reports on the issue of the Transnistrian settlement and the EU's role in the settlement.
In an article by Valery Masterov, Vremya novostei reports that Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has pleaded with Polish President Lech Kaczynski not to go to this week's EU summit.
The issue of Kosovo is addressed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Milkan Lovinac, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Vladimir Belousov.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, RBK daily and
Vremya novostei report on the results of Lithuania's Parliamentary elections.
In an article by Roman Kirillov, RBK daily reports on worsening credit conditions in EU Member States.
Izvestia reports on European Commission proposals to toughen EU rules on pesticide residues in an article by Alexei Aronov.
 
13.10.08
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine, in an article by Alexander Kukolevsky, compares President Dmitry Medvedev's speech in Evian last week and the 2007 speech of the then-President Vladimir Putin in Munich, focusing on Medvedev's statements on the EU.
Novye Izvestia publishes an interview with Minister of State at the German Foreign Ministry, Gernot Erler, which addresses both bilateral and EU-Russia relations.
Kommersant, in an article by Morits Gatmann, and Novye Izvestia, in an article by Irina Petrova, report on a conference, organised by Germany's Konrad Adenauer Foundation over the weekend in Moscow, to discuss the development of Russian-German relations.
In a special supplement 'NG-Dipkurier', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Dmitry Danilov, which comments on EU-Russia relations against the backdrop of the recent crisis in the Caucasus.
Itogi weekly magazine publishes an article by Sergey Pankratov, which reports on the economic situation in the EU and measures for overcoming the economic and financial crisis. Rossiyskaya Gazeta addresses the same issue in an article by Vladislav Vorobyov. The daily also mentions talks in Dortmund between Russian and German Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Gazeta mentions a meeting in Paris of the 15 eurozone leaders to discuss the financial crisis. Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') reports on the financial crisis in Europe in an article by Yekaterina Kuznetsova.
Dailies (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei) report on latest developments between the EU and Belarus.
In an interview with Izvestia, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said he expected Russia to put forward constructive proposals on the Transnistrian settlement, which would be approved by all sides concerned.
Kommersant publishes an article by Vladimir Vodo, which comments on Sunday's Parliamentary elections in Lithuania.
In an article by Andrey Biryukov, Gazeta addresses the issue of energy efficiency in a number of EU Member States.
 
Weekly review of articles on 30 September-6 October 2008
 
Deployment of EU monitoring mission in Georgia
 
The media reports widely on the deployment in Georgia of hundreds of EU observers who have begun patrolling Georgian territory and the Georgian buffer zones adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia under the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace plan. In the view of German political scientist, Alexander Rahr, cited by Novye Izvestia (01/10), the presence of EU monitors is “beneficial to Russia”: first, one could speak of “the internationalisation” of the conflict, he said, adding that “the Europeans will be a kind of buffer, protecting South Ossetia from possible actions by Georgia” and that “the EU mission could promote the process of democratization not only in Georgia but in the entire Caucasian region”. In an article published in Kommersant (03/10), Russian political scientist Timofei Bordachev says “for the first time in their history, EU states are acting as a mediator between the two superpowers – Russia and the US”. At the same time, the expert suggests that “a ‘mild’ form of a cold war between the US and Russia would secure Europe’s central role in global politics”, while “the ‘European global mission’ would be complicated if the US and Russia escalate a conflict”.
Initial reports indicated, with reference to the Russian military, that EU monitors would not have immediate access to its security zone inside Georgia. Kommersant (02/10) wrote that the start of the European monitors’ work in Georgia “was presented with great pomp”: “EU HR Javier Solana arrived in Tbilisi to mark this event”. But the daily remarked that on the first day of their work, “the EU monitoring mission encountered problems posed by the Russian military”, and pointed to a holdup of the first group of observers at a Russian checkpoint on their way from Gori to the Georgian village of Karaleti. “After long telephone talks, a Russian officer agreed to let the monitors drive further”, the daily reported and argued that disagreements between Moscow and Brussels over the EU monitoring mission “are not limited by technical issues only”. In this context, Kommersant cites Solana as saying in Tbilisi that EU monitors would be deployed in the future on the entire territory of Georgia. “Thus, he has made it clear that Brussels reckons on sending its monitoring missions to Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, while Russian diplomats emphasize that EU monitors will indeed be deployed on the entire territory of Georgia, i.e. “minus Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are independent states”.
According to the latest media reports, “despite the 3 October blast near the Russian peacekeeping force headquarters in Tskhinvali” (Kommersant, 06/10), Russian troops have started withdrawing from the security zone in Georgia. EU observers have confirmed the dismantling of the first Russian checkpoint in the area adjacent to South Ossetia, expressing hope that Russia will meet its obligations to withdraw its troops from the buffer zone by 10 October. Last week, President Dmitry Medvedev reiterated following talks with Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero that Russia will fulfil its commitments under the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace deal on time.
 
Russian-German summit: disagreements over Georgian conflict remain
 
Commenting on talks between President Dmitry Medvedev and Chancellor Angela Merkel on 2 October in St. Petersburg, the press mentions that the two leaders for the first time discussed “in essence” Medvedev’s proposal of a new European security pact (RBK daily, 03/10)). The talks took place on the next day after the deployment of the EU monitoring mission in Georgia. Observers highlight that the disagreements between Russia and Germany over the Georgian conflict remain. While Merkel reiterated that Germany views Russia’s reaction in Georgia as “disproportionate”, Medvedev expressed confidence that there would be no return to a cold war despite recent tensions over the Georgian conflict. He also “tried to convince Merkel” (RBK daily) that Russian-German relations are “a stabilizing factor in the Euro-Atlantic space”. Some commentators do not expect a rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow, although they admit the further expansion of bilateral economic relations as soon as Russia needs German know-how and innovation for modernizing its economy and Germany needs a reliable supplier of raw materials (Chairman of theEastern Committeeof GermanIndustry,Klaus Mangold, in an interview with Vremya novostei, 02/10).
 
EU mini-summit fails to agree joint bailout plan
 
Dailies (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei) report broadly on the EU mini-summit on Saturday in Paris to discuss the global financial crisis. Observers point to a failure by the leaders of France, Italy, the UK and Germany to agree a joint bailout plan for European financial institutions.

 

9.10.08
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by political scientist Dmitry Danilov, which addresses the relationship between the EU and Russia and the prospects for resuming talks on a new bilateral agreement.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Alexander Zditovetsky, which reports that Portugal has become the 22nd EU Member State that has recognised the independence of Kosovo. The author also mentions the EU mission to Kosovo, and a resolution adopted yesterday by the UN GA to support Serbia’s proposal to ask the International Court of Justice on the legality of the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo’s independence.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the UN GA’s decision on Kosovo in an article by Yevgeny Shestakov. RBK daily describes the decision as “a diplomatic victory both for Belgrade and Moscow”.
Kommersant reports on Portugal’s recognition of Kosovo in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov. Kommersant and Vremya novostei report that Montenegro may also recognise Kosovo’s independence.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta addresses the Spanish Government’s measures for overcoming the financial crisis in an article by Pavel Golub.
In an article by Alexei Ilyin, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the visit of Deputy PM Sergey Sobyanin to Bulgaria and mentions a number of pipeline projects (e.g. the South Stream gas pipeline) with the participation of Bulgaria.
 
8.10.08
Kommersant, in an article by Yevgeny Khvostik, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, report on the meeting of EU Economic and Finance Ministers yesterday in Luxemburg to discuss the financial crisis in Europe.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin, addresses EU Member States’ measures to rescue financial institutions.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Vadim Smirnov, which addresses the issue of the Kaliningrad region in the context of EU-Russia relations.
In an article by Olga Tomashevskaya, Vremya novostei mentions latest developments between the EU and Belarus.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, by Danuta Dembovskaya, on Russian-Latvian relations and possible candidates for the post of next Latvian Ambassador in Moscow.
In an article by Marina Gritsyuk, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on a roundtable discussion of migration policies in the EU and Russia.
 
7.10.08
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Alexander Mineyev, which reports on a world policy conference in Evian (France) with the participation of President Nicolas Sarkozy and PM Francois Fillon, as well as leaders of a number of other countries.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which tackles a wide range of foreign policy issues, including relations between Russia and the West.
Expert weekly magazine reports on proposals made by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, which envision strengthened supervision of the financial sector in the EU.
In an article by Sergey Sumlenny, Expert reports on the German Government’s bailout for Hypo Real Estate (HRE) and the European Commission’s position on the German plan. The author cites in this regard spokesman for EU Competition Commission Neelie Kroes, Jonathan Todd.
Vedomosti reports on measures undertaken by Governments of some EU Member States to rescue financial institutions in an article by Mikhail Overchenko and Tatiana Bochkareva. Gazeta reports on the same issue in an article by Yulia Lokshina; Kommersant – in an article by Yevgeny Khvostik; Nezavisimaya Gazeta – in an article by Mikhail Sergeyev; Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta – in an article by Tatiana Konishcheva; Vremya novostei – in an article by Yury Shpakov.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Europe Feels the Pain Of American Hubris” (The Wall Street Journal), which addresses problems of European financial institutions.
Kommersant publishes an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, which reports on the municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of the “Kosovo precedent” and the possible separation of the Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska). Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU bid is also mentioned.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with PM of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, which addresses, among other issues, relations between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Expert reports on the political parties in France in an article by Konstantin Matsan.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta, in an article by Alexei Chichkin, addresses the issue of a number of pipelines designed to supply oil to Europe.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the upcoming discussion by EU Transport Ministers of a directive on road safety (Interfax report).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on the opening of the EU’s first immigration office outside of Europe in Bamako, Mali.
Expert mentioned briefly an EU ban on smoking in public places.
 
6.10.08
Dailies (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei) report on the EU mini-summit on Saturday in Paris to discuss the global financial crisis. Observers point to a failure by the leaders of France, Italy, the UK and Germany to agree a joint bailout plan for European financial institutions.
Interfax news agency reports (3 October) on a meeting between PM Vladimir Putin and a delegation from the European Parliament’s Socialist Group, led by Martin Schulz.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on the resignation of EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson who has accepted the invitation by PM Gordon Brown to join the British Government.
In an article by Vladislav Kagan, Novye Izvestia reports that the EU has invited Belarus Foreign Minister Sergey Martynov to hold talks with his EU counterparts this month. The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports briefly on the same issue.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Vladislav Inozemtsev, which compares Russia’s and the EU’s transport infrastructure.
Vremmya novostei quotes CEO of Eni, Paolo Scaroni, as calling for further development of Italy’s relations with Russia (RIA-Novosti report).

 

 

3.10.08.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, by Juan Cobo, on the visit to Russia earlier this week of Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on a min-summit of the EU in Paris to discuss the deepening financial crisis.
Izvestia publishes an insert dedicated to Germany and Russian-German relations.
Vedomosti reports on latest developments around the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in an article by Irina Malkova, Yelena Mazneva and Yelena Zotova. According to the authors, the launch of the South Stream pipeline has been postponed until at least 2015.
Kommersant publishes an interview with leader of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, Mehmet Ali Talat, which addresses the Cyprus settlement and answers a question on the possible involvement of EU peacekeepers in the settlement.
In an article by Marina Gritsyuk, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on a roundtable discussion of migration policies in Russia and the EU.
The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports briefly on the EU’s call for quick military action against Somali pirates.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a WTO ruling against the US in an anti-dumping case initiated by the EU. The WTO backed an EU complaint that the US illegally priced imports (ITAR-TASS report).
 
30.09.08
The Moscow Times (AP report) cites the commander of EU peacekeeping troops in Chad, Patrick Nash, as expressing hope that Russian helicopters will be in place to support the mission in early November despite the cooling of relations over Georgia.
Novye Izvestia and Vedomosti publish articles, which refer to a statement by the European Commission on a tougher line in European trade policy. The statement points to the existing 450 export restrictions on raw materials in countries such as China, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Argentina. In the view of experts, cited by Novye Izvestia, Russia should not fear EU sanctions.
In an interview with Izvestia, British Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton [who is leaving Moscow today] points to the need to implement the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace plan by all sides, including Russia and the EU.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Yevgeny Shetsakov, reports on a roundtable discussion, organised by the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, to discuss relations between Russia and the West.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Trud report on the outcome of Parliamentary elections in Austria, focusing on the success of Austria's ultra-right.
Gazeta, Kommersant and Novye Izvestia report on the results of regional legislative elections in Bavaria.
Expert weekly magazine publishes an interview with Zygmunt Berdychowski, chairman of the Krynica forum's programme council, which comments on Poland's foreign policy priorities.
Expert publishes an article by Alexander Koksharov and Sergey Sumlenny, which addresses the issue of integration of migrants in EU Member States.
Izvestia publishes an interview with Finnish researcher Johan Backman, the author of a book on the Bronze soldier monument relocation in Tallinn last year. Mr Backman inter alia expresses the view that Estonia may collapse as an independent state and speaks of a deep split within the European Union.
Kommersant, RBK daily and Vremya novostei report on the financial crisis in Europe and measures undertaken by Governments of EU Member States to support the banking sector.
In an article by Roman Kirillov, RBK daily reports on the economic situation in the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Vladimir Skosyrev, which reports on the EU ban on imports of products containing Chinese milk.
 
Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media, 22-29 September 2008
Bush's, Sarkozy's speeches at UN GA session
 
EU monitors arrive in Georgia
 
The press (e.g. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times) last week reported on an EU monitoring mission in Georgia to be deployed by 1 October in Poti, Gori, Zugdidi and Tbilisi. Speeches at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly by Presidents George W.Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy were the focus of media reports. Observers remark that while the US position on the Russian-Georgian conflict remained unchanged [Bush has accused Russia of violating the UN Charter by invading Georgia], Sarkozy expressed confidence that the EU and Russia should be partners (Izvestia, 24/09). As Kommersant (25.09) wrote, Nicolas Sarkozy categorically disagreed with the assessment of Russia's actions given by President Bush and quite mildly criticised Moscow for using force in Georgia and the recognition by Russia of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He did not say a word about the EU backing for Tbilisi.
In the meantime, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (24.09), in an article by Yulia Petrovskaya, writes that it remains unclear whether EU-Russian negotiations on a new agreement will resume next month. The French Presidency says it will depend on assessment by the EU of Russia's implementation of the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement. As diplomats note, a negative assessment could lead to a new delay of the negotiations and cancelation of the November EU-Russia summit.
 
