Архив до 31 декабря 2010 года

Архив 2010 года

Review of articles 1-9 March 2010
Russian-French rapprochement: warship sale, energy, Iran on agenda of President Medvedev’s visit to Paris
France may become Russia’s main partner in economic modernization
The intense agenda of President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to France on 1-3 March included the issues of Iran’s nuclear programme, Moscow’s proposal of a new European security treaty, bilateral economic and energy cooperation and the possible sale to Moscow of up to four Mistral-class helicopter and tank carriers. The press focused on the latter issue amid concerns over a potential purchase by Russia of the Mistral expressed by the US, Georgia and France’s EU partners in the Baltic States. The French side defended the possible warship deal with Russia, saying that the sale of the Mistral to Moscow would “put an end to the Cold War”. If concluded, the deal would be a political decision for Moscow and become the first arms sale agreement between Russia and a NATO country. At the same time, the media note that in order not to irritate NATO, the EU and the US, France is ready to sell the assault warship without its hi-tech components. Some commentators link Paris’ consent to sell the Mistral with Moscow’s agreement to support new sanctions against Iran over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme. President Nicolas Sarkozy said in this context that Russia will back new sanctions against Iran “so long as they do not create humanitarian problems”.
During Medvedev’s visit, the heads of Gazprom and GDF Suez signed a memorandum on increasing gas supplies and GDF Suez joining the Nord Stream gas pipeline project. France will thus become the first country to participate in the two Russian-backed pipeline projects – Nord Stream and South Stream. A Russian expert, contacted by RBK daily (01/03), expressed the view that France joining the Russian-backed projects “should seriously strengthen Gazprom’s positions in the European Commission as France is one of the most influential EU Member States”.
One of the key issues on Medvedev’s agenda was France’s participation in the modernisation of Russia’s economy in the framework of a new format of Russian-EU relations, called the ‘Partnership for Modernization’. Vedomosti does not exclude that France could become Moscow’s main partner on the delivery of advanced technology for modernising the Russian economy.
The issue of visa-free travel between the EU and Russia was also addressed by the two countries’ leaders. President Sarkozy is quoted as having expressed support for an introduction of visa-free travel between the EU and Russia and pledging that France would promote this idea among its EU partners. Although neither Sarkozy nor Medvedev specified a timeframe, Gazeta.ru calls France Russia’s second ally in the EU (after Italy) to back visa-free travel with Russia.
Commentators speak of Russian-French rapprochement and “privileged strategic partnership”, and recall Sarkozy’s role in settling the August 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia. Former Soviet and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Adamishin said in an article, published in Kommersant (02/03), that Sarkozy’s mediation between Russia and Georgia could be viewed as “mediation between Moscow and Washington”. “Being one of the heavyweights in NATO and the European Union, France remains for Moscow a country, the relations with which facilitate the development of cooperation with these organisations”.
Expert (09/03) speaks of a shift in Sarkozy’s attitude towards Russia and mentions his criticism three years ago of then President Jacques Chirac’s “pro-Russian position”. Analyst Alexei Makarkin told Gazeta.ru (02/03) that “Sarkozy needs to show the nation that he is able to build relations not only with the US. That is why France is intensifying cooperation with Russia”. Arnaud Dubien of the French Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), cited by Nezavisimaya Gazeta (01/03), suggests that Russian-French relations have entered a new stage both in the economic area and the political sphere.
Review of Russian regional media reports
The following media outlets have been reviewed: Altapress media holding (Barnaul, Altai), Grozny Inform news agency (Chechnya), Baltic Plus radio (Kaliningrad), Novyi Kaliningrad.Ru portal, Kaliningradskaya Pravda newspaper (Kaliningrad) and Omskaya Pravda (Omsk).
Independent portal Novyi Kaliningrad.Ru and Baltic Plus radio report on a large-scale rally on 30 January in Kaliningrad to demand the resignation of PM Vladimir Putin and Kaliningrad governor Georgy Boos. According to media reports, more than 10,000 people, including representatives of the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Yabloko and Solidarity, took part in the action. Novyi Kaliningrad cites, with reference to Regnum news agency, deputy speaker of the Kaliningrad regional legislature, deputy from United Russia, Konstantin Polyakov, as having expressed the view that the rally, which had initially started as an action of protest over an increase in the transportation tax rate, was financed by “Moscow-based politicians”. No reports on the rally were published on Kaliningradskaya Pravda’s web site.
Kaliningradskaya Pravda published an article dedicated to cooperation between Kaliningrad with regions in neighbouring Poland and Lithuania, focusing on the visa issue for Kaliningrad residents. Commentators expressed hope that the planned meeting in Kaliningrad in April between PM Vladimir Putin and Polish counterpart Donald Tusk would contribute to improving Russian-Polish relations. The newspaper mentions the coming into force as of 1 February of new regulations for submitting visa applications to the Polish Consulate-General in Kaliningrad, and writes that Kaliningrad is expected to host in spring a trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Lithuania and Poland to discuss “liberalization of visa rules for Kaliningrad residents”. No exact date for the meeting is provided.
Most regional media report on increases in tariffs on communal services and upcoming regional and local elections, scheduled for 14 March. E.g. local elections will be held on 14 March in the Omsk region where a total of 1.55 million residents are eligible to vote. Omskaya Pravda reports on the nomination of incumbent Omsk mayor Viktor Schreider by United Russia’s regional branch for mayoral elections in Omsk.
Altapress reports on the visit on 27-28 January to Altai of Federation Council speaker and Fair Russia leader Sergey Mironov in the context of planned local elections on 14 March in the Republic of Altai and the town of Biysk (the Altai territory). The press mentions Mironov’s refusal to meet with Biysk mayor Anatoly Mosiyevsky, against whom a criminal case on charges of abuse of power has been launched. According to media reports, Mosiyevsky’s candidacy for the 14 March mayoral elections in Biysk is unofficially supported by United Russia. Altapress also reports on Fair Russia plans to stage a rally ‘against poverty’ on 1 February in the town of Slavgorod (the Altai territory). The rally was initially planned for 29 January.
Grozny Inform cites the head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) Konstantin Romodanovsky who announced last Friday the closure in Russian regions of camps for Chechen refugees after conditions were created jointly with the Chechen authorities for the return to Chechnya of Chechen residents who were forced to leave their homes in the republic. The media report on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s plans to develop tourism in Chechnya, including in mountainous districts, and make the republic one of Russia’s centres of tourism. Commenting on an intention by Presidential envoy to the new North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin to visit Chechnya, Kadyrov said he would discuss issues such as unemployment and the economic development of the republic at his meeting with Khloponin.
28.01.10
Kommersant publishes an article by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband dedicated to an international conference on Afghanistan in London.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Vladimir Skripov which reports on the candidacy of Audronis Azubalis for the post of Lithuania's new Foreign Minister and his vision of the development of relations with Russia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Victoria Panfilova which reports on Romanian President Traian Basescu's visit to Moldova and his pledge to help Moldova move closer to the European Union.
Gazeta publishes an article by Ksenia Batanova which cites a forecast by the Fitch credit rating agency that 15 of the 27 EU Member States and Switzerland would have to borrow the equivalent of 19% of their annual national production in 2010 to finance budget overspending.
In an article by Tatiana Glazkova and Vladimir Pavlov, RBK daily comments on Greece's economic turmoil.
Vremya novostei quotes Professor from the Stern New York University Nouriеl Rubini as saying at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Spain threatens the integrity of the euro zone (Interfax).
Vedomosti (Wall Street Journal) and Vremya novostei (Interfax) report on European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet's backing for President Obama's proposals on reforming the banking sector.
Kommersant, in an article by Natalia Grib, and The Moscow Times (Bloomberg) report on developments around the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Finansovye Izvestia reports on the use of renewable sources of energy in Europe in an article by Ekaterina Bogomolova.
23.12.09
Kommersant cites Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet's comment on a possibility to introduce visa-free travel between the EU and Russia (Interfax).
Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei (ITAR-TASS) report on Serbia's application for the EU membership.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Europe's Rising Global Role, by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, which addresses the EU's role on the international arena.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by scientist Yevgeny Bazahnov which addresses integration processes in Europe.
In an article by Yevgeny Basmanov and Maria Rybakova, RBK daily reports on the downgrading by Moody's of Greece's debt rating and addresses economic problems in some other countries of the euro zone.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Vladimir Skripov which reports on an inquiry in Lithuania into the alleged hosting by Lithuania of US jails. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on the same issue.
 
21.12.09
Vedomosti publishes an article by Igor Ivanov, Wolfgang Ischinger and Sam Nunn which addresses the issue of European security.
Kommersant reports on the Copenhagen climate change conference and mentions the EU's position in an article by Alexei Shapovalov and Dmitry Butrin.
Novaya Gazeta publishes an article by Alexander Mineyev which reports on the awarding of three Russian rights activists - Oleg Orlov, Lyudmila Alekseyeva and Sergey Kovalyov - with the EU's Sakharov Prize.
In an article by Tatiana Ivzhenko, Nezavisimaya Gazeta mentions the EU's approval of Ukraine joining the Energy Community.
Kommersant, in an article by Galina Dudina, reports briefly on the official submission by Serbia of an application for EU candidacy.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev which addresses German Government anti-crisis measures.
Kommersant (Saturday's issue) and RBK daily report on the economic situation in Greece and the downgrading of the country's credit rating.
17.12.09
Kommersant and RBK daily report on the climate change conference in Copenhagen and mention EU commitments.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Mikhail Sergeyev which reports on decreased chances for the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline after launching a Turkmenistan-China pipeline.
Interfax and ITAR-TASS news agencies report on acceptance yesterday by President Medvedev of credentials from new ambassadors of 12 countries and the new ambassador of the European Union.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev which addresses economic turmoil in Greece and the EU’s reaction to the economic situation in the country.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the European Commission has ended its anti-trust case against Microsoft after the company agreed to give users the right to choose Web browsers (Wall Street Journal, Interfax).
 
14.12.09
Izvestia cites briefly Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement on climate change protection in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.
Kommersant reports on the climate change conference in Copenhagen and disagreements on how to deal with the global warming in an article by Alexei Shapovalov. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the issue in an article by Artur Blinov.
Gazeta provides Eurostat data on waste generation per capita in EU Member States in 2007.
Gazeta and RBK daily report on France's backing for Britain's actions that aim to cut banker bonuses.
In an article by Konstantin Poltev, RBK daily addresses an EU proposal to the IMF to introduce a new tax on financial transactions.
Vedomosti runs an article by Yekaterina Kravchenko which cites a Standard Bank forecast that Greece and Ireland may leave the euro zone in 2010 in connection with the economic crisis.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes articles which comment on economic turmoil in EU Member States.
The Moscow Times publishes an article on Russian-Bulgarian energy talks in Sofia to discuss joint energy projects, including the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the South Stream gas pipeline.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the South Stream pipeline project (ITAR-TASS).
In an article by Vyacheslav Samoshkin, Vremya novostei reports on the outcome of Romania's Presidential elections.
 
10.12.09
Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on a statement by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini who did not rule out the introduction by the EU and Russia of visa-free travel next year.
Kommersant publishes an article by Pavel Belov which cites European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek as having expressed concern over the abduction of opposition activists in Belarus. The Moscow Times (AP) also mentions Buzek's statement.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on developments around Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Natalia Portyakova which reports about the new EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the climate change conference in Copenhagen and mentions the EU financial contribution towards poorer nations in an article by Andrey Terekhov.
Vedomosti runs an article by Natalia Portyakova which reports on Israel's reaction to an EU statement on the status of Jerusalem.
In an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses the problem of fake medicines in EU Member States.
Vremya novostei reports that Greece could announce the default which could become the first EU-15 sovereign default since 1948 (Bloomberg, RIA-Novosti).
 
Weekly review of articles 1-7 December 2009
Russian-Italian talks: Gazprom and Eni continue discussing transfer of shares in South Stream to France’s EdF
Will conflict between Gazprom and E.ON lead to revision of long-term gas supply contracts?
Commenting on President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Italy on 3 December for talks with PM Silvio Berlusconi, the press focuses on discussions of the South Stream gas pipeline project. Although Gazprom and Eni signed a memorandum of understanding which provides for the participation in South Stream of France’s EdF, the Russian and Italian companies did not strike a deal on transferring a 10% stake in the Gazprom-Eni joint venture dealing with laying a stretch of South Stream on the bottom of the Black Sea (an estimated more than €4bn-worth project) to EdF, as observers earlier expected. Gazprom CEO Miller told reporters that EdF's share in the project could exceed 10%. A representative of Gazprom told Vedomosti that the agreement on the transfer of shares to EdF could be signed within three months. Berlusconi also promised at a joint press conference that “all of Europe – the Balkans, and Italy – will continue taking gas from Siberia”, and expressed satisfaction that “the South Stream does not cross Ukrainian territory”. Russian expert Mikhail Korchemkin, contacted by Vedomosti, called Berlusconi’s statement “brave”, but added that “prices will define to what extent Europe will need Russian gas”.
In the meantime, the media (e.g. Nezavisimaya Gazeta of 3 December with reference to Die Welt)reports on an alleged conflict between Gazprom and its “traditional German ally”, E.ON, over the terms of a long-term gas supply contract. In the crisis conditions, demand on the European gas markets has significantly dropped, while global gas prices have decreased in comparison with those fixed in the Gazprom-E.ON contract. E.ON has asked Gazprom to review the terms of the long-term gas supply contract. In the view of analyst Mikhail Krutikhin, “E.ON’s argumentation is quite strong”. “Firstly, Gazprom has agreed to make concession to Ukraine [Gazprom notably agreed to allow Ukraine to purchase less gas]. Secondly, Gazprom is seeking the same concession for itself from Turkmenistan”. Krutikhin also notes that E.ON has “many other trumps” in its hands, taking into account that the German energy company “represents part of German lobbyists who are promoting the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline”. Some experts believe that the threat of declining export revenues could force Gazprom to raise the domestic gas prices or return to the idea of Gazprom’s restructuring.
 
4.12.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Andrey Terekhov, which reports on EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton's 'question and answer' session at a meeting with Members of the European Parliament. The author focuses on Lady Ashton's answers to questions on relations with Russia.
In an article by Vladislav Rilsky, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the cancellation of a planned visit to Britain by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The author mentions an earlier statement by Sarkozy who said that it was time to reorganise the Anglo-Saxon model of finance.
Gazeta and RBK daily report on EU Finance Ministers' decision to set up new financial oversight agencies.
In an article by Alexander Polotsky, RBK daily addresses the discussion by EU Finance Ministers of Germany's budget deficit.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on developments around the South Stream gas pipeline and Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline projects in an article by Sergey Kulikov.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Alexei Grivach which reports on the settlement of the European Commission's antitrust investigation of GDF Suez.
Vremya novostei cites briefly Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as saying that Turkey will allow gas transit to Europe from any country, including Iran (ITAR-TASS).
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin which addresses ECB policy.
In an article by Vycheslav Samoshkin, Vremya novostei reports on the second round of Romania's Presidential election, scheduled for 6 December.
 
03.12.09
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko and Italian Minister of Economic Development Claudio Scajola which addresses energy relations between the EU and Russia.
Kommersant and Vremya novostei (RIA-Novosti, ITAR-TASS) report on EU Finance Ministers' agreement to set up three new financial oversight agencies.
In an article by Yury Alekseyev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on UN court hearings on the issue of Kosovo's unilateral proclamation of independence and mentions Serbia's integration in the EU.
 