No Nabucco without Russia?
Iran's pipeline may rival South Stream, Nabucco – press
 
Kommersant (24.09) published an interview with Claude Mandil, the former head of the International Energy Agency, who visited Moscow last week. In the interview, Mandil argued inter alia that the Nabucco gas pipeline project can only be implemented with Russia, and not against it, and called to stop opposing any gas transit routes. Europe has enormous demands for energy resources, and therefore it needs Nord Stream, South Stream and Nabucco. Building a pipeline against someone's will is not safe, he said and expressed the view that most of the gas in all these projects will be Russian.
RBK daily (26.09), in an article, entitled An unexpected rival, by Yulia Nazarova, reports on Iran's proposal to build a $4 billion Pars gas pipeline to supply natural gas to Europe. In the author's view, the project may rival the EU-backed Nabucco and Gazprom's South Stream projects. However, most Russian experts, contacted by RBK daily, voiced doubts about the viability of the Iran-proposed project. Some observers assume that if Pars was launched, Nabucco could face a risk of being left without gas, while others do not exclude that Gazprom might express its willingness to join the Pars project so as to buy all Iranian gas and resell it to the EU. This would be the easiest way to avoid competition, the daily concludes.
Meanwhile, commenting on a recent energy conference organised under the aegis of Freedom House, Izvestia (29.09) cites US Ambassador to Hungary April Foley who has called on Hungary to suspend its contacts with Russia over the South Stream gas pipeline and focus on Nabucco. The daily also refers to a statement by US Ambassador to Sweden, Michael Wood, who called on Europe to be 'careful' with the Nord Stream gas pipeline. The daily recalls in this context an interview by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Matthew Bryza with the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, which launched the American attack on an EU-Russia gas cooperation project. In the above mentioned interview with Kommersant, Mr Mandil emphasized that it is the EU who will exclusively decide on the issue of energy security for Europe. The US itself is highly dependent on oil imports from Venezuela, but no EU Member States tell Washington aloud that it is time to deal with that problem. The Moscow Times (Reuters report, 25/09) cited EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs as saying that the EU should strengthen ties with Russia and bolster investment in Georgia. He notably pointed to the need for progress on the Nabucco and Nord Stream gas pipelines. We need bridges with Russia not isolation, Piebalgs was quoted saying.
 
Belarus elections: Minsk hopes for Western approval
 
The 28 September Parliamentary elections in Belarus are high in the news. Observers comment on the issue under the angle of Belarus' relations with the West (the EU and the US) and Russia. According to Kommersant (29.09), Minsk expects much from the elections: it hopes that the West will acknowledge the country's legislative assembly as legitimate and lift sanctions against Belarus. Europe and the US also await the outcome of the voting, hinting that they are ready to reconsider relations with Minsk in case opposition representatives get mandates. Moscow pins hopes on the new Belarusian Parliament, expecting Belarus to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Commentators did not exclude that the EU might decide to ease sanctions against Belarus and mentioned in this regard the conclusions adopted by EU Foreign Ministers at their meeting on 15 September. At the same time, Kommersant writes, the EU and the US point to the presence in the new Belarusian Parliament of opposition representatives as an additional condition. The daily continues that last week, Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza reported on secret negotiations on this issue between the EU and Minsk. The Polish newspaper claimed that the EU proposed to lift visa restrictions and unfreeze the financial aid to Belarus in exchange for leveraging at least 20 opposition deputies into the lower chamber of the Belarusian Parliament. It should be mentioned that the head of the Belarus Central Elections Commission, Lidia Yermoshina, said at a press conference on 29 September that no Belarusian opposition representatives were elected to Parliament.
 
25.09.08
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Andrey Terekhov, which reports on an EU monitoring mission in Georgia to be deployed by 1 October in Poti, Gori, Zugdidi and Tbilisi.
Gazeta publishes an interview with Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, which addresses upcoming Parliamentary elections in Austria on 28 September, EU-Russia relations and the conflict in the Caucasus.
The Moscow Times cites EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs as saying that the EU should strengthen ties with Russia and bolster investment in Georgia. He notably pointed to the need for progress on the Nabucco and Nord Stream gas pipelines (Reuters report).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on EU measures to attract qualified workers from third countries (RIA-Novosti).
RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article, which reported on the European Parliament's call on the European Commission to improve regulation for the financial markets, including hedge funds and private equity.
Izvestia reports briefly on EU checks on imports of Chinese food (ITAR-TASS).
 
10.09.08
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Counting The Costs After the Conflict, by Courtney Weaver, which quotes a commentary on EU-Russia economic and trade relations by the Deputy Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Paul Vandoren.
Izvestia publishes an article by political expert Dmitry Orlov, which comments on the EU's plans to diversify routes for energy supplies. In the author's view, the goal of those plans is to weaken Russia's role as both producer and supplier of energy resources. Special attention is paid to the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud and The Moscow Times report on the EU-Ukraine summit on 9 September in Paris.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled A Road to Nowhere, by Gideon Rachman, a columnist for the Financial Times, which addresses the Georgian conflict and mentions the prospect of Georgia and Ukraine joining the EU.
Kommersant reports briefly that Belarus Foreign Minister Sergey Martynov will be invited to take part in a meeting with the EU Troika on 15 September in Paris.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Belarus opposition politician, Alexander Milinkevich, which addresses, among other issues, Belarus' relations with the EU.
In an article, entitled Nabucco-Jazz, by Oksana Gavshina, Gazeta reports on the perspectives for the Nabucco gas pipeline.
Gazeta publishes a table on gas suppliers to the EU and Gazprom's strategy in Europe.
Novye Izvestia refers to Gerhard Schroeder, the head of Nord Stream shareholders' committee, who has said that the consumption of gas by the EU will double in the next 10 years. According to Schroeder, around 15% of gas will be supplied to the EU from Libya and Algeria, 10% - from Norway, 10% - from Central Asia and the Middle East, while 25% of gas will be supplied from Russia.

 

 

1.08.08
Vedomosti publishes an article by Alexei Bausin and Ivan Preobrazhensky, which reports on Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus’ inability to participate in a summit of Presidents of Poland and the Baltic states scheduled for 1-3 August in Poland. The summit has been postponed.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Nikolai Paklin, and Vedomosti, in an article by Vasily Kashin, report on a failure of the WTO Doha Round talks. Vedomosti quotes EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Alexander Mineyev, which addresses the issue of renewable energy sources in the EU and mentions the European Commission’s target to source 20% of all energy use from renewables by 2020.
Vremya novostei reports on internal developments in Latvia in an article by Danuta Dembovskaya. The daily mentions that annual inflation in Latvia remains the highest in the EU.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Alexander Samokhotkin, comments on the Turkish Constitutional Court’s decision not to close down the ruling AKP party and mentions the EU’s call on Turkey to speed up reforms.
In an article by Roman Dobrokhotov, Novye Izvestia reports on a French law which ends France’s maximum 35-hour working week and mentions minimum annual leave in the EU.

 

29.07.08
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Pierre Sidibe, mentions ratification by the Bulgarian Parliament of an agreement with Russia on cooperation in the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline.
Itogi weekly magazine, in an article by Vladimir Kryuchkov, reports on EU energy projects and energy strategy.
Itogi publishes an interview with Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky, which addresses, among other issues, energy relations between the EU and Russia.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Lessons From Bosnia”, by Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, which addresses the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and the issue of Kosovo.
In an article, entitled “Karadzic will not return Kosovo”, by Katerina Labetskaya, Vremya novostei comments on the motives behind the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, including Serbia’s hopes for accession to the EU.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta carries an article by Alexei Chichkin and Yevgeny Arsyukhin, which addresses the EU’s so-called Euroregions.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta compares inflation indicators in the EU and Russia in an article by Yevgeny Arsyukhin.
In an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on international projects of transport corridors to Europe bypassing Russia, including ‘Viking’ and TRACECA.
RIA-Novosti news agency and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Nadezhda Sorokina, report that Latvian authorities have denied entry to correspondent of Russia’s news agency Regnum, Andrey Vypolzov, who took the third place in the European Commission-organised competition among Russian journalists and was awarded a trip to Riga.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Vyacheslav Prokofyev, which reports on plans of nine of the EU’s 27 Member States to adopt a new divorce law.
Novye Izvestia reports on the issue of immigrants in Belgium in an article by Alexander Mineyev. The author also mentions EU immigration policy.
 
27.07.08
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Look West, Go East”, by Adrian Pabst, which addresses the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia’s foreign policy priorities and relations with the EU.
Kommersant reports on developments in Serbia and Serbia’s EU aspirations in an article by Gennady Sysoyev.
In an article by Svetlana Gamova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin’s statements on Moldova’s EU aspirations. The daily mentions a discussion of the Transnistrian settlement in a telephone conversation earlier this week between Voronin and EU HR Javier Solana.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Maxim Yegorov, which reports on EU and US measures to curb inflation.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on developments around the South Stream gas pipeline project (Interfax report).
RBK daily, in an article by Tatiana Kosobokova, and Trud, in an article by Valentina Kudrikova, report on a survey by the EU-Russia Centre on ‘the Russian middle class’.
In a special supplement ‘NG-Dipkurier’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Svetlana Gamova, which comments on the role of the EU in settling conflicts in the post-Soviet space.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) publishes an article, by Ekaterina Kuznetsova, on EU foreign policy.
Novye Izvestia comments on the rail road Baku-Tbilisi-Kars in the context of transport corridors to Europe bypassing Russia.
Itogi weekly magazine, Izvestia, Kommersant, Kommersant-Vlast weekly, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times comment on the arrest of Bosnian war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. The press also provides the EU’s reaction to the arrest and mentions Serbia’s EU aspirations.
Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) and Novye Izvestia report on latest developments around the Cyprus settlement and agreement reached by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to restart talks on Cyprus’ reunification.
Kommersant-Vlast publishes an article, by Sergey Minayev, which reports on the WTO trade round last week in Geneva and addresses developments between the EU and Russia on the issue of Russia’s WTO accession.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the Bulgarian Parliament has ratified an agreement for Bulgaria’s participation in the South Stream gas pipeline (Lenta.ru report).
Vedomosti carries an article by Vladislav Inozemtsev, which addresses the healthcare system in EU Member States.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Clash of Capitalisms”, by John Thornhill, editor of the European edition of The Financial Times, which tackles the economic situation in the EU.
In an article by Ekaterina Dudareva, Seda Yegikyan and Sergey Sobolev, Kommersant (Saturday’s issue) reports on a review by Britain’s Office of Communications of the regulations of television advertising to comply with the new EU Audiovisual Media Service Directive rules on advertising.
Gazeta, in an article by Marina Petrakova, reports briefly on approval by the European Commission of the purchase by Hewlett-Packard Co of Electronic Data Systems Corp (EDS).
Novye Izvestia, in an article by Alexander Mineyev, reports briefly on the attractiveness of the work in the European Commission among young people in EU Member States.
 
25.07.08
Vedomosti publishes an article by Olga Kuvshinova, Nadezhda Ivanitskaya and Ulyana Gorbolskaya, which reports on latest developments around an increase in Russian export duties on wood.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled “Capitulation in a European way”, by Katerina Labetskaya, which reports on Serbia’s decision to reinstate ambassadors in a number of EU Member States that recognise Kosovo’s independence. Kommersant reports on the same issue in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov.
Gazeta publishes an interview with President of the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat, which addresses the Cyprus settlement. Another interview with Mehmet Ali Talat on the issue of the Cyprus settlement is published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Vremya novostei carries an article by Mikhail Kukushkin, which reports on the updated list of air carriers banned within the EU.
 
24.07.08
Izvestia publishes an article by Ksenia Fokina, which comments on the arrest in Serbia of Bosnian war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic in the context of Serbia’s EU aspirations. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the issue in an article by Yulia Petrovskaya; Vremya novostei – in an article by Katerina Labetskaya; The Moscow Times – in an article, entitled “The Face of Evil”, by Richard Holbrooke, the chief architect of the Dayton Peace Agreement (the comment appeared in The Washington Post).
Gazeta, in an article by Ksenia Nechayeva, compares food price inflation rates in Russia and the EU.
In an article by Svetlana Gamova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses the issue of the Transnistrian settlement and mentions optimism over the prospects for the settlement expressed by EU Special Representative for Moldova Kalman Mizsei.
Novye Izvestia, The Moscow Times, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on the EU’s decision to freeze hundreds of millions of euro in aid money for Bulgaria due to corruption and maladministration in Bulgaria.
Vremya novostei reports on European Commission reports on the progress in Bulgaria and Romania of judicial reform and the fight against corruption in an article by Vyacheslav Samoshkin.
 
23.07.08
Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on President Nicolas Sarkozy-proposed changes to the French Constitution and their adoption in a joint session of Parliament.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with French historian and expert of geopolitics, Alexander Adler, which addresses some issues of European integration, including the Lisbon Treaty, the Mediterranean Union and the French EU Presidency’s priorities.
In an article, entitled “To Europe via the Caspian region”, Argumenty i fakty weekly newspaper reports on “the fight for Caspian energy resources” to diversify gas supplies to Europe.
Izvestia, in an article by Pyotr Inozemtsev, reports briefly on a meeting of President Bush with Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu and PM Hashim Thaci and cites Thaci’s statement on Kosovo’s EU and NATO aspirations.
 
22.07.08
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Ireland to discuss the fate of the Lisbon Treaty.
Gazeta carries an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, which reports on the visit to the US of Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu and PM Hashim Thaci and mentions Serbia’s EU aspirations.
 
21.07.08
Vedomosti publishes an article by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, which addresses the WTO trade round.
In an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, Gazeta quotes Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Russia’s relations with Italy and the European Union, including EU-Russia energy cooperation.
RBK daily publishes an article by Anatoly Pomortsev, which reports on statements made by a number of Irish politicians on the possibility of a second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, chief editor of ‘Russia in Global Affairs’, which addresses European integration, including the issue of the Lisbon Treaty.
Kommersant, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on the meeting between EU HR Javier Solana and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on 19 July in Geneva.
Interfax news agency publishes an interview with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, in which he addresses the issues of Kosovo and Serbia’s relations with the EU.
RBK daily reports briefly that the European Commission may block EU funding to Bulgaria in the amount of 610 million euro over the lack of results in the fight against corruption and organised crime in Bulgaria.
In an article by Vasily Kashin, Vedomosti mentions complaints to the WTO from Canada, the EU and the US over China’s discriminatory treatment of foreign financial news agencies.
 
18.07.08
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Valery Masterov, which reports on former Polish President Kwasniewski’s comment supporting the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Later, Kwasniewski said, however, that his statement was misinterpreted, but stressed that “if it cannot block the pipeline due to the threat to the environment, Poland should join the project. The pipeline could be a part of a common European energy policy, and in this way we could profit from the project”.
In an article by Nadezhda Sorokina, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on losses of tourist companies in Estonia and Latvia after the coming into force of a decree, signed by President Dmitry Medvedev, on visa-free travel for non-citizens residing in Latvia and Estonia.
RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on EU plans to cut energy consumption and refers in this regard to Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry Gunter Verheugen.
RBK daily, in an article by Roman Kirillov, reports on the issue of biofuels and mentions EU bioenergy policy.
Vedomosti carries an article, by Vasily Kashin, which reports on developments around the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline project designed to supply Caspian oil to Europe.
In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Alexei Smirnov, Yana Sergeeva and Artyom Oparin, Novye Izvestia addresses EU measures against tobacco.
Kommersant and Nezavisimaya Gazeta report briefly on plans announced by Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic to reinstate Serbia’s Ambassadors to EU countries that recognised Kosovo’s independence.
Vedomosti, Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times report on the WTO trade round in Geneva. Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times cite EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on tariffs on agricultural imports.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta mentions EU agricultural subsidies in an article by Alexei Baliyev.
In an article, entitled “Chisinau is attacking Brussels”, by Svetlana Gamova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on developments between the EU and Moldova.
Kommersant reports on a framework agreement between Gazprom Marketing & Trading and Soain’s Gas Natural SDG on LNG supplies in an article by Natalia Grib and Yekaterina Dudareva. The authors also address the possible EU reaction.
Novye Izvestia and Expert weekly magazine report on a political crisis in Belgium.
Expert publishes an interview with the rector of Estonia’s Institute of Economics and Management, Hanon Barabaner, which addresses the economic development of Estonia, including in the context of the country’s EU membership.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on France’s proposals on the ECB, which envisage more control of the European Commission over the ECB (ITAR-TASS report).
In an article by Alexei Vasilivetsky and Alexei Aronov, Izvestia reports on a ban imposed by the EU on the ovens used to make the Peking Duck.

 

11.07.08
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled “The hero of a ‘non-soap opera’”, by Pyotr Iskenderov, which reports on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s speech yesterday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to present the priorities of the French Presidency of the EU.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yevgeny Arsyukhin, which reports on cooperation between Gazprom and Libya. The author notes that the EU viewed Libyan energy resources as alternative to Russian energy resources as part of diversification of energy supplies to the EU. According to the author, now “the EU will have to deal with Gazprom in its trade relations with Libya”.
Vedomosti reports briefly on the European Parliament’ vote on the European Commission’s proposals to split up large integrated energy companies.
Gazeta publishes an interview with Iranian Ambassador to Russia, Gholamreza Ansari, in which he comments on EU incentives to Tehran and the EU-Iran negotiating base.
In an article by Olga Tomashevskaya, Vremya novostei reports on upcoming Parliamentary elections in Belarus and EU-Belarus relations and cites in this regard French Ambassador to Belarus, Mireille Musseau.
Gazeta reports on the situation with issuing visas for Russian citizens by the Bulgarian Consulate in Moscow in an article by Yelena Ogneva.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the EU could adopt this year new rules that would force banks to set aside more capital when they sell some credit products (Interfax report).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on searches carried out by EU antitrust regulators of offices of traders and distributors of cereals and other agricultural products on suspicion of running a cartel to fix prices (Lenta.ru, AFP reports)
 
9.07.08
Gazeta publishes an article by Yevgeny Belyakov and Konstantin Smirnov, which reports on a “sensational” statement by the Head of the European Commission to Russia, Marc Franco, that Brussels is ready for a compromise with Russia on the energy issue.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Migrants Cling to EU Dream”, by Sabina Zawadzki, which addresses the issue of illegal immigrants in the EU and new EU proposals to curb illegal immigration.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on new EU measures against illegal immigration.
Vremya novostei reports on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the upper house of the Dutch Parliament (RIA-Novosti report).
Vremya novostei reports on developments around the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the light of environmental concerns over the project and refers to a statement by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who said at the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiyk that the EU would back the project if environmental concerns were allayed (RIA-Novosti report). The Moscow Times (AP) reports that the European Parliament has demanded stricter environmental scrutiny before construction gets under way on the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
The Moscow Times reports briefly that “Finland may be able to retaliate against increased Russian wood export tariffs by making Russian transit traffic pay for using Finnish roads”. A statement in this regard was made by Finland’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday (Reuters report).
In an article by Tamara Belanovich, Novye Izvestia reports on the new Serbian Government and Serbia’s relations with the EU. Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the same issue in an article by Artyom Sanzhiyev.
In a special supplement ‘NG-Science’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Christian Feichtinger, the head of the ESA mission to Russia, which addresses cooperation between the European Space Agency and Russia.
Vremya novostei reports that Microsoft has asked the EU to annul a $1.35 billion fine imposed on Microsoft for violating antitrust rules (Lenta.ru report).
Kommersant and Vremya novostei report briefly on planned EU steps towards credit rating agencies.
 
8.07.08
Gazeta, RBK daily and The Moscow Times report on a press conference yesterday in Moscow by French Ambassador to Russia, Stanislas de Laboulaye, and the Head of the European Commission to Russia, Marc Franco, on the French EU Presidency’s priorities and the negotiating process on a new EU-Russia agreement.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, which comments on the work on a new EU-Russia agreement.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the recent EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk in an article by Olga Vlasova and Nikolai Silayev.
Gazeta publishes an article by Olga Pavlikova, which reports on statements by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, on the EU-Russia talks on a new agreement. Kosachyov also expressed hope that Russia and the European Union could abolish a visa regime in two or three years, adding that in order to achieve this, Russia should sign readmission agreements with third countries. Kosachyov’s visa suggestion is also mentioned by RBK daily.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Konstantin Simonov, which addresses the talks on the new EU-Russia agreement.
Expert publishes an article by Ivan Shemyakin, which addresses Poland’s banking sector and monetary policy in the context of the country’s EU membership.
In an article by Ilya Vukelich, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the formation of a new coalition Government in Serbia and the country’s EU aspirations. Vremya novostei reports on the same issue in an article, entitled “First the EU, then Russia”, by Pyotr Iskenderov.
 
7.07.08
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “No Deadline Will Be Set for EU-Russia Partnership Pact” (Reuters), which reports on the first round of EU-Russia talks on a new agreement on 4 July in Brussels.
Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies cite Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, who hailed the start of the talks.
In an article by Ilya Kononov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Iran’s response to the six powers’ new incentives handed over to Tehran by EU HR Javier Solana.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Russian Ambassador to Latvia, Alexander Veshnyakov, which addresses bilateral relations and some other issues, including the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

 

2.07.08
In an article by Andrey Zlobin, Smart Money weekly magazine addresses the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk and quotes EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, in which he pointed out that both Russia and the European Union share the view that the new EU-Russia deal should be a framework agreement.
In an article by Rustem Falyakhov and Viktor Yadukha, RBK daily reports on the appointment by President Medvedev of Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov as special representative in charge of interaction with the EU in the field of freedom, justice and security. The daily also reports on Anatoly Chubais’ possible role in developing the position of the business on the new EU-Russia agreement. Gazeta, Vedomosti and The Moscow Times report on Chubais’ expected involvement in preparing the new EU-Russia agreement.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by political scientist Sergey Karaganov, entitled “Between Venice and Nigeria. After Khanty-Mansiysk”, which comments on the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk and EU-Russia relations.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud and Vremya novostei report on Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s refusal to sign the Lisbon Treaty into law, the decision by German President Horst Koehler to put on hold the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, and Czech President Vaclav Klaus’ position on the Treaty.
In a front-page article by Andrey Terekhov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites France's Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet who said that Europe has “enemies in Washington” and did not rule out that American neo-conservatives played an important role in Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.
Vedomosti, in an article by Denis Zagainov, reports on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s criticism towards Trade Commissioner Mandelson and WTO chief Pascal Lamy for discussing a deal on EU agriculture under the WTO’s Doha round negotiations.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by analyst Vitaly Naumkin, which addresses the EU’s contacts with the authorities of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia province.
Novye Izvestia reports on the GUAM summit in Batumi in an article by Irina Baramidze. The author notes that one of the issues on the agenda was the Odessa-Brody-Gdansk-Plock pipeline to supply Caspian oil to the EU.
Gazeta, Izvestia and Trud report on new procedures of issuing British labour visas.
 
Press Announcement
Moscow, 1 July 2008
pRESENTATION OF THE FRENCH PRESIDENCY OF THE eUROPEAN uNION
7 July, 2008, 14h00, Interfax news agency
Address: 2, Pervaya Tverskaya-Yamskaya ulitsa
Stanislas de LABOULAYE, Ambassador of France to the Russian Federation; Ambassador Marc FRANCO, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the Russian Federation will give a press conference dedicated to the French Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2008.
The press conference will take place on the 7th of July at 14h00 at the Interfax news agency (2, Pervaya Tverskaya-Yamskaya ulitsa).
Language regime: English-Russian-French (with consecutive interpretation)
For accreditation, please contact Press-service of the French Embassy in Moscow,
Phone: 937 15 62 / 69, Fax: 937 15 65
e-mail : presse.moscou@diplomatie.gouv.fr
 
1.07.2008
Itogi weekly magazine reports on the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk and publishes an interview with the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco.
The Moscow Times comments on the EU-Russia summit in an article, entitled “Historic Start to a New EU-Russia Partnership”, by member of the Federation Council Vasily Likhachev.
Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on the beginning of the French Presidency of the EU. The Moscow Times reports on the French EU Presidency in an article, entitled “France Sits in Hot Seat As the New EU Leader” (Financial Times).
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Francis Delon, the Secretary-General of France’s National Defence, which addresses France’s military doctrine and security issues (including the missile defence issue).
In an article by Sergey Pankratov, Itogi reports on actions of protest in the EU against rising fuel prices. The author addresses a number of other issues, including EU-Russia energy relations, the European Commission’s ‘anti-Gazprom’ clause and diversification of energy supplies.
Gazeta, in an article by Kira Remneva, reports on the EU-Russia memorandum of understanding on pesticide maximum residue levels.
Electronic media (Ekho Moskvy, gzt.ru) report that Anatoly Chubais is expected to head a non-commercial partnership to be formed within the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) to develop the position of the business on a new EU-Russia partnership & cooperation agreement. An announcement in this regard was made by RSPP President Alexander Shokhin.
The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on Rosneft’s proposal to set up a joint oil venture with the EU, in which it would contribute production assets while EU companies could offer refining and marketing facilities.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the Russian-speaking population in Estonia in an article by Natalia Arkhangelskaya.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Mikhail Demurin, which addresses the state of Russian-Latvian relations and the upcoming discussion in the Duma of ratification of a bilateral agreement on the status of burial places.
Novye Izvestia carries an article by Malika Tursunkhodzhayeva, which reports on planned EU mobile fee cuts and the possible impact of the proposal on Russian consumers.
 
Konovalov appointed Russian EU envoy for liberties, security, justice
MOSCOW. July 1 (Interfax) - Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov has been appointed presidential special envoy to the European Union responsible for liberties, security and justice.
The appointment is documented in President Dmitry Medvedev's decree, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Russia asks Europe for legal help in Politkovskaya murder case – sources
MOSCOW. July 1 (Interfax) - Formal requests for legal assistance in journalist Anna Politkovskaya murder case have been sent to several Western European countries, including Belgium, sources in law enforcement agencies tell Interfax.
As part of the case investigation the Russian Prosecutor General's Office has sent formal requests for legal assistance, including in the questioning of suspects, to several Western European countries, including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and France, the source said.
The suspected killer is a Chechen native named Rustam Makhmudov, he said.
Russian official says Politkovskaya's killer hiding in Western Europe.
ST. PETERSBURG. July 1 (Interfax) - The man who gunned down renown reporter and human rights advocate Anna Politkovskaya is hiding in Western Europe, head of the Russian Prosecutor's Office's Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin said in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
According to our information, the killer is hiding in Western Europe, we even know the country where he is, Bastrykin told a Russian-German seminar on murder investigations.
Although the investigation is completed, the Investigative Committee had to launch separate legal proceedings against the person who is suspected of killing the journalist, he said.
Novaya gazeta newspaper reporter Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her apartment building on Lesnaya street in Moscow on October 7, 2006.
Shortly after, police arrested three suspects - Chechen natives Tamerlan and Ibragim Makhmudovs and Magomed Demelkhanov.
Former chief of Chechnya's Achkhoi-Martan district Shamil Burayev and a federal security officer, Col. Pavel Ryaguzov, were also arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder. The criminal charges against Buraev were latter dropped. Other suspects in the case, Demelkhanov and a man known as Dmitry Grachev, were also released from custody.
On June 18, 2008, the Russian Prosecutor's Office Investigative Committee (POIC) announced the completion of the inquiry into the Politkovskaya murder case. Murder charges were brought against three suspects, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, POIC spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax.
Yet another suspect – Pavel Ryaguzov – was charged with abuse of office and extortion of $10,000 (Articles 286 and 163 of the Russian Penal Code, respectively), crimes he committed earlier, together with Khadzhikurbanov, Markin said.
During the investigation, several other suspects in the Politkovskaya murder case were found innocent, and they were not prosecuted further.

 

Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media, 23-30 June 2008
 
EU-Russia summit shows renewed dynamism in bilateral relations
The main outcome of the EU-Russia summit on 26-27 June in Khanty-Mansiysk was the launch of talks on a new EU-Russia partnership and cooperation agreement after the 18-month delay. The first round of the talks starts on 4 July in Brussels. Vremya novostei (27/06) describes the very fact of the talks on the future agreement as “Russia’s step towards the EU” as any agreement with the EU would not be in Russia’s interests as its economic and political potential is on the rise – in accordance with “classical foreign policy canons, countries whose potential is on the rise are never interested in international agreements”.
Commenting on the current state of EU-Russia relations in an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, Vremya novostei (24/06) argues that internal developments in the EU after the 2004 enlargement and, in particular, after the French and Dutch ‘no’ to the European Constitution in 2005 “had an extremely negative impact on ties with Russia”. “The EU has demonstrated its incapability to agree a common approach towards most important issues related to cooperation with external partners. It fuelled Moscow’s traditional and quite natural desire to deal not with the entire European Union but with big countries on a bilateral basis. The latter, in turn, strained the atmosphere inside the Union”.
In the run-up to the summit, observers pointed to a dilemma over the future format of the new deal taking into account that the European Union stands for “a comprehensive agreement regulating all spheres of the relations, first of all energy”. In his interview with Reuters, President Dmitry Medvedev emphasized that Russia wants to negotiate a “serious pact” governing its relations with the EU but not one overburdened with detail. At a joint press conference after the summit last Friday, the Russian President said the new agreement would be a “rather short” framework agreement, followed by a number of “sector agreements”. In some observers’ view, Medvedev’s statement indicated that “the EU had agreed to concede”.
According to Kommersant (28/06), at the summit the EU and Russia reached agreement “to overcome the politicization in the EU of energy cooperation issues (including with Ukraine and Georgia)”. It was emphasized that Russia would remain the main supplier of energy products to Europe, and the EU pointed out that the Nord Stream gas pipeline should be completed. It should be mentioned that observers (RBK daily, 26/06) anticipated that “the EU would most likely try to press Moscow and gain access for EU companies to the strategically important sectors of the Russian economy”, and recalled Brussels’ efforts to convince Russia to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty. Addressing Brussels’ negotiating position in his article in Vedomosti (26/06), political expert Timofei Bordachyov argues that “the European Union outlines quite simple and clear goals of cooperation. Russia should join trade and economic regimes, being set up by the EU, and converge its legislation and technical standards with the European”, while EU intentions in the energy field are well-defined: Russia is invited to open this sector of its economy for the business from EU Member States”.
Addressing the issue of how long it would take to conclude the new deal, some commentators express optimism that the agreement could be signed within a year or two at best (Kommersant, 26/06). Representatives of France, another ‘special’ partner of Moscow (Vremya novostei, 24/06), expressed intention to complete the talks during the French Presidency. French Ambassador to Russia, Stanislas de Laboulaye, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’, 30/06) that during its Presidency of the EU, “primarily at the next EU-Russia summit due in Nice in November 2008, France would like to underline the link that should exist between Russia and the European Union. We hope to sign a political document in order to avoid a trap of endless technical negotiations that may create an unfavourable climate”.
“However, with a new crisis in place in the EU [following Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty], France’s President and Foreign Minister will have to concentrate a bulk of their efforts on overcoming another deadlock”, Vremya novostei notes in the above mentioned article by Lukyanov and expects “long and difficult negotiations” ahead. Meanwhile, some other commentators (Dmitry Danilov of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences) mention the process of Russia’s WTO accession among the circumstances, which would influence the talks on the new agreement: Russia’s WTO membership for both partners could become a common legislative ground, and the talks on the new accord could be conducted on the basis of the ‘WTO+’ formula.
 