1.12.09
Trud and Vremya novostei publish articles which report on the coming into force as of 1 December of the Lisbon Treaty.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Moscow Should Feel the Impact of Lisbon Treaty, by director of the EU-Russia Centre in Brussels Fraser Cameron, which addresses the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty and possible changes in EU-Russia relations.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the appointments of the EU's first president and foreign policy chief in an article by Olga Vlasova.
In a supplement dedicated to The Netherlands, Expert publishes an interview with Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende which addresses bilateral relations, the global economic crisis and the Lisbon Treaty.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, RBK daily and Vremya novostei report on talks yesterday in Minsk between Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
Gazeta runs an article by Yekaterina Sorokovaya which reports on an international conference in Brussels on 'EU-Russia Air Transport Today and Tomorrow'. Special attention at the conference will be paid to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Moscow Times cites Transport Minister Igor Levitin as saying that Russia and France agreed to allow Air France's A380 to fly over Siberia in exchange for increased cargo access to Russian carriers.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta comments on the EU's Eastern Partnership programme in an article by Alexei Baev.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on a statement by the EU's EULEX mission to Kosovo on confession of a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army who claimed that he had committed crimes on orders from former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders (some of whom are currently officials of Kosovo's Government).
Trud reports briefly on the EU's decision to scrap visa requirements for Serbia, Montenegro and FYROM starting from 19 December.
The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports on developments around the South Stream gas pipeline project and Croatia's talks with Russia on joining the project.
In an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on reshuffles in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Eurostat data on inflation in the euro zone (RIA-Novosti)
 
30.11.09
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (in a special supplement 'NG-Dipkurier') and Novaya Gazeta (an article by former EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten) report on the appointments of Herman Van Rompuy as the EU's first president and Lady Ashton as EU's foreign police chief.
Izvestia reports on the announcement by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso of the portfolios for the next European Commission in an article by Vasily Voropayev.
In an article by Zurab Nalbandyan, Vremya novostei reports on the same issue and mentions allegations that EU's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton had received funds from the Soviet Union when she was treasurer for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980s.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU Names New Energy Commissioner (Bloomberg), which reports on the nomination by Germany of Günther Oettinger as EU Energy Commissioner.
Izvestia publishes an article by Alexandra Ponomaryova which compares inflation rates in Russia and the EU.
Kommersant reports on Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi's visit to Belarus in an article by Pavel Belov.
Izvestia cites Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's statement on relations with the EU in an interview with La Stampa.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Svetlana Gamova which addresses EU relations with Moldova.
In an article by Sergey Zhiltsov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') addresses the EU's role in the Black Sea region.
Gazeta runs an article by Oksana Gavshina which reports on developments between the European Commission and E.ON over an anti-trust case against E.ON.
Prepared by the Press and Information and Economic Sections for the Head of Delegation
The press review is also published on the Intranet:
 
 
26.11.09
Kommersant, in an article by Pavel Tarasenko, cites Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who did no rule out Russia's participation in some projects in the framework of the EU's Eastern Partnership Programme. The statement was made after talks between Lavrov and his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Martynov.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Olga Tomashevskaya, addresses Belarus'relations with Russia and the EU.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes a front-page article, entitled Problems.Net, by Vladislav Kulikov, which reports on an EU-funded project in Russia on the provision of access to Interpol's electronic police communications systems.
In an article by Tatyana Smolyakova, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Russia's measures to implement a readmission agreement with the European Union.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vedomosti report on candidates for a new European Commission team.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Europe's Vision-Free Leadership, by chancellor of the University of Oxford and former EU Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten, which comments on the appointment of Herman Van Rompuy as president of the EUs Council and of Catherine Ashton as the EU's foreign policy chief. The author also addresses EU's relations with Russia and expresses the view that dealing with Russia has probably been the biggest failure in the attempt to make European foreign policy.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Alexander Mineyev which reports on the return to power of Yves Leterme, named as Belgium's new PM to replace Herman Van Rompuy who was appointed as the EU's first president last week.
 
Weekly review of articles 24 November 2009
Enclosed is a summary of Russian media reports on the appointment of Belgian PM Van Rompuy as EU’s first president and Trade Commissioner Ashton as foreign minister.
The Russian press provided a broad coverage of the choices by EU leaders on 19 November of Belgian PM Herman Van Rompuy as the EU’s first president and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton as the bloc’s foreign minister. Some commentators note that while the candidacy of Van Rompuy, a conciliator who stopped Belgium’s breakup, was on the list of likely candidates, the appointment of Catherine Ashton as the EU’s foreign minister could be viewed as “completely unexpected” (Rossiyskaya Gazeta) and surprise, including for Ashton herself. Some experts say that the choices indicate a weakness of the Union (Izvestia). Observers raise the question of to what extent the EU leaders’ choices were justified as the low-profile Belgian PM and a British trade official, whose names are almost unknown in Europe and beyond, and not charismatic politicians, received the key posts in the EU, and why the choice was made in favour of a chairman rather than a high-profile figure. A Brussels-based expert told Gazeta that relations between the EU and the US and China will be defined not by Baroness Ashton, but by the heads of the bloc’s leading countries. In the view of some observers, the country which will benefit the most from the appointments is Germany. Political scientists believe that Van Rompuy will listen to the opinions of Germany, France and the UK.
Analysts drew attention to the possible impact of the appointments on the further development of EU-Russia relations. Both President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that the appointments would help develop further cooperation between Moscow and Brussels. Lavrov recalled that Baroness Ashton, who has been until now Trade Commissioner, has always tried to listen to Russia’s position and to take it into consideration. Meanwhile, Russian envoy to the European Communities Vladimir Chizhov voiced cautious optimism over the future development of Russia’s relations with the EU after the Lisbon Treaty comes into force on 1 December. The Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Fernando Valenzuela is quoted as saying that the EU reforms will make the bloc a “more interesting and reliable partner”. But some observers stressed that it will be harder for Moscow to “exploit divisions within the EU”.
Some commentators suggest that power structures in the EU will now be stronger, and talks between Russia and the EU’s centralized leadership should be easier as Russia will deal with a single EU president. In the view of a Russian commentator, cited by RIA-Novosti, Ashton’s appointment could be considered as a “pleasant surprise” for Russia. Prominent political scientist Sergey Karaganov told RIA-Novosti that “the people elected to the two new posts in the EU lack any leadership experience”, adding that he expects the EU “to continue drifting in international politics”. In the view of another Russian analyst, in a short-term perspective, “little if anything” will change in the relationship between the EU and Russia. Van Rompuy’s appointment will hardly change the character of relations between Russia and Europe, said expert Alexei Makarkin.
 
23.11.09
All Russian newspapers publish articles on the election of the new President and chief diplomat of the European Union:
Vedomosty prints an article called Turkey is not part of Europe, quoting Van Rompuy.
Novaya Gazeta Runs an article called Lady and gentleman.
The Moscow Times publishes a story Top EU posts go to low-profile leaders.
Izvestia daily prints a story called A poet and baroness will head Europe.
Vremya Novostei runs a story called Modest face of Europe.
Gazeta daily publishes an article called European Union gets new President
Nezavisimaya Gazeta prints an article Dull but insistent economists head EU
Kommersant daily on 21 November runs an article Equation with two unknown.
 
Brussels, 18 November 2009
European Neighbourhood Policy in action: launch of cross-border co-operation programmes with Russia
 
At the EU-Russia Summit today Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the Russian Minister for Regional Development, Viktor Basargin, signed the Financing Agreements for five cross-border co-operation programmes (CBC). These financing agreements are central to the implementation of cooperation programmes between the border regions of the European Union and Russia. The programmes have a total budget of approximately €437 million until 2013, and are funded by different sources: European Commission (€267 mio), Member States (€67 mio) and the Russian Federation (€103 mio). The co-financing by the Russian Federation confirms the spirit of partnership at the core of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).
The CBC programmes with Russia will allow the regions on both sides of the border to intensify co-operation in the areas of common interest that have been jointly identified., Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner declared. She added The border regions will jointly promote economic and social development, address common environmental challenges and ensure efficient and secure borders. Direct people-to-people contact is an essential element of these programmes, so joint actions in areas as education, culture, civil society are a central component. I am convinced that the CBC programmes will bring tangible benefits to people in the regions on both sides of the EU border.
There is a wide array of issues that can be addressed in Cross-Border-Cooperation programmes – examples include promotion of small and medium enterprises, business and trade, transport, technology, research, and tourism. The regions will address common challenges in the areas of environment, nature protection and renewable energy, culture or protection of historical heritage.
The innovative character of this kind of cooperation lies in its balanced partnership: for the first time partner countries and EU member states apply a single set of implementing rules, share one single budget and take decisions together within a common management structure. Common needs are identified by local partners on both sides of the border for activities that are most relevant to their local situation, creating an approach from the bottom and according to real needs.
The programmes involving Russia are:
Kolarctic-Russia (Sweden Finland, Norway, Russia) – €70.48 mio
Karelia-Russia (Finland, Russia) – €46.40 mio
South East Finland-Russia (Finland, Russia) – €72.36 mio
Estonia-Latvia-Russia – €73.08 mio
Lithuania-Poland-Russia (the Kaliningrad programme) – €176.13 mio
For additional information on ENPI CBC in general:
On the five programmes involving Russia:
 
Brussels, 17 November 2009
EU-Russia Summit on 18 November in Stockholm
The response to the financial and economic crisis as well as climate change will be the central themes for discussion at the EU-Russia Summit on 18 November in Stockholm. Just weeks before the Copenhagen conference on climate change, leaders will explore how to best coordinate their actions in order to achieve an ambitious and comprehensive global deal. Energy security figures high on the agenda - at the Summit the leaders will endorse an enhanced Early Warning Mechanism. The Summit will address international foreign policy issues like Afghanistan/Pakistan, non-proliferation, Iran, the Corfu Process and frozen conflicts in the Common Neighbourhood as well as bilateral issues including the state of play in the negotiations on a New Agreement between the EU and Russia. A meeting of the Industrialists' Round Table will take place immediately after the Summit. The European Commission's delegation is led by President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, accompanied by Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Commissioner for Trade, Baroness Catherine Ashton.
On the eve of the Summit, President José Manuel Barroso noted: There are many issues on the global agenda today that neither EU nor Russia can address alone - such as climate change, and the financial and economic crisis. So, we have a joint responsibility to coordinate our efforts to revive the global economy, implement the decisions of the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh and finally to achieve an ambitious and comprehensive global deal at the Copenhagen Conference in December.
The plenary session is likely to focus on climate change and responses to the global financial and economic crisis as well as EU-Russia bilateral co-operation under the common spaces. As Russia's most important trading partner, the EU continues to strongly support Russia's accession to the WTO, and will be looking for further clarification by the Russian side concerning the next steps in the ongoing accession process. Another important issue to be discussed are the conditions concerning bilateral trade from 1 January 2010 under the new Common External Tariff system of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Energy is at the centre of the economic and trading relations between the EU and Russia. At the Summit, the leaders will welcome the agreement signed between Commissioner Piebalgs and Russian Energy Minister Shmatko on an enhanced Early Warning Mechanism - a working arrangement which contains practical arrangements between the EU and Russia to prevent or rapidly react to an emergency situation threatening energy supplies to the EU.
The Summit is also expected to take stock of progress in the New Agreement negotiations. From the outset of the negotiations, leaders have agreed that the New Agreement should not only reflect the development of EU-Russia relations over the past 15 years, but also provide a strong legal basis for a substantial enhancement of EU-Russia relations in the future. It will also confirm the common commitments to respect for human rights and democracy that the EU and Russia have entered into at the UN, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
Leaders will also discuss a number of international issues, including Afghanistan/Pakistan, non-proliferation, Iran, the Corfu Process as well as the situation in the Southern Caucasus and the Western Balkans.
More information:
 
12.11.09
Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on candidates for the posts of EU Council President and Foreign Minister and a special summit of EU leaders on 19 November. Observers view Belgian PM Herman Van Rompuy as the favourite to become the first EU President.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Viktor Prusakov which reports on the nomination by the Czech Cabinet of Minister for European Affairs Stefan Fule as the Czech Republic's candidate for EU Commissioner.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with President of the Baltic Assembly Mantas Adomenas which addresses last year's war in South Ossetia, work of EU monitors in Georgia, the EU's Eastern Partnership programme and other issues.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, reports on Bundestag discussions of the goals of Angela Merkel's Cabinet, including in foreign policy.
In an article by Vyacheslav Prokofyev, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Paris to mark World War I Armistice Day and addresses German-French interaction.
Izvestia reports briefly that the EU plans to annul Schengen visas for Serbia, Montenegro and FYROM as of 19 December.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on criticism expressed by software firm Oracle towards the European Commission after the Commission objected to Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
3.11.09
Vremya novostei runs an article by Viktor Prusakov which reports on developments around the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the Czech Republic.
In an article by Maxim Konovalov, Kommersant cites recent critical statements by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko towards the EU. He stressed inter alia that Minsk is not going to sacrifice cooperation with Russia in favour of cooperation with the EU.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Gazprom’s and Eni’s backing for EDF’s plans to join the South Stream gas pipeline project (Reuters).
Vremya novostei reports briefly that German company RWE is not considering Iran’s participation in the Nabucco gas pipeline project (RIA-Novosti).
RBK daily publishes an article by Tatiana Glazkova and Natalia Starostina which addresses new EU rules for banks.
 
2.11.09
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby which addresses the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, developments around Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the situation in Georgia.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Novaya Gazeta, RBK daily and Vremya novostei report on the EU leaders’ agreement to give the Czech Republic an opt-out clause. The move could pave the way for the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview, given by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas to Interfax, which addresses both bilateral relations and the relationship between the EU and Russia.
In an article by Natalia Grib, Kommersant reports on the first session in Minsk of the Energy Club, organised by the European Commission, to discuss energy security and energy cooperation between the EU and Russia.
In a special supplement, called ‘NG-Dipkurier’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by expert Nikolai Kaveshnikov which addresses latest developments around the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a discussion of the Opel deal by EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes with German Economics Minister Rainer Bruderle (RIA-NovostI).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the euro zone’s unemployment rate at 9.7% in September (Interfax).
Izvestia, The Moscow Times (Reuters) and Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) address the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Izvestia and MT report on a ceremony on Saturday in Berlin to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall with the participation of George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl.
 