Russia, EU agree to stick to existing formats of resolving frozen conflicts – Lavrov
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow does not object to the European Union playing a more active role in resolving frozen conflicts in the former Soviet republics.
We [Russia and the EU] have solidified our common understanding of the inexpediency of breaking the well-entrenched formats of resolving these conflicts, he told journalists in Khanty-Mansiisk on Friday.
This would be inexpedient because attempts to change the format will only lead to either party being tempted to exploit contradictions, the minister said.
Moscow uneasy about European solidarity becoming tool to solve problems of some EU members (Part 2)
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Moscow is concerned over attempts of a number of EU member states to use the principle of European solidarity to solve their bilateral problems.
From our point of view, the development of the so-called European solidarity into an tool of resolving bilateral problems of certain EU member states is a rather worrying tendency, Medvedev told a news conference in the wake of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk on Friday.
There are other sharp corners in our relations, Medvedev said. Moscow is in particular concerned about the situation with the rights of compatriots in Latvia and Estonia, the unacceptably mild attitude to attempts to glorify Nazi accomplices, and the aspiration to rewrite certain pages of the European history in the 20th century, the president said.
In general the trend of selective and politicized approaches to our common history is worrying, he said.
The welfare, and sometimes the very existence, of many states became possible only thanks to the vast number of victims among peoples of the Soviet Union and other European countries, he said.
In this sense, the defeat of fascism was our common moral and spiritual property. Attempts to desecrate the memory of it and the good name of soldiers-liberators are absolutely unacceptable, Medvedev said.
Medvedev slams U.S. plans to deploy missile defense sites in Eastern Europe (Part 2)
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has described the U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Eastern Europe as a bad idea, which cannot promote security in the European region.
We take an extremely skeptical attitude toward the idea to deploy the third phase [of the U.S. National Missile Defense]. We deem this idea to be harmful and not consistent with the goal of maintaining either security on the European continent or global security, Medvedev told journalists following a Russia-EU summit on Friday.
This is our common issue, and we have repeatedly voiced our desire to deal with it together. The doors are open, the negotiations are continuing, but we need to be holding them with our concerns in mind, he said.
It is an obvious and banal thing to say that Europe is our common home, and we are the states that own this common home. As the states living in this home, we need to remember about our commitments regarding the maintenance of our common home, he said.
It is wrong to impose these obligations on one's neighbors. This is our common cause. It is just as wrong as reassign the maintenance of the home to a single owner, however affluent it might be, he said.
All issues related to European security, be it missile defense or the CFE [the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe], need to be dealt with collectively. But if they are dealt with on a quasi-bilateral basis, this harms the interests of other countries, Medvedev said.
Russia's idea of European security treaty does not imply ignoring NATO – Lavrov
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russia's initiative on holding a common European summit and signing a European security treaty is not aimed at substituting for NATO, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
We are not going to ignore NATO. This is a very important organization in the Euro-Atlantic region, and this would be absolutely unproductive, Lavrov told journalists on Friday.
Russia, EU should determine when they can switch to visa-free travel - Medvedev
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russia and the European Union should determine the possible date when an agreement on visa free travel could be signed and measures for attaining this goal, said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
New prospects for easing the visa regulations are provided by the road map on internal security. I believe what we need to do first of all is outline the possible dates and specific steps that would advance us to the ultimate goal, which is visa-free travel of Russian and EU citizens, Medvedev said at a press conference upon the conclusion of a Russia-EU summit.
The road maps [approved in 2005] remain important documents to us in the midterm as well, he said.
Relations between Russia and the European Union will be built on their basis, and the positive experience gained this way should be taken into account in developing a new fundamental agreement, he said.
Moscow takes a basically positive view on the implementation of the road map dealing with the common economic space, he said.
Medvedev slams U.S. plans to deploy missile defense sites in Eastern Europe
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has described the U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Eastern Europe as a bad idea, which cannot promote security in the European region.
We take an extremely skeptical attitude toward the idea to deploy the third phase [of the U.S. National Missile Defense]. We deem this idea to be harmful and not consistent with the goal of maintaining either security on the European continent or global security, Medvedev told journalists following a Russia-EU summit on Friday.
First round of Russian-EU talks on new basic accord slated for July 4 in Brussels (Part 2)
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - The first round of Russian-EU talks on a new basic agreement will take place in Brussels on July 4, 2008, a joint statement of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk says.
We agreed that the goal of the work will be the signing of a strategic agreement which would form a comprehensive base for Russian-EU relations in the foreseeable future and will help develop the potential of our partnership, the statement says.
The new agreement will be based on international obligations binding for Russia and the EU and will have relevant institutional provisions to secure the efficiency of Russian-EU cooperation, it says.
The new basic document should ensure the strengthening of the legal base and legal obligations in main spheres of interactions provided in 'road maps' on four common Russian-EU spaces endorsed at the Russia-EU summit in May 2005, the statement says.
The current agreement will remain in force until the new one is adopted, it says.
President Medvedev announces official beginning of Russian-EU talks on new basic accord (Part 2)
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has officially announced the start of full-scale talks on a new Russian-EU partnership and cooperation agreement.
Today, we officially announce the start of the full-scale talks on a new agreement, Medvedev told a news conference in the wake of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk on Friday.
The work on the document will begin as soon as the European Commission completes a number of internal procedures, the president said.
The future agreement is an instrument of real Russia-EU rapprochement based on the principles of equality, pragmatism, respect to the parties' interests, and common approaches to key security problems, Medvedev said.
The new agreement will be rather brief. This will be a framework agreement without excessive details, which will center on the strategic nature of Russian-EU relations, Medvedev said.
The first round of talks is slated for July 4 in Brussels, he said.
EU condemns Soviet totalitarianism, not Russia – Barroso
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - The European Union discussion of the Soviet totalitarianism is not anti-Russian, said President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.
The EU is against any form of totalitarianism, he told a press conference following a meeting on the sidelines of the Russia-EU summit.
And when the EU rejects totalitarianism, including the Soviet one, this does not mean that it is against Russia, he said.
The head of the European Commission also spoke of the prospects for the future basic agreement between Russia and the EU.
The EU makes every effort to sign the document, which will shape the future and cover the entire spectrum of the relations between Russia and the EU, he said.
EU to support Nord Stream if it complies with European environmental requirements – Barroso
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - The European Union will support the Nord Stream gas pipeline project if it complies with EU environmental requirements, European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso said on Friday at a press conference following a Russia-EU summit in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiisk.
Barroso said the Nord Stream project meets European needs and is one of several possible new ways of communicating with Russia, although it is not the only option. He said any initiatives aimed at raising the throughput capacity of pipelines between Russia and Europe are deserving of the EU's attention.
The EU is currently studying appraisals of the impact the new pipeline will have on the environment, he said.
The pipeline can only be built after permission is received from the countries through which it will run, Barroso said. One of the EU's main goals is that the entire European community be satisfied with this project, he said.
The 1,200-km Nord Stream gas pipeline will link Russia's Baltic coast near Vyborg with Germany's Baltic coast near Greifswald. In the initial phase, Russia should supply 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas to Germany via the pipeline per year. Capacity is to be increased to 55 billion cubic meters per year after a second strand of the pipeline has been built.
Gazprom (RTS: GAZP) owns 51% in the project, Germany's E.ON and BASF have 20% each and the Dutch Gasunie owns 9%.
Medvedev sees progress in debates on European security summit
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedevhas said that he is now much more optimistic about his idea of holding a common European summit for preparing a European security agreement than on the day he voiced this idea.
After today's conversation on this issue I feel more optimism than before, Medvedev told a press conference at the EU-Russia summit on Friday.
Medvedev suggested holding a European summit for discussing a European security agreement in Berlin on June 5.
The idea of calling a summit requires serious preparation, he said. It will be a high-level meeting, which could be attended by all European nations, the United States, Canada, and those European organizations which already deal with these issues [European security], based on their own ideas about European security that are not related with any bloc, and based on the principles which bring us together, the Russian president said.
Moscow uneasy about European solidarity becoming tool to solve problems of some EU members
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Moscow is concerned over attempts of a number of EU member states to use the principle of European solidarity to solve their bilateral problems.
From our point of view, the development of the so-called European solidarity into a tool of resolving bilateral problems of certain EU member states is a rather worrying tendency, Medvedev told a news conference in the wake of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk on Friday.
President Medvedev announces official beginning of Russian-EU talks on new basic accord
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has officially announced the start of full-scale talks on a new Russian-EU partnership and cooperation agreement.
Today, we officially announce the start of the full-scale talks on a new agreement, Medvedev told a news conference in the wake of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk on Friday.
The work on the document will begin as soon as the European Commission completes a number of internal procedures, the president said.
First round of Russian-EU talks on new basic accord slated for July 4 in Brussels
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - The first round of Russian-EU talks on a new basic agreement will take place in Brussels on July 4, 2008, a joint statement of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk says.
We agreed that the goal of the work will be the signing of a strategic agreement which would form a comprehensive base for Russian-EU relations in the foreseeable future and will help develop the potential of our partnership, the statement says.
The current agreement will remain in force until the new one is adopted, it says.
Russia, EU agree to stick to existing formats of resolving frozen conflicts – Lavrov (Part 2)
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow does not object to the European Union playing a more active role in resolving frozen conflicts in the former Soviet republics.
We [Russia and the EU] have solidified our common understanding of the inexpediency of breaking the well-entrenched formats of resolving these conflicts, he told journalists in Khanty-Mansiisk on Friday.
This would be inexpedient, because attempts to change the format will only lead to either party being tempted to exploit contradictions, the minister said.
Currently, there is every opportunity for Russia and the EU to cooperate in resolving frozen conflicts, Lavrov said.
But the main thing here is for the conflicting parties to hold a direct dialogue with each other, he said.
Any attempt to change this and to entrust the key role to outside players, be it Russia, the EU or other factors, could lead to the key players trying to break their commitments and to outwit their partner, the minister said.
Russia’s idea of European security treaty does not imply ignoring NATO – Lavrov (Part 2)
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - Russia's initiative on holding a common European summit and signing a European security treaty is not aimed at substituting for NATO, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
We are not going to ignore NATO. This is a very important organization in the Euro-Atlantic region, and this would be absolutely unproductive, Lavrov told journalists on Friday.
Moscow is cooperating with NATO on a number of issues, particularly on maintaining stability and security in Afghanistan, he said.
We are not going to ignore NATO. We only want the principles on which we are cooperating to remain in force and be respected, Lavrov said.
EU interested in new European security agreement – Lavrov
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 27 (Interfax) - European Union officials have shown interest in Russia's idea to work on a new European security agreement and call a summit to that effect, with the participation of European nations, the United States and Canada, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
This issue was discussed between Russian and EU leaders in Khanty-Mansiisk, he said.
Our partners were inspired by Russia's view on European and Euro-Atlantic development. They showed genuine interest in working on a European security agreement and holding a summit to discuss such an agreement with the participation of European, the U.S. and Canadian leaders and international organizations, Lavrov said.
EU leaders show interest in Medvedev's initiative spelled out in Berlin
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 26 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and EU leaders are discussing European and global processes, as well as key international issues at their informal meeting in Khanty-Mansiisk, a spokesman for the Russian delegation has told Interfax.
The EU officials have shown much interest in the [Russian] president's initiative to work out a new treaty on European security, which he spelled out in Berlin, the spokesman said.
They asked Dmitry Medvedev about his vision of this document and his assessment of the general situation in this sphere, he said.
Medvedev, Prime Minister Janez Jansa of Slovenia, which is currently holding the EU presidency, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Higher Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Javier Solana briefly touched on problems concerning European integration first and then proceeded to burning international issues, world economic processes, the international financial system and food problems, the spokesman said.
The restaurant's folk-style interior contributed to the atmosphere of well-wishing and mutual understanding. The guests were served tea prepared in an authentic charcoal-burning Russian samovar.
Medvedev meets with EU leadership over dinner in Khanty-Mansiisk
KHANTY-MANSIISK. June 26 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with European Union leaders - Prime Minister Janez Jansa of Slovenia, the country currently holding the rotating EU chairmanship; President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso; and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign Policy and Security Policy Javier Solana - on Thursday evening ahead of the official Russia-EU summit scheduled to begin on Friday.
The football theme will likely prevail during Thursday's informal meeting at a Khanty-Mansiisk restaurant.
The restaurant is located in the Piramida (Pyramid) building on a hill offering a panoramic view of the city.
The building resembles a chum, a traditional cone-shaped dwelling of the Khanty-Mansi tribe.
Medvedev arrived first and went out to the observation platform. After some time, he went downstairs to welcome his guests.
Solana was the first to arrive. Medvedev greeted him and almost immediately moved to discuss the main theme, asking him a question about football in view of the upcoming semi-final match between Russia and Spain.
Solana, a Spaniard, answered diplomatically that he certainly knew about the match and asked Medvedev whether he would watch it, to which the Russian president replied that although the match will begin late at night, he would watch it by all means. Solana acknowledged that he was hoping to watch it as well.
In the meantime, Barroso drove in. He greeted Medvedev and Solana and asked whether they were discussing the upcoming football match.
He said he would try to watch, even though his country, Portugal, had already left the competition.
Jansa was the last to arrive.
Before inviting his guests to dinner, Medvedev showed them up to the observation platform to enjoy the eye-feasting view of the city.
EU limits Russia's participation in Europe’s military architecture – State Duma committee chairman
MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) - Chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee Viktor Zavarzin said he believed most EU countries are wary of cooperation with Russia in military and political matters.
As a rule, the initiatives put forward by the EU contain a number of conditions and restrictions with respect to Russia, which excludes the possibility of Russia playing an equal part in the European military architecture, Zavarzin told Interfax on Thursday ahead of the Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansiisk.
The EU dismisses the possibility of cooperation with Russia developing at a faster pace than its relations with NATO or countries invited to join the EU, Zavarzin said.
At the same time, he said he believed the EU leadership was keen to develop interaction with Russia in external policy and defense.
This idea is spelled out in the EU strategic security concept approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2003, Zavarzin said.
Zavarzin added that he believed the current constraints and differences between Russia and some EU member-states were temporary.
EU expects tough energy negotiations with Moscow
MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) - Energy will be a tough item of EU-Russia negotiations on a new fundamental treaty, Member of the European Commission in charge of External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in an interview with Interfax prior to the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiisk.
It is perhaps because our energy partnership is so crucial to both our economies that we can look forward to some tough talking on this issue, she said. I am confident, however, that we will be able to find solutions that are acceptable to both sides in this field and all the others.
In her opinion, energy should be an inseparable part of the prospective agreement.
Given the important place that energy plays in our economic relations, it would be a strange agreement that did not include questions of energy! Ferrero-Waldner said.
She highlighted certain problems in the energy sphere.
Electricity has been liberalized recently, and we are seeing more foreign investment going into this sector. On the other hand, investors from the EU have encountered difficulties in the oil and gas sectors, she said. Just as EU companies are keen to bring their know-how and their investments to Russia, Russia is keen to expand its investments in the EU, and the combination of these complementary goals should make it possible to reach a negotiated solution.
We believe that this solution should be based on the principles of the Energy Charter Treaty, and those we already agreed upon together during Russia's chairmanship of the G8, Ferrero-Waldner said.
Energy cooperation should be reflected in new EU-Russia agreement – Solana
MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) - The European Union says a new EU-Russia agreement should regulate, among other things, its energy cooperation with Russia, said EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.
Regarding energy, this is obviously one of the most important elements of our relations with Russia. It is an area where our interdependence is very strong, and it is of course only natural that this should be reflected in the new agreement, Solana said in an interview with Interfax in the run-up to an EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiisk, which is to open on Thursday.
The aim of the EU is to build a true energy partnership with Russia, based on the principles of transparency, fair competition, reciprocity and non-discrimination. As we see it, this partnership should offer security and stability for both sides. It should also pave the way for the necessary long-term investments in new and existing capacity, and promote greater attention to energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energy, Solana said.
A new EU-Russia agreement should provide a comprehensive framework for our relations for the foreseeable future and help develop the potential of our relationship, he said.
The aim is to have a good agreement, which will put our relations on a new strategic footing. These are our goals, and I know that we share them with our Russian partners. I think that it is important that the negotiations are allowed to take the time necessary to achieve these goals, he said.
Asked whether the European Union intends to maintain dialogue with Russia to address Lithuanian demands, in particular those relating to the resumption of oil supplies to Lithuania through the Druzhba oil pipeline and some others, Solana said, Although such problems are of course best solved directly between Russia and the member-states concerned, I expect that this issue will come up.
 
26.06.08
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Khanty-Mansiysk: a new stage?”, by political scientist Sergey Karaganov, which addresses the EU-Russia summit and most topical issues on the agenda of EU-Russia relations.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Vitaly Dymarsky, which comments on EU-Russia relations.
Vedomosti carries an article by political analyst Timofei Bordachyov, which also addresses the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk.
In an article by Oleg Cherkovets, Parlamentskaya Gazeta addresses the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty at the 12 June referendum in Ireland and internal developments in the EU.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Wingas Chairman, Rainer Seele, in which he criticised the European Commission’s third energy package as non-liberal and leading to “the expropriation of property”.
Commenting on new EU sanctions against Iran in an article by Sergey Lavinov, Novye Izvestia does not exclude that the sanctions could damage cooperation between the EU and Iran in the fight against drug trafficking from Afghanistan.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Viktor Shankov, reports on Poland’s proposals on EU-Belarus relations and cites in this regard Polish Deputy Interior Minister Piotr Stachanczyk as saying that the imposition of sanctions on Belarus brought no results.
Vedomosti publishes an article, entitled “Freedom from the dollar”, by Financial Times observer Wolfgang Munchau, which addresses European Central Bank policies.
EU links new treaty with Russia to Russian entry into WTO
MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) - Success of negotiations on a new fundamental treaty between Russia and the European Union depends on the Russian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner told Interfax.
It is always difficult to guess how long negotiations will take. It will depend on Russia's WTO accession process, the progress the negotiators make, and then, of course, there will be the process of ratification, she said.
The European Commission is aiming for an ambitious comprehensive and legally binding agreement, which will cover all the main areas of our cooperation, Ferrero-Waldner said.
I am sure that both sides will be trying to get the best possible deal, but let's not forget that in many areas our interests actually coincide, she said.
Yukos’s “victims” appeal to EU to consider Yukos case objectively
NEFTEYUGANSK. June 26 (Interfax) - The public movement in commemoration of former Nefteyugansk Mayor Vladimir Petukhov, who demanded that Yukospay taxes and who was killed ten years ago, has appealed to the EU to listen to the Yukos company's victims and respect their rights.
It is difficult to find a PACE member or a prominent representative of another authoritative European organization who has never spoken on the so-called Yukos case, says a statement members of the movement circulated in Nefteyugansk in the run-up to a Russia-EU summit.
We are urging you to be consistent. If you assess the Yukos case from the moral point of view, listen to the victims' position as well. Without this, no judgment will be objective. After all, the former managers of the Yukos company can be morally assessed only taking into account everything they have done, the statement says.
A mourning rally in Petukhov's commemoration took place in Nefteyugansk on Thursday. A memorial plaque was unveiled on the house where Petukhov used to live.
Energy cooperation should be reflected in new EU-Russia agreement – Solana
MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) - The European Union says a new EU-Russia agreement should regulate, among other things, its energy cooperation with Russia, said EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.
Regarding energy, this is obviously one of the most important elements of our relations with Russia. It is an area where our interdependence is very strong, and it is of course only natural that this should be reflected in the new agreement, Solana said in an interview with Interfax in the run-up to an EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiisk, which is to open on Thursday.
The aim of the EU is to build a true energy partnership with Russia, based on the principles of transparency, fair competition, reciprocity and non-discrimination. As we see it, this partnership should offer security and stability for both sides. It should also pave the way for the necessary long-term investments in new and existing capacity, and promote greater attention to energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energy, Solana said.
A new EU-Russia agreement should provide a comprehensive framework for our relations for the foreseeable future and help develop the potential of our relationship, he said.
The aim is to have a good agreement, which will put our relations on a new strategic footing. These are our goals, and I know that we share them with our Russian partners. I think that it is important that the negotiations are allowed to take the time necessary to achieve these goals, he said.
Asked whether the European Union intends to maintain dialogue with Russia to address Lithuanian demands, in particular those relating to the resumption of oil supplies to Lithuania through the Druzhba oil pipeline and some others, Solana said, Although such problems are of course best solved directly between Russia and the member-states concerned, I expect that this issue will come up.
Саммит ЕС-Россия 26-27 июня в Ханты-Мансийске положит начало переговорам по новому рамочному соглашению
Встреча на высшем уровне ЕС-Россия, которая состоится 26-27 июня в Ханты-Мансийске, станет первым саммитом с участием Президента Дмитрия Медведева. Одним из основных моментов этого саммита станет официальное начало переговоров по новому соглашению между ЕС и Россией. Это новое соглашение представляет возможность обновить юридическую базу отношений между ЕС и Россией, отразив значительные изменения, которые и Россия, и ЕС претерпели с момента заключения первого Соглашения о партнёрстве и сотрудничестве в начале 1990-х годов. Будучи влиятельным игроком на мировой арене, Россия является крайне важным партнёром для ЕС в работе над глобальными проблемами, и поэтому такие темы, как продовольственная и энергетическая безопасность, изменение климата, а также развитие мировой экономики будут стоять на повестке дня саммита. На встрече также будут обсуждаться вопросы внешней политики, касающиеся Ближнего Востока, Афганистана, Ирана, Украины, Грузии и общего соседства. Со стороны Европейской Комиссии в саммите примут участие Председатель Европейской Комиссии Жозе Мануэл Баррозу, а также Члены Европейской Комиссии Бенита Ферреро-Вальднер, отвечающая за внешние связи и европейскую политику соседства, и Питер Мэнделсон, курирующий вопросы торговли.
В преддверии саммита Председатель Европейской Комиссии Жозе Мануэл Баррозу сказал: «Я с оптимизмом ожидаю начала саммита с участием Президента Дмитрия Медведева, так как он состоится в момент, который является решающим как для России, так и для ЕС. Наши экономики всё больше зависят друг от друга. Переговоры по новому Соглашению представляют хорошую возможность для развития потенциала нашего стратегического партнёрства».
Член Европейской Комиссии, отвечающая за внешние связи и европейскую политику соседства, Бенита Ферреро-Вальднер, отметила: «Эта встреча на высшем уровне ЕС-Россия создаст основу для конструктивных отношений с новым российским руководством, отстаивая наши ценности и содействуя развитию областей нашего взаимного интереса. Я с оптимизмом ожидаю начала работы по переговорам о новом соглашении, которые помогут нам полностью реализовать потенциал наших отношений. На саммите у нас также есть возможность обсудить с Россией необходимость неконфронтационных решений замороженных конфликтов на пространстве нашего общего соседства».
На саммите начнутся переговоры по новому Соглашению между ЕС и Россией, мандат на проведение которых был одобрен Советом министров ЕС 26 мая 2008 года. Новое Соглашение будет нацелено на результат и охватывать такие вопросы, как политическое сотрудничество, перспективу глубокой экономической интеграции, создание однородной конкурентной среды в энергетических отношениях на принципах Энергетической Хартии, более тесные отношения в сфере свободы, безопасности и правосудия, а также взаимное открытие образовательной и научной систем. Новое Соглашение будет базироваться на существующих четырёх общих пространствах: Общем экономическом пространстве, Общем пространстве свободы, безопасности и правосудия; Общем пространстве внешней безопасности и Общем пространстве исследований и образования.
На саммите будут также рассматриваться вопросы, вызывающие обеспокоенность на глобальном уровне, такие как стабильность финансовых рынков, усиливающаяся роль государственных инвестиционных фондов, изменение климата и глобальное потепление, энергетическая безопасность и текущий продовольственный кризис. Саммит предоставит ЕС и России возможность сравнить свои оценки и подходы к развитию событий в этих областях, а также расссмотреть, где обе стороны могут работать более тесно по данным вопросам.
EU-Russia Summit on 26-27 June in Khanty-Mansiysk to launch negotiations of the new framework agreement
This year’s EU-Russia Summit, the first with President Dmitri Medvedev, will take place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia, on 26 and 27 June. One of the centrepieces of this Summit will be the official launch of negotiations on the new agreement with Russia. This new agreement presents an opportunity to update the legal framework underpinning the EU-Russia relationship, to reflect the substantial changes that both Russia and the EU have undergone since concluding the first Partnership Cooperation Agreement in the early 1990s. As an important global player, Russia is a vital partner for the EU in addressing global challenges and therefore topics such as Food Security, Energy Security, Climate Change, as well as the development of the world economy, are high on the agenda. Foreign policy issues will also be discussed during the Summit, such as the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine, Georgia and the Common neighbourhood. Participants from the side of the Commission will be the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and Commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner (External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy) and Peter Mandelson (Trade).
Prior to the Summit, President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, said: “I look forward to this Summit with President Medvedev, as it comes at a crucial moment for both Russia and the EU. Our economies are increasingly interdependent. The negotiation of a New Agreement provides a good opportunity to develop the potential of our strategic partnership.”
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner added: “This Summit with Russia will lay the foundations for a constructive relationship with the new administration, defending our values and promoting our growing mutual interests. I look forward to starting work on negotiations for the new agreement, which will help us unlock the full potential of our relationship. The Summit is also an opportunity to discuss with Russia the need for non-confrontational solutions to the frozen conflicts in our common neighbourhood.”
The Summit will see the launch of negotiations for the new EU-Russia Agreement for which the mandate was adopted by the EU Council of Ministers on 26 May 2008. The new Agreement will cover results-orientated political co-operation, the perspective of deep economic integration, a level playing field for energy relations based on the principles of the Energy Charter, closer relations in the field freedom, security and justice, and a mutual opening of the educational and scientific systems. The new agreement will build upon the current four Common Spaces, which are: Common Economic Space; Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice; Common Space of External Security and the Common Space of Research and Education.
 The Summit will also look at issues of global concern, such as the stability of financial markets, the rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds, climate change and global warming, energy security and the current food crisis. This will be an opportunity for the EU and Russia to compare assessments of and approaches to these developments, as well as to see what scope there might be to work together more closely.
 
25.06.08
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Euro-egoism”, by member of the Federation Council Vasily Likhachyov, which addresses the upcoming EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Gazeta reports on the EU-Russia summit in an article by Ivan Sotnikov.
The Moscow Times reports on the EU-Russia summit in a front-page article, entitled “Siberian Summit Looks for New Start”, by Anna Smolchenko and Miriam Elder.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Frazer Cameron, director of the EU-Russia Centre (Brussels) and an article by Russian expert Dmitry Danilov, which comment on EU-Russia relations in the light of the Khanty-Mansiysk summit.
In an article by Marina Perevozkina, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that the summit will address, among other issues, the frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space.
In a special supplement ‘Oil & gas’, Kommersant publishes a number of articles which address inter alia EU-Russia energy cooperation.
Novye Izvestia, in a front-page article by Roman Dobrokhotov, reports on the EU-OPEC energy dialogue and the economic situation in the EU.
Vedomosti, in an article by Vasily Kashin and Marina Zateichuk, quotes EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs as commenting on rising oil prices.
The Moscow Times reports on an energy conference yesterday in Moscow in an article by Anatoly Medetsky. The daily cites statements by Christian Cleutinx, director of the European Commission’s department for energy and transport, on Russian gas supplies to the EU, the South Stream project and other issues.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Alexei Grivach, reports on cooperation between Gazprom and E.ON and mentions the European Commission’s approach towards vertically integrated energy companies.
Kommersant reports on Gazprom-E.ON cooperation in an article by Natalia Grib; Vedomosti – in an article by Yelena Mazneva and Irina Reznik.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes several articles dedicated to Russian-German economic cooperation, including the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on developments around Nord Stream (RIA-Novostei report).
Vremya novostei publishes an article, by Viktor Volodin, on the EU’s decision to lift sanctions on Cuba. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner is quoted as saying that the European Union wants “to promote change in Cuba after Raul Castro took over as the head of government from his brother Fidel”.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by US political scientist Nikolai Zlobin, which addresses global international relations, including in the Russia-US-EU triangle.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Fydor Lukyanov, which reports on approval by the EU of new sanctions against Iran, including freezing assets of the country’s biggest bank, Bank Melli.
In an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, Vremya novostei reports on an agreement reached in principle between the Socialist Party of Serbia and President Boris Tadic’s pro-European coalition on forming a new Government. Serbia’s EU aspirations and the issue of Kosovo are also addressed.
The Moscow Times reports briefly that the EU on Tuesday hailed the agreement between Serbia’s Socialist and Democratic Parties as a real chance to establish a pro-European Government in Serbia (Reuters report).
Novye Izvestia cites Eurostat data on the economic situation in EU Member States in an article by Nikolai Dzhis-Voinarovsky.
In an article by Daria Buravchikova, Argumenty i Fakty mentions Russian restrictions on imports of meat from a number of EU Member States and Lithuanian cheese.
 