Weekly review 26 October – 3 November 2009
PM Putin warns EU of possible problems with Ukraine’s gas payments
Last obstacle for Lisbon Treaty final ratification lifted as EU leaders agree to give the Czech Republic an opt-out clause
Expert says Miliband strengthens his position as a potential candidate for EU foreign affairs chief
The press speaks of a growing threat of a new gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine, commenting on PM Vladimir Putin’s warning to the EU of problems with Ukraine’s gas payments. The first statement in this regard was made by the Russian PM at a meeting with United Russia party leaders on 30 October. Later, Putin informed in separate telephone conversations Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt and Chancellor Angela Merkel that Ukraine might have problems with paying for Russian gas, and called again on the EU to help Ukraine pay for Russian gas supplies following talks with Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Moscow. Observers view Putin’s statements in the context of the Ukrainian Presidential election campaign and even interpret them as an expression of his support for Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko. At the same time, some commentators express say that the main motive was to “exert pressure” on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and to call on EU countries for “preventive measures”. Putin blamed the EU side for “idleness”, as Vedomosti writes, and failure to provide funding to Ukraine. Commenting on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s demand that the Ukrainian Government review gas contracts with Russia, Kommersant argues that Gazprom has now “all grounds to undertake tough measures against Kiev”, but adds that the stoppage of gas shipments to Ukraine in the run-up to the EU-Russia summit, set to be held in Stockholm on 18 November, could provoke an international scandal and raise the rating of Mr Yushchenko. Russian energy expert Mikhail Krutikhin, contacted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, called a threat of a “new gas war” between Moscow and Kiev real, and did not exclude two factors: Yushchenko might break off a payment for Russian gas with a view to undermine the positions of his main rivals in the Presidential election, or Gazprom could “trigger a crisis so as to prove the need of a speedy construction of gas pipelines, bypassing Ukraine, in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea”. However, Ukrainian political scientist Vadim Karasev, cited by Kommersant, says “Russia’s behaviour” will warm up European Commission plans for alternative routes of energy supplies and could “put into question Russia’s pipeline strategy”.
Another issue that received broad media coverage was the EU summit in Brussels and the EU leaders’ agreement to give the Czech Republic an opt-out clause from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The move has removed the last obstacle for the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and signals that the European integration process will go on. The EU has thus avoided an institutional crisis, although in the run-up to the summit observers warned of a possibility of an “institutional chaos”. After the Czech Constitutional Court rules on the compliance of the Treaty with the country’s Constitution, most likely today, Czech President Vaclav Klaus is expected to sign the document. At a press conference following talks with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on 2 November in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that Moscow is interested in the “soonest completion of EU procedures necessary for enacting the Lisbon Treaty” and expressed hope that the treaty will “boost Russian-EU negotiations on a new agreement”. It is to be mentioned that commenting on Miliband’s visit to Moscow, Russian expert Alexei Gromyko told RBK daily that the visit helped Miliband “strengthen his positions as a potential candidate for the post of EU Foreign Affairs Minister”, despite the fact that Miliband denied that he was a candidate. Gromyko elaborated that it was important for the British Foreign Secretary to demonstrate that “although the Russian British relations are not the best, Moscow is ready to conduct dialogue with him personally”.
 
28.10.09
Gazeta (Daily Telegraph's article) Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei publish articles which address the forthcoming EU summit and the Lisbon Treaty. Commentators assess chances of former British PM Tony Blair and Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende to become EU President. The media also highlights the Czech Constitutional Court's decision to delay a ruling on the compliance of the Lisbon Treaty with the country's Constitution until the beginning of November.
Kommersant publishes an article by member of the Federation Council Mikhail Margelov on the institutional changes in the EU envisioned by the Lisbon Treaty.
In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Novaya Gazeta reports on the EU's Baltic Sea Strategy.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Zurab Nalbandyan which reports on the planned visit next week to Russia of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and cites Miliband's statements on relations between the EU and Russia.
Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies report on the adoption on Tuesday by the Estonian Parliament of a statement expressing concern over the possible environmental impact of the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
Kommersant publishes an article by Maxim Konovalov which reports on the split between Belarusian opposition leaders and addresses Alexander Milinkevich's position on the relationship between the EU and Belarus.
Izvestia reports on a new ruling coalition in Germany in an article by Igor Yavlyanski.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the European Commission has offered Bulgaria an additional 300 million euro to help it shut down the Kozloduy nuclear power plant (RIA-Novosti).
 
20.10.09
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta reports on Russian oil supplies to Europe via Ukraine in an article by Alexei Baliyev.
In an article by Oksana Gavshina, Gazeta reports on cooperation between Gazprom and Nigerian energy company Oando in the context of gas supplies to Europe. The author expresses the view that Gazprom's cooperation with African companies would strengthen the positions of Russia's gas monopoly in Europe.
The Moscow Times (Bloomberg) and Vremya novostei (Interfax, RIA-Novosti) report on the EU's position on the Opel deal.
Gazeta publishes a Daily Telegraph article on tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and mentions the visit today to Sarajevo of US and EU officials, including Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
Expert weekly magazine reports briefly that Croatia and Iceland could become EU Member States by 2012.
Gazeta runs an article by Polina Khimshiashvili which addresses a forum in London to discuss climate change ahead of a conference in Copenhagen and cites British PM Gordon Brown on environmental problems in Europe.
In an article by Alexander Koksharov, Expert reports about the British election in 2010 and comments on the Conservative Party's position on a number of foreign policy issues, including relations with the US and the Lisbon Treaty.
Vremya novostei reports on the visit to Eastern European countries of US Vice-President Joe Biden in an article by Valery Masterov.
Izvestia publishes an interview with former Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski which addresses, among other issues, European security and the US missile defence plans.
 
NEW BORDER CROSSING POINT officially opens today at Chernyshevskoye, kaliningrad oblast
 
Today, 20 October 2009, a new border crossing at Chernyshevskoye, Kaliningrad Oblast officially opens at the Russian-Lithuanian border. The EU contributed eight million euro to this project, which covered construction of buildings, site roads, parking lots and service infrastructure for the new crossing.
The main objective of creating a new border crossing has been to improve traffic flow capacity on the Pan-European Crete Corridor IX Branch B between Kaliningrad and Lithuania, as well as road connection between the Kaliningrad Oblast and the main part of the Russian Federation. The construction has been carried out by Budimex SA (Poland) in close co-operation with the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation.
The new international border crossing at Chernyshevskoye will have the capacity of catering a 1500 vehicle traffic flow (1150 cars, 50 buses and 350 trucks) per day. The corresponding crossing on the Lithuanian side is Kybartai.
Creation of the new border crossing point contributes to improving the security of the external border of both the enlarged EU and Russia, reducing crime, as well as speeding up the traffic flows and expanding trade between the EU and the Russian Federation. The EU's investment into the infrastructure of the new crossing is complemented by the introduction by Russia of modern control procedures and organising training on these procedures for customs staff and border guards, in order to strengthen the administrative capacity and improve efficiency of the customs services.
The official opening ceremony will be attended by the representatives of the Federal Customs Service, Federal agency for the development of the state border facilities (Rosgranitsa), Delegation of the European Commission to Russia, and Ove Arup & Partners Ltd. (UK), work supervisor.
 
Russia-EU strategic partnership agreement talks are constructive – Lavrov
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Russia-EU negotiations on a new strategic partnership agreement are constructive, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments on the latest meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council.
The process is constructive. Six rounds of the negotiations have been held. The sides are working on precise wordings. We agreed to encourage the search for compromises based on the balance of interests, he said.
 
EU should join guaranteeing gas supply via Ukraine – Lavrov
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - The European Union should join guaranteeing uninterrupted energy supplies to Europe via Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Monday press conference in Brussels.
I hope we will learn our lesson from last year's problems [the gas crisis] and do everything to prevent similar problems in the beginning of next year. Ukrainian partners have made the assurances, but we think it important for the EU to join guaranteeing uninterrupted supplies, he said.
As for Russia, it guarantees the fulfillment of gas delivery commitments to Europe on all tracks, the same as we have done before, Lavrov said.
Transit problems must be resolved with transit countries. We are ready to help seek solutions, he said.
The gas purchased by European and other consumers will be supplied in full. It is necessary though to ensure the transit, Lavrov said.
Early this year Russia and Europe developed an interesting mechanism of sending European observers to the Russian-Ukrainian border and the Ukrainian border with East European countries, Lavrov said. This is another way to ensure uninterrupted supplies, together with other mechanisms, he said.
Russia suggested developing an early notification mechanism with the participation of transit states, the minister added.
 
Russia, EU may agree on early warning for energy issues at November summit
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - An agreement on early warning for energy issues may be signed at the Russia-EU Stockholm summit in November, EU External Relations and Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told a Monday press conference in Brussels, following a meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council.
She said they were expecting the signing of several documents, among them the early warning document.
That mechanism will consist of three elements: notification, consultations and implementation, Ferrero-Waldner said.
In her opinion, it was quite possible to sign the deal.
Russia and the European Union intensified related consultations after the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis of last winter.
 
Europe should take part in missile threat evaluation – Lavrov
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Europe should take part in the missile threat evaluation together with Russia and the United States, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Monday press conference in Brussels, following a meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council.
We actively support the involvement of European countries in the missile threat evaluation together with Russia and the United States, as this is a matter of European security, he said.
In his opinion, there is no direct link between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's initiative of a European security treaty and U.S. President Barack Obama's decision not to deploy missile defense sites in Europe.
I think there is no direct link between change of the U.S. administration's missile defense plan and President Medvedev's initiative of a Euro-Atlantic security treaty, the minister said.
The treaty initiative was made while the former American administration led by President George W. Bush approved the missile defense plan for Eastern Europe, he noted. In fact, such plans do not make less topical the new architecture of Euro-Atlantic security, which would prevent the provision of national security at the expense of other states, he said.
The Russian initiative is being discussed on all levels, including the Russia-NATO format, Lavrov said.
We develop rather diverse interaction with the European Union on external security and we think it right to discuss the issue with European partners, he said.
Russia is holding an active dialog with American partners in order to learn details of their new plans and their possible influence on the joint evaluation of missile threats suggested by Presidents Medvedev and Obama at the Moscow summit this June, he said.
 
Russia does its best to support ISAF in Afghanistan – Lavrov
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Russia wishes success to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and provides broad support to the coalition, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Monday press conference in Brussels after a meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council.
We do not want a failure of the ISAF. We try to assist in every way we can, he said.
A failure of the international forces in Afghanistan would seriously exacerbate the problem of international terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime for Central Asia and Russia, Lavrov said.
Hence, we do our best to support the ISAF fulfillment of the UN Security Council mandate, he said.
 
Russia wishes to set precise date of abolition of visa formalities with EU
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Russia and the European Union should set a new date for canceling visa formalities, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Monday press conference in Brussels.
Strategically, it is important to clearly define the goal of the annulment of the visa regime between Russia and the European Union, he said.
The decision to progress towards visa-free traveling was made at the Russia-EU St. Petersburg summit in 2003, and then European Commission President Romano Prodi said that could be done in 2008. We would like to set a new date now, Lavrov said.
European External Relations and European Neighborhood Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said she did not think it was possible to set a deadline. EU representatives always said that visa-less trips were a matter of long prospect, she noted.
Russia and the European Union reduced certain visa formalities, Lavrov said. Some time ago Russia suggested amending the agreement and enlarging the number of citizens that could cross the border without visa or receive multi-entry visas for five years, he noted. The European Union is considering the proposals, he said.
We understand that a number of problems must be resolved for canceling visa formalities. In our opinion, these are legal or technical problems, which can be coordinated between professionals, he said.
 
Russia-EU partnership modify with Lisbon Treaty approval – Lavrov
 
BRUSSELS. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Russia wants to prepare for a possible change of partnership mechanisms with the European Union after the Lisbon Treaty enters into force, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Monday press conference in Brussels, after a meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council.
We know that consequences of the Lisbon Treaty will be discussed at the Swedish-chaired EU in the end of October, he said.
The Russia-EU Stockholm summit on November 18 will also make the initial analysis of possible modification of our partnership mechanisms, he said.
Probably, the modification won't be large, but certain changes will take place, and we want to be prepared, Lavrov said.
Weekly review of 5-12 October 2009
Poland’s Lech Kaczynski signs Lisbon Treaty, Czech President remains staunch opponent of the Treaty
Nord Stream faces new obstacle?
The press continues to report on the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty and comments on possible candidates for the key posts of the EU’s President and foreign policy chief. After Irish voters backed the Lisbon Treaty at a second referendum of 2 October and Polish President Lech Kaczynski signed the document on 10 October, Czech President Vaclav Klaus still obstructs the Lisbon Treaty ratification. Klaus notably demanded an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, citing fears that the charter provisions could cause property claims by the Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after WWII. Kommersant and Vedomosti also mention as another obstacle a request by a group of Czech senators to the country’s Constitutional Court to check the compliance of the Lisbon Treaty with national sovereignty. Commenting on reactions in the EU toward the Czech Euro-sceptics’ obstruction of the Treaty, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vedomosti mention inter alia that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to exclude the Czech Republic from the EU. It is to be mentioned that Klaus is scheduled to visit Moscow on 14 October. Parlamentskaya Gazeta calls him “a pragmatic Czech politician”.
Some commentators say that if the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is not completed by the date of Parliamentary elections in Britain next year, prospects for reforming the EU could again be put under question. The media (Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vedomosti) writes that the British Conservative Party has good chances of winning the 2010 general election, and reminds that many of its members are against the Lisbon Treaty and call for a referendum on the document.
Dailies (RBK daily and Vedomosti) comment on the possible impact of a 5% limit on profitability for gas-pipeline operators, recently established in Germany, on the implementation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project. Vedomosti writes that Germany is changing its legislation in line with the EU’s third energy package. Some experts speak of a new obstacle to the Russia-backed project. RBK daily says that during their talks in Buenos Aires, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Gasunie President Marcel Kramer expressed concern over the new German law. Gazprom said that might delay the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline. Such a limit, as experts say, will benefit the end users of Russian gas in Germany, but will make investment in Nord Stream and its branches in Germany for further transportation of Russian gas less attractive. Nord Stream’s estimated cost is €7.4bn, 70% of which should be borrowed from commercial banks.
 
12.10.09
Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on the signing by Polish President Lech Kaczynski of the Lisbon Treaty, and note that Czech President Vaclav Klaus remains the only Euro-sceptic in the EU.
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine reports on the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in an article by Nikolai Zubov.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled 10 Years of EU Security, by EU HR Javier Solana, which addresses the European Security and Defence Policy and the EU's role in the world.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by economist Mikhail Delyagin which comments on the European integration process, EU-Russian relations and the global economic and financial crisis.
Novaya Gazeta runs an article by Yulia Latynina which comments on the recent report by the EU-sponsored investigation team on the causes of the August 2008 war in South Ossetia.
In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Adel Kalinichenko and Alexei Andreyev, Novye Izvestia mentions discussions by EU Agriculture Ministers of the EU milk crisis.
Gazeta reports on Gazprom's plans to sign a contract with Poland on additional gas supplies.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Iran's readiness to fill half the capacity of the EU-backed Nabucco gas pipeline (Interfax, RIA-Novosti).
Vremya novostei, in an article by Yury Shpakov, reports on the process of forming the new German Government.
 
9.10.09
Vremya novostei reports on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by EU Member States in an article by Boris Argunovsky. Gazeta, in an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, does not exclude that Polish President Lech Kaczynski may sign the Lisbon Treaty in the coming days.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta runs an article by Vladimir Silkin which reports about the upcoming visit to Moscow of Czech President Vaclav Klaus and comments on Russia's relations with Eastern European countries.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on a meeting between Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt and EU HR Javier Solana.
In an article by Yelena Mazneva and Kirill Khripunov, Vedomosti reports on Gazprom's gas supplies to Europe. Vremya novostei reports briefly on the same issue (Interfax).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Anton Khodasevich which reports on developments between the EU and Belarus.
In an article by Yelena Pushkarskaya, Kommersant reports on the Italian Constitutional Court's decision on a law that granted PM Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution.
Kommersant, in an article by Konstantin Ganin, reports on Latvian PM Valdis Dombrovskis' report on national security.
 