24.06.08
Interfax news agency cites Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, as pointing to issues on the agenda of the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk such as visa regulations, Kosovo and frozen conflicts in the Soviet space.
'Germany Contact', an edition on Russian-German trade and economic ties, publishes an article by the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Marc Franco, which addresses the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk and EU-Russia talks on new agreement.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the postponement by the EU leaders of any decision on the Lisbon Treaty until autumn following Ireland's rejection of the Treaty at the 12 June referendum.
In an article by Alexander Koksharov and Sergey Sumlenny, Expert comments on the Lisbon Treaty and European integration.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta comments on developments in the EU in an article by Leonid Radzikhovsky.
Vremya novostei (in an insert 'Energy of Europe') publishes an article, by Fyodor Lukyanov, on developments in the EU and EU-Russia relations.
Vremya novostei ('Energy of Europe') publishes an article, entitled Achievements and failures of an 'energy superpower', by Alexei Grivach and Andrey Denisov, which addresses Russia's energy policy and energy relations with the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Matthias Warnig, the managing director of Nord Stream AG, which addresses developments around the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and mentions the EU's position on the project.
In a special insert 'Energy of Europe', Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Chairman of the Board of Management of E.ON Ruhrgas, Bernhard Reutersberg, on EU-Russian energy cooperation.
Gazeta, in an article by Alexander Trempel, reports on the South Stream gas pipeline project which is expected to pump around 30 billion cubic meters of gas to southern Europe annually. Vremya novostei reports briefly on South Stream (RIA-Novosti report).
Vremya novostei (Reuters) reports briefly that EU Member States have approve new sanctions on Iran over Tehran's refusal to suspend its controversial nuclear programme. The new sanctions envisage an assets freeze of Iran's largest bank, Bank Melli.
Expert publishes an article, entitled Everything is under control, by Sergey Sumlenny, which reports on European Commission accusations against Germany's E.ON and France's Gaz de France over alleged rigging of gas markets.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Jacques Sapir, Professor at EHESS, which reports on the economic situation in the US and some EU Member States.
In an article by Viktor Shankov, Novye Izvestia reports on a strike of truckers in Poland.
Expert reports on the approval by the European Commission of Volkswagen's plan to buy Sweden's Scania.
 
Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media, 17-23 June 2008
EU leaders postpone decision on Lisbon Treaty until autumn
Media report on a failure by the EU leaders at their summit on 19-20 June in Brussels to resolve a crisis in the EU after Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty at the 12 June referendum. The EU leaders delayed until autumn any decision on how to rescue the Treaty. Observers point to a split among EU Member States on the issue: “while France and Germany want Ireland to hold a second referendum, the Czech Republic may not ratify the Lisbon Treaty” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 23/06). Earlier, analyst from the London-based Centre for European Reform, Hugo Brady, spoke of “a conflict inside the EU between the Franco-German coalition and periphery comprising small countries in Eastern and Western Europe” (RBK daily, 19/06). These small countries fear to lose their current influence on EU decisions, the analyst said and noted that “fortunately, Euro-sceptics in the EU are mot united, while the Franco-German coalition has been existing de facto for a long time”. “European two-speed integration is already in place”, Brady said and called not to exaggerate the importance of the Irish referendum: Ireland will definitely join the process after the EU takes into account some of Dublin’s demands. Commenting on the outcome of the Irish referendum in the context of the EU-Russian relationship, Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, dismissed assertions that Russia could benefit from a failure of further EU integration (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 19/06), saying that “the EU’s united concept of security and foreign policy is in Russia’s interests”, he said.
UN SC remains split on Kosovo
Press highlights a split between the UN Security Council permanent members at a UN Security Council on 20 June to discuss a report by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on transferring to the EU a significant part of the functions of the UNMIK: while the US spoke in favour of reducing the UN’s role in Kosovo, Russia insisted that the format of international presence in Kosovo could be changed only with Belgrade’s consent. As Kommersant writes (23/06), Belgrade and Pristina view the issue of who will have more power in Kosovo – the EU or the UN - as “one of the indicators to what extent the province is independent from the Serbian authorities”. Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, criticised EU envoy to Kosovo, Peter Feith, over his statement that “he, Feith, would be the principle international envoy to Kosovo”, and reiterated that any transfer of powers and property from the UNMIK to the EULEX is “unacceptable”. Russian diplomats have repeatedly said that Russia is not against an EU mission replacing the UN force in Kosovo, but emphasized that the EU mission should be approved by a UN Security Council resolution and Belgrade.
Mandelson says EU cannot accept an increase in Russia’s export duties for wood
Commenting on EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson’s visit to Moscow and his speech at an international conference on 19 June, the media focus on Mandelson’s statements on the prospects for Russia’s accession to the WTO, including his suggestion that Russia might become a WTO member by November 2009. He also said that the EU and Russia have reconciled practically all their mutual disagreements at the ongoing negotiations on Russia’s accession to the WTO, except one – an increase in Russia’s export duties on unprocessed wood. Mandelson repeated that the EU cannot accept these measures as they pose a threat to European industry. At the same time, he expressed the view that a compromise on the issue would be finally found, and that Russia would complete its WTO accession talks by the end of the year. (Vedomosti, 20/06).
On 17 June, Nezavisimaya Gazeta published Mandelson’s article, entitled “America needs globalisation, globalisation needs America”, on global economic challenges and the issue of protectionism for the future US President.
Kovacs: traffic congestion is a negative side of growing trade between EU & Russia
In his interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta (18/06), EU Taxation and Customs Union Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs described as “a negative side” of growing trade between the EU and Russia traffic congestion at crossing points, in particular at the Russian border with Finland, Latvia and Estonia. He noted that measures aimed at reducing traffic congestion is “just one of the elements of EU-Russia cross-border cooperation”, adding that the European Commission has also put forward initiatives on cross-border cooperation with participation of Russia.
Sarkozy changes France’s military doctrine
Observers comment on France’s military plan unveiled by President Nicolas Sarkozy with the aim to renew France’s relations with NATO and to enhance military cooperation within the EU. A Russian expert told Vremya novostei that the announcement of France’s return to NATO’s military structures could be “Sarkozy’s Trojan horse, through which the French President is trying to encourage the process of building up military forces of the united Europe”.
The following dailies published articles on the issue (18 June): Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei.
Lavrov hopes new deal will enhance cooperation with EU
MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he was content with the European Union agreeing to begin talks with Russia for preparing a new partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA).
We are glad that the EU has agreed to start negotiations on the PCA with Russia, the minister said at the conference, Russia in the 21st century in Moscow on Friday.
This deal must be legally binding and should set the framework for cooperation and should lay the foundation for making more specific agreements, he said.
The PCA will also become the basis for deeper cooperation in all of the common spaces of the EU-Russia cooperation (freedom, security and justice; economic cooperation; external security; and research,
education and culture, Lavrov said.
EU has agreed that the first chapter in the PCA should focus on security and defense, he said.
Entry of Serbia, Kosovo to EU is possible – diplomat
MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - Slovenia, the current holder of the rotating EU presidency, has said that Kosovo and Serbia could possibly join the union in the future.
We see prospects for Belgrade and Pristina in the EU in the future, Slovenian Ambassador to Russia Andrej Benedejcic told a news conference at Interfax in Moscow on Friday.
The Kosovo independence was the final stage of Yugoslavia's collapse, the ambassador said. In general, Slovenia is very pleased with the results of its presidency in the EU, he added.
 
20.06.08
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Nikolai Surkov, RBK daily (Handelsblatt's article) and Vremya novostei, in an article, entitled Irish questions, by Zurab Nalbandyan, report on the EU summit in
Brussels.
In an article, entitled An Albanian way for Serbs, by Pyotr Iskenderov, Vremya novostei reports on a session of the UN Security Council today to discuss Kosovo.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Alexander Rusetsky, which addresses the situation in the conflict zones in Georgia and the positions of the US and the EU on the issue.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Andrey Terekhov, reports on developments between the EU and Iran in the light of possible new sanctions on Tehran.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on new Estonian language requirements adopted by the Estonian Government, which are in full compliance with EU standards (ITAR-TASS report).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta mentions briefly new EU measures against illegal immigration.
Russia, EU differ on prospects for visa-free travel
MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - Deputy chairman of the Federation Council committee on foreign affairs Vasily Likhachyov has said that both Russia and the EU have every reason to introduce visa-free travel, however Slovenian Ambassador to Russia Andrej Benedejcic doubts that the parties are prepared for this.
We believe that we have every reason to solve this issue, namely to introduce common visa-free travel. Brussels is not pressing us on this, but the movement is going in the right direction, which I think is a big achievement, Likhachyov told a press conference at the Interfax head office on Friday.
For his part, Benedejcic said: We all want to see visa-free travel in the future, but for now it is not just the EU, but Russia itself who is not yet prepared for this.
Bilateral issues will hamper progress of EU-Russia talks – Senator Likhachyov
MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - Preparation of a new basic agreement between Russia and the European Union should not be encumbered with bilateral issues that exist in the relations between Russia and certain EU countries, said deputy chairman of the Federation Council committee on foreign affairs Vasily Likhachyov.
Unfortunately, the mandate that the European Commission has received [to begin talks with Russia on a new basic agreement] is encumbered with bilateral demands, Likhachyov told a press conference at the Interfax head office on Friday.
In particular, it contains demands from the United Kingdom concerning the murder of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko, from Lithuania concerning oil supplies, from Latvia and Estonia concerning the Nord Stream problems.
We are convinced that our strategic cooperation must be first of all a cooperation between Russia and the EU, and the presence of bilateral issues on the agenda is not making this cooperation any easier, the senator said.
Currently, Moscow and Brussels are completing their preparations for the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiisk, which is expected to launch the talks on a new basic agreement.
This is going to be an outstanding summit. All EU-Russia summits are destined to succeed, but it is important for us that this success is more than declaratory, he said.
 
19.06.08.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta-Nedelya comments on the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty at the 12 June Irish referendum in an article by Fyodor Lukyanov.
RBK daily publishes an article, by Kirill Zubkov, on the EU summit which opens today in Brussels to discuss, among other issues, the outcome of the Irish referendum.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta comments on the outcome of the Irish referendum in an article by Vladimir Silkin.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, on EU-Russia relations in the context of Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “From Vancouver to Vladivostok”, by Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, which addresses, among other issues, the situation in the EU, including “the failure to ratify the Lisbon Treaty”.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta carries an article by Vyacheslav Prokofyev, which addresses France’s new military plans unveiled by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The plans envisage inter alia an enhanced involvement for France in EU defence policy.
Vremya novostei mentions the visit to Iran of EU HR Representative Javier Solana in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov.
Izvestia publishes a commentary by Konstantin Kosachyov on President Medvedev’s decree to grant visa-free entry into and visa-free exit from Russia to stateless people in Latvia and Estonia. Mr Kosachyov said the idea to waive visa requirements for non-citizens emerged after Latvia and Estonia joined the Schengen area.
Vremya novostei addresses the same issue in an article by Danuta Dembovskaya.
Vrenya novostei publishes an article by Alexei Grivach, which reports on Russian gas supplies to Europe and cites a statement on the need to diversify energy sources made by President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso in interview with Corriere della Sera.
In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Novye Izvestia reports on protests by farmers, truckers and taxi drivers yesterday in Brussels against high fuel prices. The author mentions that the protests were held on the eve of the EU summit today in Brussels.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, in an article by Yury Goverdovsky, reports on the visit to Poland of a delegation form the Federation Council, led by Federation Council speaker Sergey Mironov, and mentions the issues of European energy security and a new EU-Russia agreement.
In an article by Yelena Oludina, Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on recent hearings in the Duma to discuss the situation of non-citizens in Latvia and Estonia and cites on the issue he Head of the European Commission to Russia Marc Franco, Estonian Ambassador to Russia Marina Kaljurand and the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachyov.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the new documents sent to the European Commission by Porsche on its plan to increase its stake in Volkswagen (ITAR-TASS report).
 
17.06.08.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, which addresses global economic challenges and the issue of protectionism for the future US President.
Kommersant, in an article by Natalia Portyakova, and Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, report on the meeting in Luxembourg of EU Foreign Ministers. The focus is given to Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. The Moscow Times reports on the meeting in an article, entitled EU to Keep Reform Treaty Alive (Reuters report).
Expert weekly magazine reports on the outcome of the Irish referendum.
Vremya novostei reports, in an article by Katerina Labetskaya, that the EU Foreign Ministers are scheduled to meet Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss ties between the EU and Israel.
In an article by Alexander Koksharov, Expert comments on the EU-US summit in Slovenia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled The UN Security Council is preparing for a new Kosovo battle, by Yulia Petrovskaya, which reports on a planned session of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue of reconfiguring the international presence in Kosovo. The author anticipates embittered disputes between Russia, on the one hand, and the US, Britain and France, on the other hand.
Kommersant, in an article by Anna Pushkarskaya, reports that the European Commission plans to resume the project in Russia on the development of 'Interregional Electoral Network of Assistance'.
Gazeta carries an article, entitled The Europeans will check Russian fish, by Anton Trifonov, which reports on fishery product inspection in Russia by representatives of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Affairs.
In an article, by Pyotr Geltishchev on the Russian ban on imports of cheese from Lithuania's Rokiskio suris, Trud mentions Russia's ban on Polish meat imports and imports of meat, dairy and fish products from some other EU Member States.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes a front-page article, by Andrey Terekhov, which reports that Iran has withdrawn $75 billion from European banks in the face of new sanctions over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.
Vedomosti and Vremya novostei (RIA-Novosti report) report on the same issue.
Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times report on talks between President George W.Bush and PM Gordon Brown in London to discuss tighter sanctions on Iran.
Vremya novostei reports, with a reference to EU HR Javier Solana, that the EU Foreign Ministers yesterday did not take a decision about imposing new sanctions on Iran (RIA-Novosti).
Gazeta, Vedomosti, Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times report on the opening by Gazprom of a representation office in Algeria and Gazprom-Sonatrach cooperation, including the possible joint acquisition of assets in third countries. Deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, is quoted as saying that Gazprom plans to swap gas supply volumes with Sonatrach to optimize fuel deliveries to Europe and beyond.
Vedomosti cites statements in an interview with The Financial Times by EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding on activities of mobile operators.
 