7.10.09
Novaya Gazeta reports on Ireland's referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in an article by Alexander Mineyev.
In an article by Olga Dmitriyeva, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on a letter sent by the British Conservative Party to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, supporting Klaus' continued refusal to finalise the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The author also comments on the candidacy of former PM Tony Blair for the post of the EU's President.
The Moscow Times publishes a commentary by Ekho Moskvy observer Yulia Latynina which comments on a report by the EU-sponsored investigating team on the causes of last year's war in South Ossetia.
Vremya novostei reports on Russian-Latvian relations against the background of serious economic problems in Latvia in an article by Daria Zhdanova.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta runs an article by Alexander Gasyuk which reports on an international conference on Sudan in Moscow with the participation of representatives of the UN, the US, the EU etc.
Izvestia publishes an interview with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic which addresses, among other issues, prospects for Serbia's accession to the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times (AP) report on President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Kazakhstan.
Vrermya novostei reports briefly on the formation of a new Greek Government (RIA-Novosti).
6.10.09
Vedomosti publishes an article by Natalia Portyakova which reports on possible candidates for the posts of the EU’s President and Foreign Minister.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband which addresses the climate change issue, including EU commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Expert weekly magazine publishes an article by Ivan Rubanov which addresses Russia’s energy relations with the EU and Gazprom’s expansionist plans in Europe.
Dailies report broadly on a victory in the 4 October Parliamentary elections of Greece’s main opposition party PASOK, led by George Papandreou: Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei.
Expert comments on a new coalition in Germany in an article by Sergey Sumlenny.
Gazeta publishes an interview with member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party Gert Weisskirchen which addresses, among other issues, Russian-German energy relations.
Expert publishes an interview with Riga mayor Nil Ushakov which addresses both developments in Latvia and bilateral relations with Russia.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Olga Dmitriyeva, reports on PM Gordon Brown’s agreement to take part in TV debates with his rivals at elections.
In an article by Alexei Shchukin, Expert reports on a concept of building passive houses in EU Member States as part of energy efficiency measures.
 
Weekly review of articles 28 September – 5 October 2009
EU expert mission’s report says Georgia started war in August 2008, but contains “unpleasant” conclusions for both sides
Moscow enthusiastic about the Lisbon Treaty-envisioned institutional reform
 
The press provides wide coverage of a report, issued on 30 September by the EU-sponsored independent investigating mission, which said that Georgia fired the first shots and launched an attack on South Ossetia in the August 2008 conflict. The report said Georgia’s attack had no justification under international law. At the same time, the report slammed Russia for “disproportionate response” to the Georgian attack, and rejected Moscow’s claims of a genocide by Georgia against the South Ossetian population. As Kommersant writes, both Moscow and Tbilisi were quick to declare that the report proves their version of events. The report, meanwhile, contains a number of conclusions which are “unpleasant” for both sides. RBK daily remarks that a press release issued by the Council of the European Union did not contain “any negative” notions about the Georgian side, but reiterates Brussels’ respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity.
In a commentary, the Russian Foreign Ministry described some of the report’s wordings as “ambiguous”, but added that “this cannot overshadow the main conclusion about Tbilisi’s responsibility for the aggression unleashed against South Ossetia and about Georgia’s utterly illegitimate actions”. Russian envoy to the European Communities Vladimir Chizhov emphasized that the report gave an “unequivocal answer” to the question of who started the war, while President Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said that the Kremlin welcomes the report’s conclusion that Georgia was the first to start hostilities. It is to be mentioned that Vedomosti cites Georgian officials who accused some members of the investigating mission of bias. Deputy speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Levan Vepkhvadze, is quoted as saying that there are no doubts that the head of the mission Heidi Tagliavini is objective, but adding that there was a German expert in the mission who said, before the mission’s work started, that Georgia was responsible for starting the conflict. Vedomosti cites Georgian Minister for Reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili claimed that two of the mission’s experts worked for organisations financed by Gazprom.
Although Kommersant and RBK daily say, with reference to unnamed EU officials, that the investigating mission’s report is not an EU report, some observers suggest that Brussels will definitely take into account the report’s findings in its policies toward Russia and Georgia. E.g. Kommersant writes that the report’s conclusions explicitly indicate that the EU will never back Russia’s actions during last year’s conflict and will not accept the recognition of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali. Vremya novostei, in turn, does not rule out that the rejection a day after by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of a Georgian initiative to deprive the Russian delegation to PACE of its voting right has become an indirect consequence of the presentation of the EU-commissioned report.
The results of a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on 2 October in Ireland received broad media coverage. After Irish voters backed the document, the ratification process is to be completed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Some observers are confident that the economic and financial crisis, which seriously hit the Irish economy, “convinced Irish citizens to transfer part of the country’s sovereignty to Brussels” (RBK daily). Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko has expressed hope that the Lisbon Treaty, “when it comes into force”, “will give an extra impetus” to the development of Russian-EU relations. Kommersant writes that as a result of a large-scale institutional reform under the Lisbon Treaty, the positions of Russia’s partners such as Germany and France will strengthen, while Moscow will have to deal with a much stronger European Union. However, Kommersant notes that with the Lisbon Treaty taking effect, “it will be more difficult for Russia to play on disagreements within the EU”.
 
29.09.09.
The press reports widely on the outcome of Sunday’s elections in Germany and comments on the future development of Russian-German relations. The following dailies have published articles on the issue: Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times, Trud, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei.
Kommersant, Novye Izvestia and Vremya novostei report on a victory of the Socialist Party, led by PM Jose Socrates, in Parliamentary elections in Portugal. The press, however, notes that the Socialist Party has lost an absolute majority in Parliament.
Expert weekly magazine addresses the G20 summit last week in Pittsburgh in an article by Alexander Koksharov. The author also comments on European Commission proposals on financial regulation in the EU.
Gazeta and Nezavisimaya Gazeta report on British Government plans to curb bankers’ bonuses and mentions EU proposals on cutting bankers’ bonuses.
In a special supplement, called ‘NG-Scenarios’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Vladimir Semyonov on the conference on climate change in Copenhagen and the EU’s role in fighting against climate change.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Spain’s request to the European Commission to look at the Opel deal (RIA-Novosti).
Vremya novostei cites ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet as saying that it would be « premature to declare the crisis over” (Bloomberg, Interfax).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on inflation rates in some EU Member States (Interfax).
 
28.09.09.
Dailies (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud and Vremya novostei) report on Sunday’s Parliamentary elections in Germany and a victory of a new coalition of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and Free Democrats.
Gazeta, in an article by Maxim Alekseyev, and RBK daily, in an article by Sergey Ispolatov, report on the new Moldovan Government’s priority of European integration.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Anton Khodasevich which addresses Belarus’ participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme and cites Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Valery Voronetsky as saying that the implementation of the Eastern Partnership projects could start in 2010.
In an article by Natalia Portyakova, Vedomosti reports on the 27 September elections in Germany and chances of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Gazeta, Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on the election of Bulgaria’s Ambassador to France and former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Irina Bokova as the new head of UNESCO.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report briefly on a European Commission statement on state aid to corporations and its intention to check the compliance of the Opel deal with the EU's internal-market rules.
 
24.09.09.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Nikolai Surkov which cites EU HR Javier Solana as saying that Russia and China would not object to imposing tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear enrichment programme.
In a special supplement, called ‘Finansovye Izvestia’, Izvestia reports on the meeting in Moscow between EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs and Russia’s Transport Minister Igor Levitin to discuss cooperation between the EU and Russia in the area of transport.
 
23.09.09.
RIA-Novosti news agency and The Moscow Times (AP) report with reference to the Swedish Government that the EU-Russia will be held on 18 November in Stockholm.
Kommersant publishes an article by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband which addresses the issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
In a special supplement ‘NG-Science’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Professor Sergey Gorshkov which addresses the Kyoto Protocol implementation and mentions EU commitments.
Vremya novostei reports on the election of former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Irina Bokova as the new Director-General of UNESCO.
Vremya novostei reports on the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Germany in an article by Yury Shpakov.
In an article by Pavel Tarasenko, RBK daily reports on the economic situation in Germany.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with member of the German Bundestag from the Christian Democratic Union Otto Bernhardt which addresses the German position on financial markets reforms in the run-up to the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on EU reforms of financial supervision (Interfax).
 
Brussels, 23 September 2009
EU Commissioner László Kovács concluded today his visit to Russia on customs cooperation
Commissioner László Kovács, responsible for Taxation and Customs, visited Moscow this week to meet with Russian authorities to discuss ways in which customs cooperation between the EU and Russia can be reinforced, in particular with a view to reduce border congestion.
On 21 September, Commissioner Kovács met separately with Igor Levitin, Minister of Transport, and with Andrei Belyaninov, Chairman of the Federal Customs Service, and discussed the implementation of the joint EU-Russia customs cooperation strategy, notably on how to reduce border congestion. Commissioner Kovács forcefully reaffirmed the Commission's strong commitment to the customs cooperation strategy and to find a sustainable solution to border congestion. In particular, were discussed: Russian reforms of customs legislation and procedures; a pilot project on exchanges of information and development of infrastructure and Russia's initiatives for the development of rail and sea transport.
On the same day Commissioner Kovács had a constructive meeting with representatives of the Association of European Businesses in Russia on their concerns on congestion at the border and other challenges they may face in their dealings with the Russian authorities.
Finally, Commissioner Kovács met today with Viktor Ivanov, Head of The Federal Drug Control Bureau, to launch negotiations on a drug precursors Agreement with Russia. They exchanged views regarding drug precursor matters and highlighted the benefits of a future cooperation under such a bilateral drug precursor agreement.
Background
Until recently, long queues of lorries formed regularly at crossing points on the EU-Russian border in Finland, Estonia and Latvia. The main reasons, besides the growth of EU-Russia trade, are the procedures and the infrastructure on the Russian side. This issue was raised for the first time by President Barroso at the EU-Russia Summit in November 2006. Both sides agreed that this problem required urgent attention: President Putin pledged to introduce administrative simplifications and reiterated the importance to Russia of information exchanges.
DG TAXUD has proposed a Community approach to this issue, which includes short, medium and long-term actions. The approach also addresses Russia's request for information exchanges.
This strategy was adopted at the meeting of the EU-Russia Customs Sub-Committee on 26 April 2007. It encompasses the following three priorities:
- Implementation by Russia of legislative, administrative and procedural measures to improve the situation at the border;
- Implementation of a pilot project on EU-Russia information exchanges;
- Implementing and developing border-crossing and customs infrastructure.
 
22.09.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Oleg Nikiforov which comments on Russia’s relations with the West.
In a special supplement, called ‘NG-Politics’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses the recent conference on global security in Yaroslavl with the participation of the Spanish and French PMs.
Expert weekly magazine reports on the Yaroslavl conference in an article by Pavel Bykov.
Gazeta reports on developments around Bulgaria’s participation in the Russia-backed energy projects in an article by Natalia Gaidash and Oksana Gavshina.
Gazeta publishes in Russian a Daily Telegraph article on the Lisbon Treaty ratification.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Alexander Mineyev and Sergey Lavinov which reports on discussions by EU Interior Ministers on the fight against illegal immigration.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on the trial of former French PM Dominique de Villepin who was accused of plotting to discredit the then Interior Minister and incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the German Governmment’s stance against a European single financial regulator (K2Kapital).
 
21.09.09.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso which is dedicated to the problem of climate change ahead of a conference in Copenhagen and calls for discussing the issue in New York and Pittsburgh.
Kommersant (Saturday’s issue) publishes an article by Alexander Gabuyev and Natalia Grib which cites a European Parliament resolution on energy policy. The resolution inter alia underlines the need of implementing projects that aim to lower dependence on Russian energy supplies.
Novaya Gazeta runs an article by Roman Shleinov which comments on some developments between Russia and Germany, focusing on the issue of Opel.
The Moscow Times publishes an editorial in The Wall Street Journal on the Opel deal in the context of Germany’s elections.
In an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) addresses the forthcoming elections to the German Bundestag.
Vedomosti, Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times (Reuters) report on discussions in Bulgaria by Energy Minister Shmatko of joint energy projects, including the South Stream gas pipeline and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, as well as the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria. (See also economic headlines)ю
Gazeta announces the visit to Moscow of EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union Laszlo Kovacs.
 
17.09.09.
Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the re-election of Jose Manuel Barroso as President of the European Commission.
Dailies (Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times (AP) and Vedomosti) report on the visit of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to Lithuania and cite his statements on relations with Russia and the European Union.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Valery Masterov, reports on discussions in the Polish Parliament of the 1939 Soviet invasion on Poland and the current state of Russian-Polish relations.
Vremya novostei reports on a meeting between President Nicolas Sarkozy and PM Gordon Brown in Paris at which they called for concrete action at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. EU leaders are due to meet on 17 September to discuss preparations for the G20 summit (Reuters, ITAR-TASS).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Sokhbet Mamedov which addresses an international gas conference in Baku to discuss the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
In an article by Oksana Gavshina, Gazeta reports on competition over for Caspian energy resources and prospects for the Nabucco pipeline.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on EdF’s possible participation in the South Stream gas pipeline project (Interfax, Bloomberg).
RBK daily publishes an article by Yulia Nazarova which assesses a possibility of a new gas crisis in Europe and refers to Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Richard Jones.
 
16.09.09.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Natalia Portyakova which reports on the planned vote today in the European Parliament on Jose Manuel Barroso’s candidacy for a second term as President of the European Commission.
The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports that the EU plans to draw up terms for talks on closer ties with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in November.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the issue of Bulgaria’s participation in the Russia-backed energy projects.
In an article by Anton Khodasevich, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the visit of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to Lithuania and EU-Belarus relations.
Novaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “The fourth partition of Poland”, by historian Natalia Lebedeva, which addresses the invasion of Poland by Soviet troops on 17 September 1939.
Gazeta publishes an article by Polina Khimshiashvili which reports on the victory of Norway’s ruling coalition of PM Jens Stoltenberg in Parliamentary elections and cites Stoltenberg’s statement on a possibility for Norway’s EU accession.
 
4.09.09
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Valery Masterov which reports on different assessments in Poland of PM Putin’s participation in Gdansk’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of WWII and his article for Gazeta Wyborcza.
In an article by Daria Zhdanova, Vremya novostei addresses the situation on the Russian-speaking population in Latvia.
Kommersant and Novye Izvestia report on developments in Greece and the early election that Greek PM Costas Karamanlis called for October.
Vremya novostei cites a statement by Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt on Sweden’s position on the Nord Stream gas pipeline (ITAR-TASS).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the resumption of gas supplies through the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline after the completion of repair works (Interfax).
Gazeta, in an article by Ksenia Leonova and Yevgeny Mazin, reports on a proposal by France and Germany to limit bankers’ bonuses.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a European Commission anti-trust investigation into the planned purchase by Oracle of Sun Microsystems (Interfax).
 
 
16.07.09
RBK daily (of 15 July) published an article by Yulia Nazarova which commented on EU plans to take additional measures to ensure the stability of gas supplies. It is proposed inter alia to build new LNG re-gasification terminals, underground gas storage facilities and additional pipelines.
In an article by Viktor Shankov, Novye Izvestia reports on the election of Jerzy Buzek as the European Parliament President.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by former Deputy General Secretary of the Energy Charter Secretariat, Andrey Konoplyannik, which addresses the Russian and the EU's positions toward the Energy Charter.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Azerbaijan's position on the Nabucco gas pipeline in an article by Sokhbet Mamedov.
RBK daily, in an article by Kirill Zubkov, reports on President Nicolas Sarkozy's statement that there will be no cuts in French military spending on high-tech weapons.
Gazeta runs an article by Yekaterina Sorokovaya which reports on the EU's blacklist of unsafe airlines. The author notes that almost all of Kazakhstan's airlines had been put on the blacklist, adding that only Astana Airlines can fly in the EU.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on an EU proposal of a visa-free regime
with Serbia, Montenegro and FYROM from the start of 2010 (RIA-Novosti).
In an article by Alexander Gasyuk, Rossiyskaya Gazeta addresses recent amendments to Lithuania's law on the protection of minors against the detrimental effect of public information and mentions the negative reaction to the amendments by some Members of the European Parliament.
 