Moscow, 17 June 2008
Commissioner Kovács in Moscow to discuss EU-Russia Customs and Cross-Border Cooperation
EU Commissioner for taxation and customs union, László Kovács, will visit Moscow on 19 June to open EU-Russia joint committee on Customs and Cross-Border Cooperation, and to meet with his Russian counterparts. Press-conference by Commissioner Kovács on the results of the visit will take place on June 19, at 16h00, at the Residence of the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia (11/14, Bolshaya Polyanka).
During his visit to Russia, Commissioner Kovács will meet the business community as well as Mr.Belyaninov, Head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia. Among the issues to be discussed is the problem of traffic congestions on the EU-Russia borders that many truck drivers in border regions suffer from, and to assess the progress, made in implementing the joint EC Russia strategy to address those problems.
Mass media are invited to the press-conference by Commissioner Kovács on Thursday, June 19, at 16h00, at 11/14, Bolshaya Polyanka. Language: English-Russian (consecutive interpretation will be provided).
For media accreditation, please contact the Press and Information Section of the Delegation of the European Commission to Russia
Tel. (495) 721-20-41/09, fax (495) 721-20-20, e-mail delrus-pressoffice@ec.europa.eu
 
16.06.08.
Ireland votes no to the Lisbon Treaty. The following articles have been published on the outcome of the Irish referendum: (i) Gazeta: The EU faces a new crisis, by Ivan Sotnikov. (ii) Izvestia: The red said 'no', by Ksenia Fokina. The daily also publishes an article by Dmitry Voskoboinikov, which comments on the Irish referendum and the process of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the EU Member States. (iii) Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Brussels is trying to rescue the Treaty of Lisbon, by Yekaterina Kuznetsova. (iv) Novaya Gazeta: Yes, they are red!, by Alexander Mineyev. (v) Novye Izvestia: an article by Alexander Mineyev. (vi) Rossiyskaya Gazeta: A clear slap for the European Union, by Fyodor Lukyanov. (vii) Trud: An Irish failure, by Lika Golub. (viii) Vremya novostei: an article by Katerina Labetskaya and Alexander Zditovetsky. (ix) The Moscow Times: Irish Voters Reject EU Reform Treaty (AP report).
In a special supplement 'NG-Dipkurier', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with EU Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner, which addresses integration processes in Europe, the European Neighbourhood Policy, immigration and other issues.
Gazeta and Vremya novostei provide the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry over reports that the head of UNMIK Joachim Ruecker made steps on the reformatting of the international presence in Kosovo.
Ahead of the EU-Russia summit on 26-27 June in Khanty-Mansiisk, Izvestia addresses the issue of EU-Russia relations.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta comment on the European tour of President George Bush.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') publishes an article by Sergey Tolstov, which comments on the 22-23 May energy forum in Kyiv with participation of EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The Moscow Times reports briefly that Slovenia may sign an accord this summer with Gazprom to allow the proposed South Stream gas pipeline to cross its territory (Bloomberg).
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine publishes an interview with Estonian Ambassador to Russia Marina Kaljurand, which addresses bilateral relations.
In an article by Tatyana Ternovskaya, Izvestia mentions Cyprus' visa rules for Russians.
Izvestia publishes an article by Anastasia Savinykh, which reports on Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposal to create a euro area wide rating agency.
Statement by President Barroso following the Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon
All the indications are that Ireland has voted no to the Treaty of Lisbon. As a supporter of the Treaty, the European Commission would have hoped for another result. However, we respect the outcome of the referendum.
I have just spoken to Prime Minister Cowen, and he was clear that this vote should not be seen as a vote against the EU. Indeed, both sides in the campaign stressed the benefits of Irish membership: I believe that Ireland remains committed to building a strong Europe and playing a full and active part in the EU.
The Irish government and the governments of the other Member States will now need to assess what this result means for the process. The Treaty was signed by all 27 Member States, so there is a joint responsibility to address the situation. The European Council meets next week – and that is the place where joint decisions should be taken on issues that concern us all. The no vote in Ireland has not solved the problems which the Lisbon Treaty is designed to solve. The ratification process is made up of 27 national processes, 18 Member States have already approved the Treaty, and the European Commission believes that the remaining ratifications should continue to take their course.
At the European Council, we will want to confer with each other, to hear Prime Minister Cowen's analysis, as well as his ideas on how to address the concerns expressed by those who chose to vote no.
At the same time, the EU institutions and the Member States should continue the work of delivering for the citizens of Europe on issues like growth and jobs, social cohesion, energy security, climate change and fighting inflation. Working together in the EU remains the best way to deal with the challenges affecting Europeans today.
 
11.06.08.
Interfax new agency quotes the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Marc Franco, who commented in a radio interview on the upcoming talks between the EU and Russia on a new agreement.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, which addresses EU-Russia relations.
Vremya novostei carries an article by Vadim Smirnov, which reports on Russia’s consultations with Lithuania and Poland on “liberalizing mutual travel for residents” in the Kaliningrad region and regions in the neighbouring countries.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on the EU-US summit in Slovenia. Vremya novostei cites a joint statement adopted by the EU and the US which acknowledged “the important and constructive role” of Russia on the international stage (RIA-Novosti).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner on the EU’s intention to impose sanctions on Iran by freezing its bank accounts.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the US and the EU have agreed to impose more sanctions on Iran (Lenta.ru report).
In an article by Anna Roze, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the visit by President George Bush to Germany.
Kommersant publishes an article, by Natalia Portyakova, on the 12 June referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland.
Vremya novostei reports on the Irish referendum in an article by Alexei Slobodin.
Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times, Vremya novostei and Vedomosti report on the visit to France of Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller, and his statements on gas supplies and oil and gas prices (see also economic headlines).
In an article by Maxim Yegorov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposal to cap soaring oil prices by lowering EU fuel taxes.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes a front-page article, by Vladimir Ivanov, which refers to a publication in The Economist on alleged “Russian spying in the EU”. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Kommersant and Vremya novostei report on a spy case in Germany where a former employee at Eurocopter was accused of allegedly passing documents about the aircraft to Russian intelligence.
Vremya novostei mentions new EU measures against illegal immigration in an article by Vyacheslav Samoshkin.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roskosmos in an article by Viktor Mikhailov.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on internal developments in Serbia and mentions the country’s EU aspirations in an article by Ilya Vukelich. Vremya novostei reports on the same issue in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov.
Nezavisiamaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Vice-President of the International Crisis Group, Alain Deletroz, which addresses, among other issues, the issue of Kosovo.
 
9.06.08.
Itogi weekly magazine publishes an interview with First Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov, which addresses, among other issues, EU-Russia relations, the Nord Stream project, and the upcoming EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Itogi publishes an article, entitled An air battle, by Andrey Krasavin, which addresses the issue of Siberian overflight payments on the agenda of EU-Russia relations.
Dailies report broadly on the visit to Tbilisi and Sukhumi of EU High Representative Javier Solana (Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times, Vremya novostei).
Kommersant reports on President Bush's visit to Ljubljana to take part in the EU-US summit in an article by Dmitry Sidorov and Sergey Strokan.
Gazeta mentions briefly Bush's European tour.
Gazeta (Saturday's issue) published an interview with Polish Ambassador to Russia, Jerzy Bahr, which addresses bilateral relations and tackles the issue of the Slavic dimension of the European Union.
Kommersant publishes an interview with Serbian Vice-PM Bozidar Djelic, which addresses, among other issues, Serbia's EU bid.
Vremya novostei (Saturday's issue) publishes an interview with Kosovo's PM Hashim Thaci, on Kosovo's EU and NATO aspirations, Kosovo's Constitution and other issues. Thaci also called on the countries that have not recognised the independence of Kosovo, including Russia, to do so.
Vremya novostei (Saturday's issue), in an article by Edvard Aslanyan, reports on the visit to Moscow by Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou. Cyprus' position on Kosovo is also mentioned.
In an article by Sergey Lavinov, Novye Izvestia mentions President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposals of expanding military cooperation in Europe in the light of France's EU Presidency starting 1 July 2008.
Gazeta publishes an interview with Irina Vinnik, the acting head of Latvia's Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration Affairs, which comments on minorities' integration in Latvia.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with leader of Georgia's Labour Party Shalva Natelashvili, who has asked the EU to grant political asylum to his family and the families of members of his party.
In an article by Vladislav Vorobyov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the situation with visa-issuance at the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Alexei Grivach, which reports on latest developments around the South Stream gas pipeline project and refers to Deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, who said an agreement was expected to be signed with Austria to make OMV coordinator of the project on the Austrian side. In the view of the daily, the Russian-Austrian agreement could become a decisive blow on the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Vremya novostei (Saturday's issue) reports on developments around the Nabucco project (ITAR-TASS report).
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine reports on Slovakia's planned admission to the euro zone as of 1 January 2009.
 
Main headlines in Russia on 6 June 2008
Political headlines
1) Russian-German summit in Berlin: President Dmitry Medvedev visited Germany on Thursday, making his first visit to the West and his second trip abroad since he was sworn in on 7 May. Observers recall that Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first Western leader to meet Medvedev after he was elected Russia’s new President, while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was the first high-ranking Western diplomat to be received by Medvedev in the Kremlin after assuming office. This indicates the importance attached by the two states to the development of bilateral relations. In Berlin, Vedomosti writes, the Russian President highlighted his foreign policy priorities. The media notably point to Medvedev’s initiative of holding a European summit to prepare a legally-binding European security treaty similar to the 1975 Helsinki Act. He also stressed that Russia would insist on the supremacy of law in international affairs, and emphasized the UN’s role. Medvedev expressed concern over a decline in mutual understanding between Russia and the West on Euro-Atlantic issues, such as NATO expansion, the CFE Treaty and US missile defence plans in Central Europe. At a joint press conference, Medvedev and Merkel tackled the issue of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project. Medvedev notably said that Russia and Germany have “a common vision” of this project, and called for the Nord Stream and South Stream projects to be synchronised. Merkel is quoted saying that the EU energy reform would not hamper Gazprom’s investment. Commentators point to Medvedev’s statement on the fate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Medvedev made it clear that all criminal proceedings “must remain matters of national lawmaking”, adding that the Khodorkovsky case could not be a subject of interstate relations. The Russian President also spoke of the need to protect media freedom and promised to investigate attempts on the life and health of journalists in Russia. Press notes that legal considerations were quite high in Medvedev’s arguments. (All media)
2) Jury acquits three men charged with attempting to assassinate Chubais: A jury in Moscow yesterday acquitted three ex-military officers charged with attempting to assassinate in 2005 CEO of RAO UES, Anatoly Chubais. Retired intelligence officer Vladimir Kvachkov and two former paratroopers – Robert Yashin and Alexander Naidenov – were released in the courtroom. A formal verdict is expected to be issued by the Moscow City Court on 16 June. Chubais described the acquittal as “a mistake”. Chubais’ lawyer, Andrey Shugaev, did not exclude that the prosecution could appeal against the verdict. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN).
3) Informal CIS summit today in St. Petersburg: Dailies report on an informal summit of the CIS today in St. Petersburg in the framework of the St. Petersburg economic forum. The focus is given to a number of bilateral meetings of President Medvedev with the leaders of CIS Member States. Predictably, the most difficult talks will be with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes that “the easiestquestion at the Russian President’s meeting with Yushchenko will most likely be the gas issue”. The Georgian President expressed the hope that his meeting with Medvedev would bring positive results. The press writes that the main issue at talks between Medvedev and Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin will be the Transnistrian settlement, while both Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azeri President Ilkham Aliyev will speak of the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. Kommersant points to Moscow’s “problems” with Central Asian countries, which are keen to join the West-backed energy projects. (Kommersant, NG, Interfax).
4) TNK-BP CEO Dudley summoned to give tax evidence: (i) Media report on the summoning by investigators of TNK-BP chief executive, Robert Dudley, for a discussion of tax issues related to the company’s activities in 2001-2003. In a statement yesterday, TNK-BP called the summoning “routine” and “unrelated to the current debate amongst shareholders”. (ii) Deputy PM Igor Sechin is quoted as saying that the Government should not interfere into a conflict between the TNK-BP shareholders. (Gazeta, Interfax, MT, RIAN).
5) Moscow calls to investigate abductions of Serbs in Kosovo: Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has described as “unsatisfactory” the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and insisted on the investigation of cases of the alleged abduction of ethnic Serbs by Albanians in Kosovo so that their organs can be sold. The cases were mentioned in a book by former ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. (Interfax, Kommersant).
6) Draft bill on Russia’s Security Council: According to Gazeta, a draft bill is being prepared on the Russian Security Council. If passed, the bill would turn the Council from a consultative body under the President into a “real centre of power with broad competences”. (Gazeta).
7) Investigators say Internet video featuring execution authentic: A representative of the Investigation Committee within the Prosecutor General’s Office told the press yesterday that a video posted on the Internet and showing the execution of two men was authentic. The official said one of the victims was identified as a Dagestani resident. (Interfax, Kommersant, RG, VN).
8) More than 50 arrested over hate crimes: Law enforcement officials yesterday announced that police had arrested 53 suspects for violent and deadly attacks against dark-skinned people in a number of Russian regions. The suspects include members of 11 separate radical youth groups that have been involved in more than 30 attacks – including murders – against people of ‘non-Slavic’ appearance. (Interfax, MT, RIAN).
9) Protection of compatriots’ rights a priority – diplomat: In an interview with Gazeta, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin outlined the protection of the rights of Russian compatriots abroad as one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. Karasin provided the following figures: 8.3 million Russian compatriots live in Ukraine, 4,9 million – in Kazakhstan, up to 3,3 million – in Germany, between 2,5 million to 4 million – in the USA, etc. (Gazeta).
10) Russian sailors accused in Spain of drug trafficking:According to media reports,15 Russian sailors have been charged by Spanish authorities. The sailors were arrested in mid-May on suspicion of their involvement in drug trafficking.(RG).
11) Financial official detained in bribery case: An official at the Moscow branch of the Federal Service for Financial and Budgetary Inspection (Rosfinnadzor) has been detained on suspicion of extorting 500,000 roubles (more than 13,000 euro) from a businessman in order to ignore financial violations he discovered during an audit. (Kommersant, MT, RG).
12) Official denies that Khakassia virus originated in China: Russia’s chief sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko, denied on Thursday that the illness of children in the Republic of Khakassia (Siberia) where two children died was linked to China’s enterovirus epidemic. (ITAR-TASS, RG, VN).
13) Upcoming events: (i) Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou is scheduled to visit Russia on 8-10 June. (ii) Russian and Norwegian Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Jonas Gahr Store, will meet in Kirkenes and Murmansk on 9-11 June. (ITAR-TASS, Interfax).
 
Economic headlines
14) Work permits issuance to be resumed?: According to RBK daily, the acute problem of work permits for foreigners could be resolved soon. After the Federal Migration Service on 26 May suspended the issuance of work permits for foreigners, it now discusses with MID, the Economic Ministry and the Ministry of Regional Development an extension of the quota for foreigners for 2008. The quota for Moscow, in particular, could be extended by 60,000 people. In 2007, a total of 2.3m permits were issued for the whole Russia. (RBK daily)
15) Bill reducing NDPI recommended for Duma first reading: The Duma Budgetary Committee recommended a bill alleviating the tax burden on the oil sector for a first reading by the Duma. The bill envisages a raise in the level of the oil price, starting from which the severance tax (NDPI) is applied, to $15 per barrel from the current $9. The resulted cut in NDPI will increase oil companies' revenues byRUR104.1bn in 2009, and RUR112bn in 2010. (Kommersant)
16) Ministries disagree on ‘Rostekhnologii’ assets: The state corporation ‘Rostekhologii’ (Russian Technologies) still fails to agree with various Ministries a placing under its command 470 enterprises. The Federal Antimonopoly Service expressed doubts over a transfer to the corporation of the Government-owned shares in the enterprises, whose controlling stakes are owned by private sector (such as truck producer KamAZ, car producer UAZ, and OAO ‘The large-diameter pipe works’). The Finance Ministry is against transferring non-military enterprises to the corporation. Deputy CEO of ‘Rostekhnologii’, Alexey Alyoshin, said that 80% of the corporation’s future assets would belong to the military-industrial complex. (Kommersant, Vedomosti)
17) Russia and Ukraine fail to agree on gas price: At talks with Naftogaz Ukrainy CEO Oleg Dubyna, Gazprom CEO Miller rejected the Ukrainian side’s proposal to sign a long-term contract on supplies of gas at a fixed price to Ukraine. Miller said that before discussing the deal, Ukraine should repay its $700m debt to Gazprom. (Kommersant)
18) Big business for free and educated Russia: The Russian economic school and Vedomosti conducted a poll among chief executives of Russia’s leading companies trying to find out their opinion about the country’s future. Most of them said that within 12 years, Russia should be free, educated and active, and only some of them said it should be powerful and rich. Almost all of them do not view any real threat from outside Russia, but consider as a big danger the existing demographic problems, corruption, the lack of independent courts and human rights violations. The results of the poll will be taken into account by the Government while considering the socio-economic concept for Russia up to 2020 at a meeting in August. (Vedomosti)
 
Articles on the EU in Russian newspapers
Kommersant publishes an interview with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, which addresses the upcoming talks on a new EU-Russia agreement and some aspects of the EU-Russia relationship.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article, entitled “A hope on Solana”, by Irina Baramidze, which reports on the visit to Georgia of EU High Representative Javier Solana.
RIA-Novosti news agency, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times cite a resolution by the European Parliament, calling for the withdrawal of Russian railroad troops from the unrecognised republic of Abkhazia.
RBK daily publishes an article by Anatoly Pomortsev, which comments on EU policy on Kosovo and refers to latest statements on the issue by EU HR Solana.
Kommersant quotes Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s commentary on EU-Russia relations in his interview with The Financial Times.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta comments on the Council of the Baltic Sea states’ summit in Riga in an article by Vadim Radionov, Oksana Antonenko and Maxim Yegorov.
Novye Izvestia publishes an interview with Latvian Ambassador to Russia Andris Teikmanis, which addresses both bilateral and EU-Russia relations.
Izvestia and Vremya novostei report briefly on criticism voiced by Amnesty International over the Estonian authorities’ “policy of discrimination” toward non-Estonian speakers.
Vremya novostei reports on latest developments around the Nord Stream project in an article by Alexei Grivach.
Kommersant reports on latest EU measures against illegal immigration in an article by Natalia Portyakova.
Gazeta and Novye Izvestia report on the European Commission’s reaction to an incident at the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia. Novye Izvestia cites in this regard spokesman for EU Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny.
Gazeta, in an article by Kira Remeneva, reports on the possible opening later this of a visa centre of the Bulgarian Embassy in Russia.
In an article by Denis Zhuikov, RBK daily reports on fishermen’s strike in the EU.
 
5.06.08.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the visit today to Germany of President Dmitry Medvedev in an article by Vladimir Kuzmin. The author also addresses the issue of the upcoming talks between the EU and Russia on a new agreement. Kommersant reports on Medvedev's visit to Germany in an article by Mikhail Zygar. According to the author, Medvedev will most likely put forward an idea that Europe should unite not only in the framework of the European Union but as a whole without discriminating non-EU European countries.
Vedomosti reports on Medvedev's visit in an article by Ivan Preobrazhensky, Kira Latukhina and Tatyana Rubleva.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Member of the German Bundestag Andreas Schockenhoff, which focuses on EU-Russia relations.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, by German political scientist Alexander Rahr, on Medvedev's visit to Germany and EU-Russia relations.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the visit to Moscow of EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in an article, entitled A comprehensive agreement but not an encyclopaedia, by Andery Terekhov. Gazeta reports on the Commissioner's visit in an article by Olga Pavlikova, focusing on Ferrero-Waldner's speech yesterday in the Duma.
The Moscow Times reports on Benita Ferrero-Waldner's meeting with Deputy PM Igor Sechin in an article, entitled EU Discusses TNK-BP With Sechin. Vedomosti mentions briefly Ferrero-Waldner's meeting withSechin (Reuters).
Dailies report on the Council of the Baltic Sea States' summit yesterday in Riga, focusing on the speech at the by Russia's First deputy PM Igor Shuvalov. The following articles have been published: (i) Kommersant: an article by Alexander Gabuyev. The daily also publishes an interview with EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs on energy security issues, so-called 'gas wars' and the Nord Stream project. (ii) Novye Izvestia: an article by Sergey Zolovkin and Viktor Shankov. (iii) The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Shuvalov Tells EU Not to Fear Russia (Reuters). (iv)Vremya novostei: an article by Danuta Dembovskaya.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes a special supplement dedicated to France and Russian-French cooperation. The supplement contains an interview with French Ambassador to Russia Stanislas de Laboulaye, which addresses both bilateral and EU-Russia relations in light of France's EU Presidency in the second semester 2008.
Kommersant publishes an interview with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas on economic and en energy cooperation.
The Moscow Times carries an article, entitled Kremlin Gets Tougher on Emissions, by Simon Shuster, which reports on Russia's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and mentions EU obligations under the Protocol.
Izvestia, in an article by Tatyana Ternovskaya, reports on complications with obtaining by Russians of visas at the Bulgarian consulate in Moscow.
In an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta addresses the EU's measures to fight against illegal immigration, including EU Member States' agreement that illegal immigrants can be detained for up to 18 months and face a five-year entry ban in the EU.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the European Commission has issued a radiation alert after an incident at the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia (RIA-Novosti report).
 
4.06.08.
Gazeta, Kommersant and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on the seminar yesterday in Moscow to discuss regional policy in the EU and Russia with participation of EU Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner and Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak.
Interfax news agency reports on the visit to Moscow of EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and quotes her commentary on the EU-Russia talks on a new deal, and on the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian conflict settlement.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, which addresses the upcoming EU-Russia talks on a new partnership agreement.
Vremya novostei reports on the Baltic Sea States summit in Riga in an article, entitled Baltic by-pass, by Danuta Dembovskaya. The author points to the absence at the summit of PM Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Argumenty i Fakty publishes an interview with German political expert Alexander Rahr, which tackles, among other issues, EU-Russia relations.
Gazeta publishes an interview with Russian Ambassador to Latvia, Alexander Veshnyakov, which addresses Russian-Latvian relations, including the border treaty between the two states.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU Tells Minsk to Clear 3 Protesters (Reuters), which cites a statement by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner condemning restrictions placed on the freedom of three men who took part in a rally of entrepreneurs in Belarus in January 2008.
In an article by Sergey Kulikov, Tatyana Ivzhenko and Sokhbet Mamedov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the recent visit to Baku of CEO of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, in the context of diversification of energy supplies to Europe. Gazeta reports on the same issue in an article by Oksana Gavshina.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled 'The best conditions, by Alexei Grivach, which reports on Miller's visit to Turkmenistan also in the context of energy supplies to the EU.
Gazeta, in an article by Oksana Gavshina, and Kommersant (RIA-Novosti) report that Iran plans to start building a pipeline as part of the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline designed to pump gas to Europe, bypassing Russia.
In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei addresses energy supplies to the EU, including from Algeria.
The Moscow Times reports briefly on Nord Stream consortium's building plans (Reuters report).
 
3.06.08.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with EU Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner, which addresses the EU-Russia dialogue on regional policy.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, which focuses on the upcoming talks between the EU and Russia on a new partnership agreement. Issues such as Kosovo, Ukraine's EU aspirations and others are also tackled.
Kommersant publishes an article, entitled The Baltic states experience an inflow of energy, by Alexander Gabuyev, which reports on the Baltic Sea States summit on 3-4 June in Riga. According to the author, the key issue on the agenda will be energy policy of the European Union and Russia. The Russian side will be represented by First Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov.
Itogi weekly magazine publishes an article by Oleg Odnokolenko and Nikolai Galkin, which addresses the upcoming EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk, focusing on the economic development of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous district-Yugra.
In an article by Alexander Chudodeyev and Alexei Dityakin, Itogi analyses Russia's foreign policy, including the relationship with the European Union.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in a front-page article by Yevgeny Shestakov, reports on a book, written by German expert Alexander Rahr, on relations between Russia and the West. At a press conference in Moscow, Mr Rahr also answered questions on the agenda of President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Germany.
Izvestia publishes a special supplement dedicated to the 20 May conference in Berlin to discuss the gas aspect of EU-Russia energy dialogue. In his article, the head of the Russian Gas Society Valery Yazev addresses the issue of energy security, EU-Russia energy relations and voices criticism toward the European Commission's third energy package which, in his view, would complicate the EU-Russia relationship. The supplement also publishes opinions on EU-Russia energy cooperation, including by Director-General of the European Commission's DG for Energy and Transport Matthias Ruete.
Itogi publishes an interview with Deputy Minister for Economic Development Andrey Klepach, which mentions inter alia the EU structures' attempts to execute control over energy resources transportation and to set up tougher rules for foreign companies on the European market.
In an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin, Vremya novostei reports on the EU Finance Ministers' meeting yesterday in Frankfurt to mark the 10-year anniversary of the ECB.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta carries an article, entitled From the Varangians to the Greeks, by Alexei Chichkin, which reports on the Northern Transport Corridor project in the framework of the Barents Link programme. The daily points out that the Barents Link programme is supported by the EU.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Landslide in Macedonia Vote, Violence Damages EU Hopes (Reuters), which reports on Sunday's elections in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and points out that the violence during the vote may delay the country's progress toward EU membership.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta, in an article by Alexei Baliyev, mentions the waterway transport requirements of the EU and the Danube Commission.
In an article by Yury Yershov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on developments between the European Commission and Poland over Poland's shipbuilding industry. Spokesman for EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Jonathan Todd, is quoted as saying that the Commission is set to order that Poland repay state aid received by Polish shipyards.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta publishes an interview with officials at the Economic Development Ministry's department for trade negotiations, Veronika Nikishina and Yelena Stoyanova, which comments on the EU's REACH Regulation on chemicals and their safe use and its impact on Russian exporters.
 
Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media 26 May- 2 June 2008
PM Putin's visit to France and EU-Russia talks on a new deal Commenting on PM Vladimir Putin's visit to France on 29-30 May, the press points to the issue of EU-Russia talks on a new agreement as one of the main issues during his talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy and PM François Fillon: the Russian PM's visit came as France is set to assume the EU Presidency on 1 July. An official at the Russian Foreign Ministry told Kommersant (29/05) that in current circumstances Russia does not regard France in the context of bilateral relations only but also in the context of the French Presidency of the EU. In Paris, Putin stressed that Russia and France had agreed that we together will see that the talks over a new agreement between the EU and Russia start as soon as possible, he was quoted saying. Fillion said he wanted the deal by the end of the French EU Presidency.
However, both EU and Russian officials foresee complex talks ahead. On a visit to Copenhagen last week, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declined to comment on how much time it would take to sign the new deal. Vedomosti (29/05) cites an unnamed source in the Russian Government who confirmed that the negotiations are expected to start at the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk in end-June, but expressed doubts that the deal could be reached by the end of the year. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas, in turn, said the agreement would be possible by the end of this year if it was of good enough quality (Moscow Times, 02/06). Vaitiekunas also expressed reservations about Moscow's suggestion that some issues could be resolved in individual agreements.
Vice-President of the European Parliament, Marek Siwiec, said to Kommersant (29/05) that the new agreement would be concluded in completely different circumstances, adding that Moscow must comply with united Europe's requirements. Kommersant's sources anticipate that the conclusion of the new agreement can be procrastinated due to numerous disagreements between the EU and Russia (in particular in the energy sphere), and that only influential EU Member States such as Germany and France could help Russia speed up the conclusion of the deal.
According to Vedomosti (28/05), at the talks the European Union will insist on Russia's ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty and demand the resumption of oil supplies to Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta oil refinery via the Druzhba oil pipeline. This suggestion was confirmed by Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, who said in his interview with Vremya novostei (30/05) that the energy issue would likely be raised and not so much in the context of the Mazeikiu Nafta refinery as in the context of ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty, signed by Russia in 1994. Chizhov at the same time recalled that this document had not been ratified by Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Belarus. An expert, cited by RBK daily (02/06), suggested that the Russian position on the key issues on the Khanty-Mansiysk's summit might be voiced at the St. Petersburg international economic forum in early June.
European Parliament against Nord Stream?
The European Parliament's Petitions Committee has adopted, on a Polish initiative, a report citing possible negative environmental effects from the future Nord Stream gas pipeline and recommending to drop plans to build the pipeline unless all Baltic countries agree on the project. The European Parliament's plenary session in July is expected to vote a resolution having the same recommendations. Nord Stream AG said it would soon provide the European Parliament with a report proving that Nord Stream would be environmentally safe. German energy expert, Roland Goetz, expressed scepticism to Nezavisimaya Gazeta (29/05) that the Nord Stream's opponents would succeed in their attempts to stop the construction of the pipeline. The same daily recalls Poland's proposal of an onshore Amber pipeline. Polish Vice-PM and Economics Minister Waldemar Pawlak reiterated in his interview with Gazeta (30/05) that Warsaw viewed the Amber project as cheaper and more effective.
Turkmenistan promises gas supplies to EU
Press last week mentioned the signing in Ashgabat of a memorandum of understanding in the energy field between the EU and Turkmenistan. The memorandum has been signed during the visit to Turkmenistan of EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. As Nezavisimaya Gazeta (28/05) writes, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has confirmed his country's course towards a multi-vector energy policy and keeps his promise given to EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner that Turkmenistan will have 10 bn cubic meters of gas available for export to Europe since 2009. Some commentators, however, express doubts that Turkmenistan will have enough gas to fill in pipelines running both eastward and westward.
Poland, Sweden offer 'Eastern Partnership' proposal
Poland and Sweden put forward a proposal at the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting on 26 May that the EU build an 'Eastern Partnership' to offer former Soviet republics more integration with the EU. According to media reports, Russia may be invited to cooperate in the framework of the 'Eastern Partnership', e.g. involving the Kaliningrad region. Some experts believe that Moscow should remain calm about the initiative which, in their view, could become an additional channel for a dialogue between the EU and Russia. It cannot be excluded, however, that Poland will pursue its own interests toward Kyiv and Minsk. Some other observers suggest that appearance of the 'Eastern Partnership' initiative signals an inefficiency of the European Neighbourhood Policy (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 27/05).
 
2.06.08.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Lithuania Signals Firm Stance on EU-Russia Talks, by Nerijus Adomaitis (Reuters), which reports on Lithuania's position on the EU-Russia talks on a new agreement.
In a special supplement 'NG-Dipkurier', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Minister of State responsible for European Affairs in the French Foreign Ministry, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, on EU-Russia relations, Kosovo, Turkey's EU bid and other issues.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Vadim Smirnov, which addresses the Kaliningrad region's future participation in the cross-border cooperation programme 'Lithuania-Poland-the Russian Federation'.
In a front-page article by Svetlana Gamova and Marina Perevozkina, Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses the issue of EU policy and initiatives toward the unrecognised republics in the post-Soviet space.
In an article by Yekaterina Kuznetsova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') comments on the EU-Russia relationship, focusing on the upcoming French Presidency of the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the Baltic Sea States summit planned for 3-4 June in Riga in an article by Vadim Rodionov and Oksana Antonenko.
Gazeta, in an article by Oksana Gavshina, reports on an announcement by Germany's RWE that it is ready to sell its gas transportation network in Germany. The move came in response to antitrust proceedings initiated by the European Commission. Vremya novostei reports briefly on the same issue.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Vladislav Inozemtsev, which addresses the European Court of Justice's activities.
In an article by Roman Dobrokhotov, Novye Izvestia reports on strikes of dairy farmers in EU Member States.

 

 



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