13.07.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an editorial which addresses developments around the Lisbon Treaty.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on the economic and financial situation in Eastern European countries amid the global crisis and discussions by the IMF with at least 10 Eastern European Governments of aid programmes.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Olga Tomashevskaya, cites statements by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, including on Belarus’ participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly that Dutch Ambassador to Russia Jan-Paul Dirkse has completed his mission to Russia.
 
10.07.09
Vedomosti (Thursday’s issue) published an article by former British PM Tony Blair and founder of the project 'Breaking the Climate-Change Deadlock'. Blair explains a proposal that developed countries cut emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 by 2050. The article was published in connection with the G8 summit in Italy.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Daria Tsilyurik which reports on an announcement by Taoiseach Brian Cowen that the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is to be held in Ireland on 2 October 2009.
Kommersant publishes an article by Valentina Dyakonova which reports about the results of a contemporary art competition «European Atelier: sharing a cultural space», organised by the EU in Moscow on the occasion of the departure from Russia of the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco.
In an article by Valery Masterov, Vremya novostei reports on the candidacy of Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek to become President of the European Parliament.
Kommersant, in an article by Alexander Reutov, reports on the approval by Turkish President Abdullah Gul of a bill which prevents the prosecution of civilians in military courts in a view to meet EU criteria to limit the power of military courts.
 
9.07.09
Gazeta publishes an interview with the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco which addresses EU-Russia relations and internal developments in the EU. Franco also sums up the results of his work in Russia.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Vadim Smirnov which comments on the visa issue for Kaliningrad residents.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes a fragment of an interview by French Ambassador to Russia Jean de Gliniasty.
Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times report on Russian-German economic relations.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosahcyov which addresses developments in the post-Soviet space and mentions Russia’s and the West’s interests in the region.
In an article by Ksenia Batanova, Gazeta addresses the economic situation in the euro zone.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that euro zone Finance Ministers have disagreed over a single representation at the IMF (ITAR-TASS).
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article which reported that EU regulators have fined E.ON and GDF Suez €533 million each for an illegal cartel. Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report briefly on the same is
 
8.07.09
Ahead of the G8 summit in Italy, RBK daily publishes an article by Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso which focuses on the climate change issue.
Novaya Gazeta publishes an article by Roman Anin which comments on the Kyoto Protocol and mentions the EU’s commitments under the Protocol.
Kommersant, in an article by Galina Dudina, reports on the presidency of the next European Parliament.
Gazeta runs an article by Natalia Yeryomina which reports on EU proposals for bank capital requirements.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on EU proposals on banking regulation (Interfax, RIA-Novosti).
 
7.07.09
Vremya novostei cites European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as saying yesterday in Brussels that the EU is working to find a solution to help Ukraine meet its payment for Russian gas.
Kommersant, in an article by Andrey Odinets, reports on the postponement of a European Parliament vote on Barroso’s bid to become European Commission President for a second time.
Vremya novostei reports briefly about potential candidates for the European Commission President (RIA-Novosti).
Vremya novostei reports briefly that former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has been appointed as political communications consultant for the development of the Nabucco gas pipeline project (Interfax, RIA-Novosti).
Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia and Vremya novostei report on the outcome of the 5 July Parliamentary elections in Bulgaria.
In an article by Viktor Shankov, Novye Izvestia reports about the situation of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on European Commission proposals for Europe’s derivatives industry (Wall Street Journal, Interfax).
 
6.07.09-13.07.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an editorial which comments on the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme.
Kommersant, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei run articles which report on the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Novye Izvestia publishes an interview with Riga mayor Nil Ushakov which addresses, among other issues, Latvian-Russian relations.
Kommersant, in an article by Olga Beshlei and Yelena Fuks, reports on perspectives for Latvia joining the euro zone.
Kommersant (Saturday’s issue) and RBK daily report on latest developments between the EU and Belarus.
In an article by Mikhail Sergeyev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Poland’s interest in increasing the import of Russian gas and oil.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on E.ON’s plans to invest in renewable sources of energy. The publication mentions that the European Commission could fine E.ON for dividing up gas markets with Gaz de France.
 
29.06.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Tatiana Ivzhenko which reports on planned consultations in Brussels with the participation of officials from the Russian and Ukrainian Governments, Gazprom, Naftogaz Ukrainy, and experts from the IMF, the World Bank and other IFIs to discuss the issue of Russian gas supplies to the EU and financial aid to Ukraine to ensure stable gas supplies.
The Moscow Times carries an article, entitled Gas Spat Should Spur EU Energy Links, by Reuters columnist Paul Taylor, which comments on Russian gas supplies to the EU via Ukraine and frequent gas crises.
Kommersant publishes an article by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanni which addresses the European security issue.
The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports on a discussion by OSCE Foreign Ministers of Russia's proposal for a pan-European security pact.
In a special supplement, called 'NG-Dipkurier', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Nadezhda Arbatova which addresses the upcoming Swedish Presidency of the EU.
Kommersant (Saturday's issue) and RBK daily (Handelsblatt) report that former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has signed a contract with the Nabucco gas pipeline consortium for a political and PR consulting job.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU, Turkey Nearing a Nabucco Deal (Reuters), which reports on prospects for an agreement between the EU and Turkey on brining Turkey into the planned Nabucco project.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Turkmenistan's energy relations with the EU and the US in an article by Viktoria Panfilova.
In an article, entitled The EU instead of the WTO, by Lyudmila Romanova, Vedomosti mentions a statement by Belarus' First Deputy PM Vladimir Semashko that Minsk hopes to create a free trade zone with the EU. The Moscow Times (Reuters) mentions briefly Semashko's statement.
Kommersant (Saturday's issue), in an article by Alexander Voronov, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Sergey Merinov, report on the adoption by the EU of a visa code and comment on the impact of the new rules on Russian tourists.
Gazeta publishes an article by Aleksandra Koshkina which reports on approval by the European Commission of new rules for the registration of .eu domain names.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') reports on the September Parliamentary elections in Germany in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Valery Masterov, assesses chances of possible candidates at Poland's Presidential elections in 2010.
 
26.06.09
The Moscow Times (Reuters) publishes an article, entitled EU Blasted for 'Animal Farm' Approach, by Simon Shuster, which quotes the head of Gazprom's foreign department Stanislav Tsygankov as saying that Brussels was unfairly supporting the Nabucco pipeline while hindering Russian projects at every step. The author also refers to European Commission official, Marjeta Jager, who said she agreed on the importance of securing European demand for Russia's gas but did not mince words in defending Europe's position.
Vedomosti reports briefly on approval by the EU Environment Council of the third energy package.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on EU-Belarus relations in an article by Anton Khodasevich.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled Belarus between East and West, by Leonid Goryainov, which comments on Belarus' relations with Russia and the EU.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Duma member Andrey Klimov on the results of the European Parliament elections and EU-Russia relations.
Izvestia publishes an interview with leader of Austria's Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Strache which comments on developments in the EU and relations between the EU and Russia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Professor at New York University Joseph Weiler which addresses developments in the EU and European integration.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Alexander Yevdokushkin, reports on the chemical weapons destruction in Russia and mentions funding provided by the EU and its Member States.
In an article by Yury Subbotin, Parlamentskaya Gazeta addresses the situation in Kosovo and mentions financial aid by Western countries to Kosovo.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that Kazakhstan is unlikely to participate in the Nabucco gas pipeline project due to lack of sufficient gas resources (ITAR-TASS).
Vedomosti runs an article by Irina Malkova which reports on approval by the European Commission of the acquisition of Austria's Citco by Russia's Sibur.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the adoption by the EU of a visa code (RIA-Novosti).
 
 
24.06.09
In an article by Andrey Terekhov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the planned visit of PM Vladimir Putin to Poland in September and comments on prospects for resolving the 'Katyn case' in bilateral relations.
Novaya Gazeta publishes an article by political scientist Lilia Shevtsova which addresses Russia's relations with the West, including the EU.
Izvestia publishes an interview with political scientist and television commentator Alexei Pushkov which addresses, among other issues, the EU's Eastern Partnership programme.
Kommersant reports briefly on the 'Kiev Initiative' project, put forwards by Ukraine, Belarus and Poland in the framework of the Eastern Partnership programme.
In an interview with Vremya novostei, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov touches upon Russian-Belarus relations and answers a question on Belarus' relations with the EU.
Izvestia comments on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's games with Russia and the EU in an article by Anastasia Savinykh. The author mentions the recent visit to Minsk of EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta comments on Ferrero-Waldner's visit in an article by Anton Khodasevich.
Gazeta, in an article by Andrey Biryukov, reports on the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue meeting in Vienna.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Latvian and Russian Crises Are Worlds Apart, by Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which reports on the economic crisis in Russia and Latvia. The author mentions EU funds to Latvia to help the country deal with the financial crisis.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Anna Gordeyeva which reports on an EU project, Intradance, in the field of contemporary dance. The project will be carried out in Russia in 2009-2010.
 
 
By Radio Sweden and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, June 22
Sweden Says No Miracles During EU Presidency
Today Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and EU-Minister Cecilia Malmström presented Sweden's priorities during the upcoming presidency to members of the international press.
At the top of the Swedish programme is the financial crisis, the upcoming climate negotiations as well as several institutional issues. Many questions were posed from journalists of countries hoping to get to join the EU. According to Swedish news agency TT, Bildt believes their expectations are slightly too high.
Miracles are just not on our agenda, Bildt said to TT.
For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Presidency will entail conducting and hosting some 30 meetings in Sweden and more than 200 meetings around the world - in Brussels, New York, Geneva and in many other places.
Two summit meetings - chaired by the Prime Ministerwill be held in Stockholm during the Presidency: one between the EU and Russia and the other between the EU and Brazil. Five other summits are scheduled to take place in other countries under Sweden's EU leadership.
As EU Presidency country, Sweden will take on many important issues and challenges in the area of foreign and security policy as well as in development and trade.
This demands a great deal in terms of preparedness to deal with the unexpected, flexibility and the ability to coordinate EU action in crisis situations.
Informal meeting of foreign ministers on 4-5 September
In addition to the regular meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), EU foreign ministers meet once every six months at an informal meeting in the country holding the Presidency. This is sometimes called a 'Gymnich' as the first meeting was held at Gymnich Castle, north of Bonn, during the German Presidency in 1974.
During Sweden's Presidency, the 27 EU foreign ministers will meet in Stockholm on 4-5 September. The foreign ministers from the candidate countries - Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey - will attend the second day of the meeting.
 No decisions are taken at informal meetings. Instead, the purpose is to enable the foreign ministers to meet more informally to discuss current issues of common interest.
EU forum for aid and development issues meets in Stockholm
Sweden, as EU Presidency country, will host the European Development Days (EDD) jointly with the European Commission. The EDD, the annual EU event on aid and development
The EDD, the annual EU event on aid and development, will be held this year on 22-24 October at the Stockholm International Fairs in Älvsjö. With several thousand delegates, it will be the largest meeting under the Swedish Presidency.
Meetings with international organisations and non-EU Member States
Sweden will speak for the EU at a large number of 'third country meetings' in Brussels, New York, Stockholm and many other places. These meetings are held within the framework of the EU's external affairs and extensive cooperation with non-EU Member States.
This is a significant responsibility for Sweden during its six-month Presidency. Close to 250 meetings with non-EU Member States are expected to be held at different levels, from summit and ministerial level to senior official and expert level.
Seven summits are scheduled during the Swedish Presidency, two of which will be held in Sweden: EU-Russian and EU-Brazil.
The other planned summits are: EU-China, EU-India, EU-South Africa, EU-Ukraine and EU-USA. These will be held in the respective countries.
On 6-7 July some 150 NGOs, government representatives, international organisations and EU institutions will meet in Solna, near Stockholm, to discuss issues related to this year's theme, which is the rights of the child and combating violence against children. The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the European Commission will co-host the meeting.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Against this backdrop, the meeting will take a closer look at the rights of the child, more specifically at corporal punishment of children, EU Guidelines on the Rights of the Child and their application as regards violence against children, and the issue of violence against children in societies that are affected, or have been affected, by conflict.
 
18.06.09
Kommersant publishes an interview with Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin which comments on Russia's position on the extension of the UN mission to Georgia. Karasin also addresses the work of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, and activity of the EU-sponsored commission investigating the events of August 2008 in South Ossetia.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Alexei Grivach, reports on the EU summit on 18-19 June and comments on the visit yesterday to Ukraine of German and Polish Foreign Ministers, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Radoslaw Sikorski, to discuss, among other issues, Russian gas supplies to the EU via Ukraine.
Gazeta cites Steinmeier as saying that during talks in Ukraine, we were able to arrange for a team of experts to examine the current situation [with Ukraine's underground gas storage facilities] and how much gas is being stored.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled A bureaucratic choice, by Alexander Mineyev, which addresses the EU summit in Brussels and the upcoming election of the new President of the European Commission. The author cites criticism towards Jose Manuel Barroso voiced by French lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
Novye Izvestia reports on the same issue in an article by Sergey Lavinov.
Gazeta reports briefly that Denmark could permit the building of the Nord Stream gas pipeline by the end of 2009.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Sergey Kulikov which reports on latest developments around the Nabucco gas pipeline project and Turkey's position on the project.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the EBRD is ready to provide substantial financing for the Nabucco project (Interfax).
In an article by Vladimir Skosyrev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the EU agreement to take former detainees of Guantanamo Bay.
 
17.06.09
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Eastern Partnership Holds Key to Russia Ties, by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, which addresses the EU's Eastern Partnership programme in the context of relations between the post-Soviet countries and Russia and the EU and Russia. The article will be published in the summer issue of Europe's World.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Moscow Shows Who's Boss With WTO U-Turn, by editor of Russia in Global Affairs Fyodor Lukyanov, which comments on Moscow's decision to seek WTO accession through a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. The author also mentions EU policy towards Belarus and preparations of a new agreement between the EU and Russia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Tatiana Ivzhenko which cite the allegedly negative position of the EU on Ukraine's possible participation in a 'grain pool' with Russia and Kazakhstan.
Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times publish articles which cite Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko as saying yesterday in Luxembourg that Ukraine will seek credits in European banks to buy Russian gas for its underground storage facilities.
In a special supplement 'Oil and gas', Kommersant publishes an article by Natalia Grib which addresses EU-Russia energy dialogue and Russia's gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine.
Vedomosti reports briefly on an upcoming meeting of EU-OPEC energy dialogue, scheduled for 23 June in Vienna.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yelena Kukol on an EU-funded project on the modernization of the customs transit system in Russia.
In an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, Gazeta reports on the meeting between President Barack Obama and PM Silvio Berlusconi in Washington and mentions the EU agreement to take detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Pyotr Iskenderov which reports that the UN Secretary-General is expected to present to the UN Security Council today a report on Kosovo. The author also mentions the role of the EU and NATO in the region.
 
16.06.09
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta, in an article by Andrey Yerokhin, provides statistics by the International Energy Agency on the 35.3-% reduction of gas imports from Russia to the EU in the first quarter of 2009.
Kommersant runs an article by Oleg Sapozhkov which reports on the EU Energy Council in Luxembourg and agreement on a new directive on emergency oil stocks.
Expert weekly magazine publishes an article by Alexander Koksharov and Sergey Sumlenny which comments on gains made by right-wing parties and far-right parties in the European Parliament elections.
Gazeta publishes in Russian a Daily Telegraph article which reports on the issue of the European Commission's code of conduct and tighter ethics rules in the wake of Lord Mandelson's stay on Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska's yacht.
 
15.06.09
Novaya Gazeta publishes an interview with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier which addresses both bilateral relations and the relationship between the EU and Russia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Alexei Fenenko which comments on Steinmeier's visit to Russia last week and Russian-German relations in the context of Russia's relations with the EU.
Novye Izvestia runs an article by Sergey Putilov which reports on a meeting between EU HR Javier Solana and Hezbollah official Hussein Hajj Hassan on Saturday in Beirut.
Izvestia publishes an article by Dmitry Voskoboinikov which comments on the European Parliament elections.
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine reports on the results of the European Parliament elections.
In a special supplement 'NG-Dipkurier', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Alla Yazkova on EU policy in the Black Sea region.
In an article by Alexander Gasyuk, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the economic crisis in Latvia.
Gazeta reports briefly that capacity of the planned Nabucco gas pipeline could be increased.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on EU plans to create emergency oil reserves (RIA-Novosti).
 
Weekly review of articles 8-15 June 2009
Nord Stream faces new obstacles: German Defence Ministry wants pipeline’s route to be changed
EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region does not list Nord Stream among priority projects
Steinmeier proposes to include Russian-German dialogue in all-European context
 
Kommersant (10/06) reports that in addition to environmental concerns expressed by some littoral countries, the Nord Stream gas pipeline project now faces a new obstacle. According to the daily, several weeks ago, the German Defence Ministry sent a letter to the Bundestag’s defence committee demanding that the planned route of the pipeline be changed. The Bundeswehr notably expressed concerns that the pipeline could be laid not far from a sea testing ground near the Island of Rugen which is used by the Bundeswehr for naval exercises, the daily writes and adds that the German military had repeatedly voiced its dissatisfaction with the Nord Stream project. The daily reports on the issue in the context of upcoming Parliamentary elections in Germany, scheduled for 27 September, mentioning inter alia that the German Defence Ministry is headed by a representative of the Christian Democratic Union. In the meantime, observers describe the European Parliament elections in Germany as a ‘rehearsal’ of the Bundestag elections, and express the view that Chancellor Angela Merkel is unlikely to have problems with re-election: Merkel’s Christian Democrats took a lead in the European Parliament elections over the Social Democrats, whose chancellor candidate is GermanForeign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Vremya novostei (11/06), in turn, notes that the Nord Stream project is not mentioned by the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region among the priority projects. As the daily writes, the Strategy, which is expected to become one of the priorities of the Swedish Presidency of the EU, “does not bode well” for the Russia-backed project.
 
Addressing the visit on 10 June to Moscow of GermanForeign Minister Steinmeier, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (11/06) highlights discussions of the European security issue at his talks with Russian officials. The daily describes as “sensational” Steinmeier’s proposal to revive the CFE Treaty and include the tactical nuclear weapons, kept in Russia and Europe, in the disarmament process. Commenting on Steinmeier’s proposals, political analyst Alexei Fenenko (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 15/06) points to the fact that the top German diplomat has proposed to view new aspects of a Russian-German dialogue in a broader context. E.g. Steinmeier has suggested that controls over armaments be considered in the context of negotiations on tactical nuclear arms cuts and the revival of the CFE Treaty, the energy security issue should be considered through discussions of Moscow’s initiatives at the level of EU institutions, the establishment of a common security system via interaction with the new US administration etc. Mr Fenenko is alarmed by Steinmeier’s calls to include the Russian-German dialogue in the “all-European context”, saying that “small Eastern European countries”, and not Berlin, could set the tone in this context, while Germany “might be drawn into anti-Russian initiatives of Warsaw, Vilnius and Riga”.
 
 
10.06.09
Novaya Gazeta reports on the European Parliament elections in an article by Alexander Mineyev.
In an article by Ciara Cassani, Novye Izvestia cites PM Silvio Berlusconi's commentary on results of the European Parliament elections in Italy.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with French political scientist Zaki Laidi which comments on the European Parliament elections and the Parliament's role.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Vladimir Skosyrev, which reports about latest developments around PM Gordon Brown's Cabinet and support won by Brown from Labour Members of Parliament.
Novye Izvestia comments on the outcome of local elections in Latvia in an article by Vladimir Stroi.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses the economic situation in Latvia in an article by Sergey Kulikov.
Vedomosti cites briefly Gazprom executives who have stressed the need of building new pipelines to supply natural gas to Europe.
In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Novaya Gazeta mentions President Nicolas Sarkozy's position on Turkey's EU membership.
EU desire to diversify energy supply routes will not diminish Russia's role - German foreign minister
MOSCOW. June 10 (Interfax) - Diversification of the sources and routes of energy supplies to the European Union will not diminish Russia's role in this area, said German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Russia can be sure that the EU members will be the most important recipients of Russian gas and oil, but diversification has always been our policy. This should not be a surprise to Russia, Steinmeier said at the Central House of Scientists in Moscow on Wednesday.
Russia remains an extremely important supplier of energy to Germany and Europe on the whole. Therefore, it is necessary to do more to diversify of shipment routes. We need to think about the implementation of such projects as Nord Stream along with the ground routes. South Stream is also an important way for us, he said.
Germany would like also to receive energy from the Arab world, but this will not mean that Russia could lose its significance as a supplier, Steinmeier said.
German minister demands EU's constructive response to Russian energy initiatives
MOSCOW. June 10 (Interfax) - Europe should offer a positive reaction to Russian initiatives dealing with energy security, said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's federal vice-chancellor and foreign minister, in his lecture in Moscow on Wednesday.
In any case, I view [Russian] President [Dmitry] Medvedev's proposals as constructive. I am speaking about a proposed new system of energy supplies, Steinmeier said.
I know that there is still no common opinion [on this issue], but I want the European Union to respond to Mr. Medvedev's proposals openly and constructively, the German minister said.
My objective is to create a genuinely viable system of energy control in Europe in order to prevent any disputes, he said.
We will regard energy security as some sort of common asset that concerns both consumer-states, transit states and producers of energy resources, Steinmeier said.
We should work to resolve the issue of energy security more rapidly in order to prevent it from causing a split among us, the German official said.
No one has benefited from the energy crisis between Russia and Ukraine, he added.
German minister proposes reviving CFE Treaty, including tactical nuclear arms in disarmament process
MOSCOW. June 10 (Interfax) - Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's vice-chancellor and foreign minister, has proposed including the tactical nuclear weapons owned by Russia and Europe in the disarmament process and reviving the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.
Has the time not yet come to include sub-strategic and tactical nuclear arms in this disarmament process in order to finally dispose of the remnants of the Cold War kept in the territory of Russia and Europe? Steinmeier said in his lecture in Moscow on Wednesday.
Fresh impetus should be given to the weapons control process, the German minister said, adding that the CFE Treaty is a mosaic stone on which a great deal depends.
There is a need to make all the necessary efforts to reinforce this treaty, he added.
Everyone knows that tactical weapons are absolutely meaningless from a military standpoint, he said.
Addressing the need to bolster control over weapons, Steinmeier said that it is dangerous not to take these issues into consideration.
Reinforcing the CFE Treaty will require a contribution from everyone who is working on this matter, the minister said.
We need Russia and we need the United States in order to be able to move forward in this direction, he said.
Disarmament issues should begin dominating the agenda at the international level this year, Steinmeier said.
[U.S.] President [Barack] Obama and [Russian] President [Dmitry] Medvedev have agreed to conclude a new agreement to replace the START I treaty, which expires in December 2009. This marks an important step along this difficult path toward a world free of nuclear weapons, he added.
Germany's Steinmeier says will discuss human rights with Russian leaders
MOSCOW. June 10 (Interfax) - German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minster Frank-Walter Steinmeier intends to discuss human rights with the Russian leadership in Moscow on Wednesday.
Asked at the Central House of Scientists in Moscow whether the issue of human rights will be raised in his upcoming meetings, Steinmeier said, They will, definitely.
The German foreign minister said he raises the issues of civil and human rights whenever he comes to Russia.
Noting that Russia has achieved certain progress on its human rights record, Steinmeier said, this spectrum still remains in the shadows in Russia.
I do not see President Medvedev communicating with the press. But at the same time, I have been observing definite curbs imposed on the work of nongovernmental organizations, he said.
German minister urges Russia to use chance to reset relations with U.S.
MOSCOW. June 10 (Interfax) - The authorities in Berlin call on Russia to accept the outstretched hand of U.S. President Barack Obama.
President Obama's advent to power offers a real chance for new cooperation between the U.S. and the European Union, as well as Russia.
The ghost of a new cold war has been banished, German Deputy Federal Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Moscow on Wednesday.
President Obama places bets on the resetting of relations with Russia. He is fully determined to give top priority to common interests, Steinmeier said.
I am convinced that it will be confirmed once again next month, when he arrives in Moscow for an official visit, the German foreign minister said.
It is necessary to accept the outstretched hand of the U.S. president without hesitation. Reluctance or trying to gain tactical benefits could again close the window on these opportunities. That is why I call on our partners here in Moscow and all those who attach importance to international security to jointly take advantage of this unique and historic chance, he said.
 
 
9.06.07
The media continues to report on the European Parliament elections. The following dailies have published articles on the issue: Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Trud, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by German political scientist Alexander Rahr which comments on the outcome of the European Parliament elections.
In an article by Vadim Smirnov, Vremya novostei reports on the upcoming Swedish Presidency of the EU and the possible closure of the Swedish Consulate-General in Kaliningrad.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department Alexander Alekseyev which addresses the Kosovo issue and the EU's role in the region.
In a special supplement, called 'NG-Energy', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes articles on EU-Russia energy relations and Moscow's recent proposals of a new legal base for international energy cooperation.
The Moscow Times publishes a Financial Times editorial which reported about last week's celebrations in Poland of the 20th anniversary of the 1989 elections and mentioned Poland's EU membership.
 
Weekly review of articles 1-8 June 2009
Putin talks Nord Stream, timber duties in Finland
Optimism expressed over progress at talks on Russia’s WTO accession
Moscow’s calls on EU to pay attention to transit of gas via Ukraine heard by Brussels
The Nord Stream gas pipeline project and the timber tariff issue were high on the agenda of PM Vladimir Putin’s visit to Helsinki on 3 June for talks with Finland’s PM Matti Vanhanen and President Tarja Halonen. On the Nord Stream project, Putin said “participants in the project are ready to lay any route that will be more acceptable to Finland”, and emphasized the importance of the pipeline for Europe. “The issue is whether our European partners…whish to get our cheap gas or have it through a mediator”, he noted. PM Vanhanen, in turn, emphasized that the Finnish Government is to decide on the project on the basis of the environmental impact study, which is expected to be considered in autumn. The media cites in this context environmental concerns expressed by Finland and several other littoral states. It is to be noted that the Russian media provided different assessments of the outcome of Putin’s visit. While Gazeta (04/06) expressed the view that Finland is likely to permit Russia to lay the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea in its economic zone, Vremya novostei (04/06) argued that Russian-Finnish relations seemed to “have assumed a shape of bilateral political trade”, and concluded that the Russian and Finnish PMs failed to agree on both gas and timber. On the latter, Putin recalled that Russia had decided to postpone a further increase in the export duty on raw wood due to the economic crisis. Some experts believe that Russia tries to use the timber tariff issue as a ‘bargaining chip’ in its attempts to get Finland’s permission to build the Nord Stream pipeline.
Optimism was expressed over progress achieved at talks on Russia’s WTO accession with the EU team led by EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. According to Kommersant (05/06), the EU is ready for concessions on the issues of the export duties on timber and TBT. The European side demonstrated understanding of Russia’s decision to raise the export duties on raw wood, and agreed that the technical barriers to trade would remain for some time after Russia’s accession to the WTO. Russia promised to speed up the adoption of technical regulations to comply with WTO norms.
On a visit to Helsinki, eHePutin also warned that Russian gas pumped to Europe via Ukraine could be cut off by early July, if Ukraine failed to pay for its gas, and called on the EU to help Ukraine pay for Russian gas. The press writes that Moscow’s calls on the European Union to pay attention to the situation with Ukraine’s payment for Russian gas were heard in Brussels: the European Commission said it would send a fact-finding mission to Moscow and Kiev to receive information about the situation with transit of Russian gas to the EU via Ukraine.
NB: Gazprom confirmed on 8 June that Ukraine has paid in full for the May supplies of Russian gas.
 
St Petersburg, 4 June 2009
EU and Russia make progress on WTO accession
EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and the Russian Minister for Economic Development, Elvira Nabiullina, met today in St. Petersburg to discuss Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as bilateral trade issues. The two sides showed a commitment to be flexible on all open issues regarding Russia's WTO accession. They agreed that Russian WTO membership should be sought as soon as possible, and that discussions would now continue between chief negotiators.
Commissioner Ashton said: I welcome the commitment Minister Nabiullina has shown today. We have a common understanding on the gaps that need to be bridged now. We have agreed that WTO accession should be completed before the end of this year.
The talks today came following yesterday's comments by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that Russia remained committed to WTO membership despite the economic downturn. The EU-Russia Summit in Khabarovsk on 22 May had confirmed the commitment of both sides to Russian accession to the WTO.
Background
Russia began the accession process to the WTO in 1993. The European Union completed bilateral talks on accession with Russia in May 2004, and has engaged with Russia in the context of the multilateral process. Throughout the accession process, the EU has strongly supported Russia's WTO membership. The main outstanding issues still remaining are Russian export duties, including on timber, the level of railway fees for goods in transit through Russia and the restrictions on imports of meat, milk and plant products.
The EU and Russia have a strong and interdependent trade relationship. The EU is by far Russia's main trading partner and investor. Russia is the EU's third largest trading partner. Between 2000 and 2008 bilateral trade in goods nearly tripled in value to EUR 278 billion in 2008. However, in the first months of 2009, trade contracted as a result of the economic crisis. Approximately 80% of Russia's foreign capital stock comes from the EU.
 
Weekly review of articles 25 May-1 June 2009
Russia calls onEU to take part in solving gas transit problems as disagreements between Moscow, Kiev over gas supply issue growing
Azerbaijan, a potential supplier of gas for Nabucco, ready to supply gas for Gazprom, but does not offer extra volume
 
The media comments broadly on growing disagreements between Moscow and Kiev over the gas supply issue as Ukraine is facing difficulties with gas payments and a threat of another gas crisis is looming. Both President Dmitry Medvedev and PM Vladimir Putin have told the EU and Ukraine that Russia could not finance in full the pumping of gas to Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities, and suggested that Russia and the EU lend together to Kiev. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller described as “very difficult” Naftogaz Ukrainy’s financial situation and cast doubts about Ukraine’s ability to pay for the May supplies of Russian gas. Last week, Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko said he plans to meet EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs on 2-3 June in Brussels to discuss the Ukrainian issue (Vremya novostei). M Putin said in a statement last Friday that he expects the EU to take part in resolving the problem of gas transit through Ukraine. The Russian Premier warned the EU that “Russia is not going to bear the burden of subsidizing the Ukrainian economy on its own”. “The risk of new irregularities in transiting Russian gas to European consumers has increased. We hope that the EU would address this problem”, the statement says. The media cites European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as having promised to raise the gas transit issue at the EU summit on 18-19 June. Commissioner Piebalgs’ spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny clarified that the issue would be considered on the eve of the summit, at a meeting of the Gas Coordination Group (Kommersant). Earlier, PM Silvio Berlusconi said he would put forward at the next EU Council meeting Russia’s proposal to have the EU pay part of the gas bills that Ukraine is struggling to pay. The media says, however, there is little hope that the EU will meet a Russian request to help Ukraine with payments for Russian gas. Barroso is quoted as saying that “it is difficult with our budget, if not impossible, to have some support from the Community budget for Ukraine”. Russian expert Alexander Shtok told Gazeta (01/06) that Europe’s refusal to take part in the financing could be viewed as “a failure of the Brussels declaration on modernization of Ukraine’s gas transit system”. Analyst Vladimir Zharikhin did not exclude in an interview with Novye Izvestia (01/06) that “the conflict might speed up a re-direction of Russian energy policy from customers in the West to customers in the East”.
In the meantime, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (27/05) referred to an unnamed source, “close to Naftogaz”, who expressed confidence that the Ukrainian Government will be able to sort out the problem of gas payments. The same source argued that all statements made by the Russian side are addressed primarily to the European Union as Gazprom is lobbying the Nord Stream and South Stream projects.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta (26/05) and Vedomosti (29/05) report on an announcement by Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR that as of 2010 it could start supplying for Gazprom 1 billion cubic meters of gas. Azerbaijan, which is considered as a potential supplier of gas for the Nabucco gas pipeline, is the only CIS Member State exporting gas, but not to Gazprom (Vedomosti). Nezavisimaya Gazeta mentions that in addition to Nabucco, Baku is invited to take part in other projects, including Turkey-Greece-Italy and Turkey-Bulgaria pipelines. Gazprom has expressed readiness to buy all Azeri gas at the ‘European price’. The head of the Centre of Regional Development of Azerbaijan, Chingiz Ismailov, told Vedomosti that the Europeans are promising Baku much more than Russia, namely investment and technologies. In his view, this would mean that Gazprom might not get additional volumes of gas. Experts, cited by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, say Azerbaijan’s strategic task is to get access to European markets.
Kommersant ((27/05) reports on Russia’s satisfaction with the signing by Tehran and Islamabad of an agreement on the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran’s South Pars gas field to Pakistan. According to the daily, Gazprom is ready to join the project, the implementation of which “would help take away the Iranian gas from the Nabucco project”.
 
Weekly review of articles 18-25 May 2009
EU-Russia summit: Medvedev reiterates Russia will not ratify Energy Charter, calls for new deal
Barroso says EU ready to discuss some of Moscow’s energy proposals
Moscow cannot guarantee there will be no halts in gas supplies to the EU
EU-Russia gas conference in Berlin – no progress
 
Ahead of the EU-Russia Summit on 21-22 May in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, most commentators expressed scepticism about the outcome of the meeting, pointing to differences between the sides on a range of issues, first of all energy, as well as issues such as Georgia and Moldova. Vedomosti (22/05) anticipated a “futile” discussion at the summit of the announced issues of the global economic crisis, energy and a new architecture of European security, while Vremya novostei (22/05) said the summit was held in conditions of a “systematic failure” in bilateral relations. Kommersant (21/05) did not exclude that the summit would be highlighted by the EU’s rejection of Russia’s recent proposals of a new legal basis for international energy cooperation. The daily pointed to the European Commission’s “counterproposal” to develop an improved Early Warning Mechanism to avoid transit risks.
As anticipated, at a joint press conference following the summit, President Dmitry Medvedev reiterated that Russia is not going to ratify the Energy Charter and called for a new agreement to ensure global energy security. The media recalls Moscow’s recent proposals of a new legal framework for international energy relations put forward by the Russian President during his visit to Finland on 20 April [NB The draft transit treaty handed over by Deputy PM Sechin on 30 April has not been mentioned by any Russian paper yet]. Vedomosti (25/05) writes that in Khabarovsk, Medvedev stressed that the existing agreements are not able to prevent conflicts similar to the January 2009 gas conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Although the press points out that the summit threw into relief the divergences over the Energy Charter and other issues, some commentators note “compromise approaches”. In this context, the media quotes European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as having stressed that the EU considers “very useful” some of Moscow’s recent proposals for a new international energy agreement. Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich remarked that the Europeans insist on consideration of the Russian proposals only in the context of the existing Energy Charter, adding that “it does not matter” to Russia whether it could be “a seriously changed Energy Charter or a new international agreement”. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (25/05) writes in a comment that the summit had shown that the EU “has given up its intention to persuade Russia to ratify the Energy Charter and that the Union is ready to consider some of Russia’s proposals. Russia, in turn, has agreed to abandon its proposals for a new version of the same Charter”.
The daily continues that hopes for “compromise approaches”, however, could be marred by “the EU’s unwillingness to take on responsibility for settling the Ukrainian transit problems”. The media highlights Medvedev’s statement in response to a question about the possible suspension of gas supplies to Europe later this year that “Russia has offered no assurances and will not offer any”. EU officials have left without answer Medvedev’s proposal made at the summit that the EU share “a considerable part” of the effort to help Ukraine ensure that gas supplies to Europe via the Ukrainian territory are uninterrupted. Nezavisimaya Gazeta suggests that it would be possible to reach compromise on this matter by mutual concessions, e.g. the lowering of gas prices for Europe in exchange for sharing transit risks.
Saying thatthe summit brought no breakthrough in EU-Russia relations, RBK daily (25/05) points out that meeting with EU officials near the border with China, President Medvedev hinted that Russia has other potential consumers of its natural gas besides the EU. Earlier, Vremya novostei (22/05) referred to Deputy PM Sechin who said at a Governmental meeting in Khabarovsk that Russia has been preparing proposals on gas supplies to China. The proposals will be discussed during the planned visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Russia in June.
Disagreements between the EU and Russia on energy security were also emphasized at a conference on the EU-Russia energy dialogue organised by the Russian Gas Society on 19 May in Berlin. The media cites harsh criticism voiced by Deputy CEO of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev towards the European Commission’s position during the January 2009 gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine. While the European side spoke of the need to restore confidence in Russian gas supplies undermined by the Russian-Ukrainian gas conflicts, the Russian side tried to put all the blame on the European Commission for failing to prevent Russia's gas conflict with Ukraine. A. Medvedev notably accused the Commission and the responsible Commissioner as incompetent, and branded “Russophobic” politicians as a real threat to Europe's energy security, not Gazprom. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (20/05) writes that the discussions in the conference did not really bring together the positions of the parties but, rather, confirmed the points of disagreement between them. In another article, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (21/05) said the most sensitive blow on Russia’s geopolitical positions had been struck by Europe’s plans to search for alternative energy routes and suppliers. Without any clear reference or proof, the daily asserts that PM Vladimir Putin had hinted at a ”possible nationalization of European energy assets in the case of the construction of a gas pipeline by-passing Russia”.
 
 
27.02.09
The Moscow Times (AP) cites Romanian President Traian Basescu as saying that Russia has undermined trust in Europe and has become one of the most divisive issues within the EU.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled From Hubris to Nemesis, by Pierre Moscovici, Vice-President of the European Affairs Committee of France's National Assembly and the French Minister for European Affairs from 1997 to 2002, which addresses the Lisbon Treaty.
RBK daily publishes an article by Artyom Oparin and Anatoly Pomortsev which reports on the EU's 'blue card' scheme for skilled immigrants.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei publish articles which address the current controversy between Gazprom and Ukraine over gas issues and the EU's position on the matter.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Gazprom's New Weakness Offers Opportunity, by Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which reports on Gazprom and expresses the view that for the EU, Gazprom's new weakness offers an... opportunity for the gas trade with Russia to operate better, and Gazprom's shareholders have an evident interest in going along with European gas reforms to recover the markets the company has lost.
Novye Izvestia cites briefly European Commission official Jean-Arnold Vinois as saying that the EU could invest in Ukraine's gas storage facilities.
Kommersant, in an article by Natalia Grib and Alexander Gabuyev, reports on Gazprom's reaction to the signing by Iran and Pakistan of an agreement on the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran's South Pars gas field to Pakistan, and comments on the possible impact of the deal on the resource base for Nabucco.
Novye Izvestia runs an article, entitled A milky march, by Alexander Mineyev, which reports on actions of protest in Brussels and Berlin organised by farmers to demand more EU funds. Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on a protest action by dairy farmers in Berlin.
Gazeta publishes a Daily Telegraph article on the candidacy of Krisztina Morvai from Hungary's party Jobbik in the European Parliament elections in June 2009.
  
25.05.09
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Competing for Privilege, by director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre Dmitry Trenin, which addresses the EU's Eastern Partnership programme and Russia's reaction to the initiative.
Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on cooperation between Russia and Slovenia on the South Stream gas pipeline project. Slovenian Economy Minister Matej Lahovnik is quoted as saying after meeting with Russian Minister for Information and Mass Communication Igor Shchegolev on Friday in Ljubljana that a bilateral agreement on the South Stream project could be signed in June. Izvestia recalls Russia's intention to ask the EU to include the South Stream pipeline in the EU's priority list. (See also economic headlines)
Vremia Novostey reports on the results of the EU-Russia Summit in Khabarovsk
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine publishes an interview with South Ossetia's de facto Foreign Minister Murat Dzhioyev which addresses activity of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia.
Dailies (Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei) report on the re-election of German President Horst Koehler for a second five-year term.
 
Subject: Russia-EU energy ties demand new legal framework; Russia not confident Ukraine can pay for gas - Medvedev; EU doesn't want repeat of Russia-Ukraine gas crisis - Barroso
 
Medvedev hopes for further discussions on Russia's energy security initiatives
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - Senior European Union officials have shown interest in Russia's initiative to formulate a new legal foundation for international cooperation in the energy sector, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; said.
It seemed to me that our European partners treated this idea with interest, Medvedev told a news conference after the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk on Friday.
The Russian president said he hopes that discussions on Russia's initiative will continue.
Putting this idea into practice clearly meets the interests of Russia's partners in Europe, he added.
Medvedev reiterates proposal to form intl court for pirates – press secretary
 
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The fight against piracy at sea was discussed the Russia-European Union summit in Khabarovsk, after the subject was raised by President Dmitry Medvedev/
The Russian president spoke about the fight against Somali pirates and again mentioned the idea he had proposed during talks with Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika; - to start consultations between Russia, Europe and other foreign partners on forming an international tribunal for pirates, presidential press secretary Natalya Timakova told the media in Khabarovsk on Friday.
The Russian and EU leaders discussed the Middle East settlement over a working breakfast, including an international conference on the Middle East to be held in Moscow this year. The situation surrounding Afghanistan and Iraq was also addressed, she said.
Georgia was discussed very briefly, Timakova said. EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana only reiterated the European Union's position on Abkhazia and South
Ossetia recognition, she said.
 
Russia not confident Ukraine can pay for gas - Medvedev
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - Russia has doubts concerning Ukraine's ability to pay for gas deliveries from Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev; said at a news conference at the conclusion of the EU summit in Khabarovsk on Friday.
We have doubts about Ukraine's ability to pay. Partners help their partners in these situations and we are ready to assist the Ukrainian state, but it would be desirable that the European Union took upon itself a significant portion of this work, that is, those countries that have an interest in the reliability and security of energy cooperation, Medvedev said.
I have brought up that issue with our partners and proposed that they once more analyze possibilities with deliveries of gas to Ukraine, he said.
A substantial amount of gas has been pumped into Ukrainian underground storage facilities - in the neighborhood of 19.5 billion cubic meters worth more than $4 billion.
If the Ukrainian side has the money, that's fine, but we have doubts about that country's ability to pay, Medvedev said.
 
EU confirms interest in Druzhba oil pipeline
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The European Union is interested in getting oil via the Druzhba pipeline in the future, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told journalists on Friday.
The European Union would want to receive oil via this pipeline and sees it as one of the main routs of oil shipments, Piebalgs told journalists in Khabarovsk in the corridors of a Russia-EU summit.
Piebalgs said that the European Union would never allow itself to do anything that could harm oil shipments via this pipeline. The price of oil deliveries for Europe via this oil pipeline is a lot lower than via other routes, he said.
 
Russia-EU energy ties demand new legal framework - Medvedev
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The energy sector is not a field of conflict between Russia and the European Union, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; told a news conference after the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk on Friday.
Rather, cooperation in energy issues should develop in a civilized manner, and it requires a new legal framework, Medvedev said.
The energy sphere is not a field for conflict. On the contrary, it is the kind of area that should unite us. It also ensures a comfortable living environment for millions of Europeans, the Russian president said.
Russia and the EU have to make sure that energy cooperation develops in a civilized fashion, he said.
This goal can be achieved if all sales of natural gas take place at market prices, appropriate agreements are signed and money is paid on them, he said.
Addressing Russia's future contacts in the energy sector, Medvedev said that it is necessary to formulate a comprehensive legal framework for this cooperation.
We are all unanimous on the need for such a framework. We will continue working on a legal framework for cooperation in the energy sphere. I am convinced that we will cope with this task, he said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at the same news conference that the EU welcomes Russia's role in modernizing the Ukrainian gas transportation system. Ukraine is also open to this participation, Barroso said.
The energy sector unites various countries, he added.
 
EU doesn't want repeat of Russia-Ukraine gas crisis - Barroso
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The European Union calls on Russia and Ukraine to prevent any gas conflict in the future.
The EU also believes that some of Russia's initiatives dealing with a new legal framework for cooperation in the energy sector deserve Brussels' attention, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
The EU asks Russia and Ukraine to do everything in their power to prevent such crises, Barroso told a news conference after the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk on Friday.
A repeat of the two countries' row over gas prices would hardly benefit the general atmosphere of relations, Barroso said. That is why the EU proposes developing an early warning mechanism, in which political will plays an important role, he said.
Addressing Russia's initiatives in the energy sector, Barroso said that some of the ideas announced by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; deserve the EU's attention during a revision of the Energy Charter Treaty, in which, the European Commission president believes, Russia is ready to participate.
Medvedev satisfied with work pace on new basic agt with EU
 
22.05.2009
KHABAROVSK, May 22 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said on the results of the Russia-EU summit that he is satisfied with the tempos of the work on a new basic agreement with the EU.
During the summit we also discussed the strategic dialogue and we naturally were returning in that of other form to the new basic agreement issue that is to replace the currently in effect Russia-EU agreement on partnership and cooperation, he said. On the whole the tempos which were achieved, despite a short-term stop on the path, are satisfactory to us, the RF president stated.
The work itself on the agreement helps make our positions closer on most important issues, so we hope that we will also in the future be moving forward, that the coordination of the main conditions will be happening without unnecessary delays and with taking into account the interests of our states, Medvedev added.
 
Russian, Czech leaders discuss bilateral ties
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; and his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus discussed bilateral relations at a meeting after the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk on Friday.
The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
In my opinion, they [bilateral ties] have been developing quite steadily. They reflect a high level of cooperation between our countries, our economies and our peoples, Medvedev said,
Very good achievements have been made in relations between the two countries in recent years, the Russian president said.
The volume of our trade turnover is already quite significant. We hope that it will continue to grow, despite present-day difficulties. I am hopeful that we will be able to score new successes in this area, he said.
Czech President Klaus, for his part, said he is satisfied that he has an opportunity in Khabarovsk to discuss Russian-Czech relations with President Medvedev.
I agree that they [Russian-Czech relations] have been developing in a positive manner. I hope that this meeting will send some signal to continue the development of this relationship, Klaus said.
 
 
EU prepared to discuss Russian proposals to forge new energy accords
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The European Union leadership said at the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk that it was prepared to discuss Russian proposals to draft new legal agreements regulating international energy cooperation, Russian presidential press secretary Natalya Timakova told the media.
The European side said at a plenary meeting that it was ready to discuss the Russian proposals. Europe has acknowledged that the Energy Charter in its current form cannot serve all intended purposes, Timakova said on the sidelines of the Khabarovsk summit.
 
Medvedev urges speedy completion of Russia's WTO accession procedures
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - President Dmitry Medvedev <javascript:void(0);> raised the issue of speedy completion of all procedures related to Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization at the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk.
The president said that this process had been quite slow-moving, lasting for several years now. He also made a point that Russia has honored all obligations it assumed, presidential press secretary Natalya Timakova said in Khabarovsk on Friday.
 
EU shows interest in Medvedev's European security initiative – press secretary
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The European Union has been showing interest in President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal to draft a new European security treaty, and this interest was confirmed at the Russia-EU summit underway in Khabarovsk.
EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, who spoke on this issue on the European Union's behalf, said he deemed this idea sufficiently interesting, presidential press secretary Natalya Timakova told the media on the sidelines of the summit.
Solana welcomed Russia's proposals to discuss this initiative, including in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, she said. Solana said it was crucial for any document regulating European security to comply with the spirit of the Helsinki Act, Timakova said.
While discussing problems connected with the global financial and economic crisis, the participants said measures to deal with the crisis are being implemented in strong coordination, and confirmed their resolve to tackle the problems jointly, she said.
Medvedev on his part reaffirmed Russia's readiness to deal with the crisis jointly with other states in all existing formats, including the Russia-EU, G8 and G20 formats, Timakova said.
 
EU could help Ukraine draw loan to guarantee gas supplies - Medvedev
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - President Dmitry Medvedev <javascript:void(0);> has urged the European Union partners to help Ukraine draw a syndicated loan to guarantee gas supplies.
If we are talking about loans, let us help Ukraine syndicate the relevant money. But this is something not to be done by Russia alone. After all, it is not Russia that is having solvency problems, Medvedev said at a news conference following the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk.
 
Russia won't give any accounts regarding gas stoppages - Medvedev
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - Russia cannot provide guarantees to Europe that there will not be any more gas stoppages through the fault of Ukraine in the future, President Dmitry Medvedev <javascript:void(0);> said at a news conference in Khabarovsk after a Russia-EU summit.
Russia did not and will not give any assurances. For what sake? There are no problems on our side. We have no problems at all over gas, or the fulfillment of our obligations. Let those who must pay for the gas make assurances, Medvedev said.
 
Moscow confirms it won't ratify Energy Charter - Russian president's aide
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - Russia has confirmed at its summit with the European Union that it is not going to ratify the Energy Charter and to abide by the charter treaty, Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich <javascript:void(0);> told journalists on Friday.
We have reaffirmed that we are not going to ratify the Energy Charter. We have not applied the Energy Charter Treaty, either, Dvorkovich said in Russia's Far East city of Khabarovsk, where the Russia-EU summit is taking place.
European officials were interested in discussing Russia's new proposals on energy security, but they insisted on their application in the context of adjusting the existing Energy Charter, he said.
The name of this new agreement is not a matter of principle to us. It could be a drastically adjusted version of the Energy Charter, or it could be a new international agreement, Dvorkovich said.
Local changes of the Energy Charter are hardly possible. I am speaking about fundamental changes, he said.
 
Medvedev concerned some states see Eastern Partnership as project against Russia
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - Russia is worried about attempts by certain nations in Eastern Europe to use the European Union's Eastern Partnership program against Russia.
Frankly speaking, what confuses me is the fact that some states view this partnership as a partnership against Russia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev <javascript:void(0);> said after the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk.
Medvedev said he is not speaking about the European Union's leaders.
I mean other states, he said.
But, we, for our part, would not like this Eastern Partnership to turn into a partnership against Russia, he added.
I simply would not like this partnership to consolidate individual states with anti-Russian sentiments and other states in Europe, Medvedev said.
Russia is not a member of the EU's Eastern Partnership program, which involves Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and a number of other countries.
There are various examples. We have partnership relations with the North Atlantic bloc. But, in spite of a special form of relations, this form turned out to be weak when these relations were put to the test. And ongoing attempts to rebuild ties between Russia and NATO have encountered quite serious difficulties, the Russian leader said.
If Eastern Partnership becomes a project of normal economic cooperation, we naturally have no objections to it, Medvedev said.
We wish this partnership success. But I would like to stress that such episodes cause our concern, the head of state said.
As far as Eastern Partnership is concerned, it is not yet totally clear to us in what forms all this will proceed, he said.
 
EU welcomes stronger Russian-Chinese ties - Barroso
KHABAROVSK. May 22 (Interfax) - The European Union welcomes stronger relations between Russia and China, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
The European Union's attitude to prosperity and constructive changes in relations between its partners is positive, Barroso said at a news conference in Khabarovsk.
 
Brussels, 20 May 2009
EU-Russia Summit on 21-22 May in Khabarovsk
The next EU-Russia Summit takes place in Khabarovsk, in the Russian Far East, on 21 and 22 May. The Summit will be hosted by President Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation. The Commission will be represented by President José Manuel Barroso. He will be accompanied by Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner Commissioner for Trade, Baroness Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs. The Summit is an opportunity or the EU and Russia to discuss how best to coordinate responses to the financial and economic crisis. Climate change and energy security are also high on the agenda.. International issues which will be tackled at the Summit range from efforts to promote greater stability in the common neighbourhood and in Europe more generally, through to the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Iran and Sri Lanka among others.
On the eve of the Summit, President José Manuel Barroso said: Russia and the EU are interdependent. The global financial and economic crisis stresses the need to develop the potential of our relationship, remove obstacles and coordinate our efforts. Regular and frank political dialogue is the right way to manage our relationship and it must prevail in all times, no matter how difficult the issues at stake are.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner added: Greater political and economic stability in our shared neighbourhood is in the interest of all. The EU-Russia partnership has shown its capacity to maintain dialogue even in the most difficult times, and we need to continue to strengthen a partnership characterized by inter-dependence, reliability, mutual trust, predictability, and transparency. The progress made in the four common spaces and the ongoing negotiations for a new comprehensive agreement are clear signs for the vitality of our relationship and the mutual interest to develop it further.
Commissioner Ashton underlined: In this economic downturn and with protectionist sentiment on the rise, a strong, rules-based international trade system is of greater importance than ever. WTO membership is in Russia's interest, not least to attract more foreign investment and diversify its economy. Russia's membership will also allow us to enhance our bilateral trade relationship further.
Commissioner Piebalgs stated: ''Building on the results of the regular EC - Russia energy dialogue and the last EU - Russia Permanent Partnership Council on Energy of 30th of April 2009, this summit provides an opportunity to make further progress on enhancing the Early Warning Mechanism. Moreover, exchange of views on recent energy security proposals made by the Russian side will greatly feed into broader debate on energy security challenges at international level as well as prepare discussions on the future bilateral energy framework to be agreed under the EU - Russia New Agreement.''
The plenary session is likely to focus on responses to the global financial and economic crisis and to a review of co-operation under the common spaces. The interdependence between the EU and Russian economies makes a powerful argument to step up efforts to co-ordinate responses to the crisis, but also to look for ways to further expand the trade and economic relationship. The EU continues to support Russia's accession to the WTO, but has voiced its concerns about some of the measures that the Russian Government has introduced in response to the crisis. Energy continues to dominate economic and trading relations between the EU and Russia, and the Summit is an occasion to look at practical ways of dealing with crises in supply such as that experienced in January, by means of an expanded Early Warning Mechanism. Leaders are also expected to welcome progress in the implementation of the EU-Russia common spaces - a dialogue on public health has been launched, negotiations are beginning on an agreement on drug precursors, and the Science and Technology Agreement is being renewed.
For the longer-term the EU and Russia are negotiating a New Agreement to replace the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which should set out reinforced legally-binding provisions for the whole range of EU/Russia relations; in the field of energy it should be based on a relationship of interdependence and mutual benefits, enshrining the principles of the Energy Charter Treaty. The Summit is an opportunity to take stock of the progress made on the New Agreement negotiations.
EU and Russia Justice and Home Affairs Ministers met in Kaliningrad on 13-14 May, and leaders will hear back from the ministerial on issues ranging from progress in the visa dialogue, co-operation in the field of civil and criminal law, and in the fight against drug trafficking.
Greater stability in the common neighbourhood is a shared ambition, and leaders will hear the results of the latest round of talks in Geneva on Georgia, which took place on May 18-19.
More information:
 
21.05.09
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU Can Offer Moscow Lots of Carrots, by Fraser Cameron, director of the Brussels-based EU-Russia Centre, which addresses the EU-Russia summit on 21-22 May in Khabarovsk and EU-Russia relations.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with former Belarusian Parliamentarian Sergey Kalyakin which addresses, among other issues, EU-Belarus relations, the Eastern Partnership programme and the issue of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Gazeta runs an article by Agnieszka Wlodarczyk which cites criticism voiced by Poland over a European Commission video clip, '1989-2009: 20 years of liberty'.
RBK daily publishes an article, entitled Crisis xenophobia, by Anatoly Pomortsev, which reports on growing xenophobic moods in some EU Member States amid the global economic crisis.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Ukraine's interest in participating in the implementation of the Nabucco gas pipeline project (Interfax-Ukraina).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on prospects for Iraqi gas supplies to Europe and the Middle East region (ITAR-TASS).
 
 
EU interested in Russia's participation in several Eastern Partnership projects - Solana
BRUSSELS. May 20 (Interfax) - The European Union is not offering the Eastern Partnership members to choose between Russia and the EU, says High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.
Better neighborly relations between the EU and its Eastern neighbors are not at the expense of other relationships. We have been very clear from the start that we do not expect any of our Eastern partner countries to choose between better relations with the EU or with Russia, or with any other country for that matter, Solana said in an interview with Interfax ahead of the EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk.
In our view, a positive dynamic in our relations with these countries will lead to a more positive dynamic in the region as a whole. Our ambition is to help our partner countries make progress on political, economic and social reforms. It can only be in the interest of Russia and of Europe as a whole for these countries to become more stable, prosperous, and open, he said.
Among the Eastern Partnership members are Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The EU will develop its strategic partnership with Russia in parallel, Solana said. We want also Russia to participate in some projects in the framework of the Eastern Partnership , he added.
 
Southern Corridor not aimed against Russia's South Stream – Solana
BRUSSELS. May 20 (Interfax) - The European Southern Corridor project will include a whole host of gas pipelines, including Nabucco, said High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.
The Southern Corridor includes a variety of projects, of which Nabucco is one but not the only. The Southern Corridor is an open concept, not directed against anyone, nor excluding anyone, he told Interfax when asked whether this project aims to compete with Russia's South Stream.
The Southern Corridor would offer the EU geographically new sources of energy and new transit routes, he said.
It's a question of diversification of sources and routes, which we believe is in everybody's interest, he said.
The Southern Corridor is an important priority project for the EU. We want to create a framework for deeper cooperation which would allow energy to flow from the Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe through a new and well-regulated corridor, Solana added.
 
New EU-Russia basic agreement must regulate energy cooperation - Solana
BRUSSELS. May 20 (Interfax) - Brussels hopes that the framework for the energy cooperation between Russia and the European Union will be set out in the new basic EU-Russia agreement.
Our longer term energy relations should in particular be addressed in the New Agreement between the EU and Russia which we are currently in the process of negotiating, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana said in an interview with Interfax.
The new partnership and cooperation agreement should set out reinforced legally binding provisions, enshrining the principles of the Energy Charter Treaty, he said.
In the short term, we would for example like to agree with Russia on an enhanced Early Warning Mechanism on possible supply interruptions, Solana said.
The recent gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted the need for the specific framework for energy cooperation, he said.
There is a need for a stronger, more elaborate framework for our relations in this field, so that we can avoid a repetition of such incidents in the future and build trust between us, Solana said.
The EU and Russia are interdependent energy partners, he recalled.
The EU is Russia's main consumer, and Russia is our foremost external energy supplier. This will remain the case for the foreseeable future, and we have every interest to put our energy co-operation on a more solid, long term footing, Solana said.
 
20.05.09
Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei publish articles dedicated to EU-Russia gas relations and a gas conference in Berlin. The media comments on statements by Deputy CEO of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev. Kommersant points to criticism voiced by Medvedev towards the European Commission's position during the January 2009 gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Kommersant and Nezavisimaya Gazeta cite Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Transport and Energy Matthias Ruete. In the view of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, yesterday's discussion confirmed that the disagreements between the sides still exist. (See also economic headlines)
Novaya Gazeta publishes an interview with EU HR Javier Solana which addresses the agenda of the EU-Russia summit on 21-22 May in Khabarovsk, the August 2008 war in Georgia, European security and energy issues.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Yury Shpakov, addresses EU-Russia energy relations and Moscow's recent proposals of a new legal framework for international energy cooperation.
In an article by Vadim Smirnov, Vremya novostei cites former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on relations between the EU and Russia.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU Talks in Far East Promise to Be Grueling, by Nikolaus von Twickel, which reports on the upcoming EU-Russia summit.
Izvestia announces the EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk and publishes an interview with businessmen from Russia and Britain on prospects for EU-Russia economic cooperation in Russia's Far East.
Vedomosti reports briefly with reference to Deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, that GdF Suez could become a shareholder in the Nord Stream gas pipeline project by the end of 2009 (Interfax).
The Moscow Times (Bloomberg) reports briefly that Turkey called on the EU on Tuesday to speed up its membership bid in response to Turkish backing for an energy pipeline designed to lessen the EU's dependence on gas.
Novaya Gazeta runs an article by Irina Khalip which mentions Belarus' participation in the EU's Eastern Partnership. The author quotes CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev as saying that countries participating in the Eastern Partnership have to choose between the CIS and the European Union.
Vremya novostei addresses the EU-China summit today in Prague in an article by Alexander Mineyev.
Vremya novostei runs an article, entitled The reset for the Balkans, by Pyotr Iskenderov, which addresses US Vice-President Joseph Biden's visit to the Balkans, including his visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina where he was accompanied by EU HR Solana. The author comments on the EU's position on developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In an article by Anatoly Pomortsev, RBK daily reports on different views in the FYROM on the EU and NATO.
 
Press Release
Moscow, 20 May 2009
EC-Russia cooperation in Science and Technology: impact assessment of jointly implemented projects
 
On 22 May 2009 at 10.00 The Delegation of the European Commission to Russia will present the results of the study carried over in the framework of the EU-Russia Cooperation Programme. An assessment of the impact of completed EU-funded projects in the area of science and technology was made and recommendations for follow-up were developed.
The study focuses on the projects Science & Technology commercialisation and Innovation and strategy in the use of intellectual property. The projects were carried out from 2004 to 2006 under the programme of Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). Recommendations for future EU-Russia cooperation in commercialisation of research and development projects results were developed, including those on regulation of intellectual property rights under jointly implemented projects.
The participants will be addressed by Etienne Claeye, Head of Operations Section of the EC Delegation to Russia. Representatives of the Russian partners - Ministry of Education and Science of the RF, Federal Agency for Science and Innovations, Russian Academy of Science will take part in the event.
The workshop will take place Friday, 22 May 2009 at 10.00 at the Delegation of the European Commission to Russia at the following address: Kadashevskaya nab., 14/1, Moscow.
 
 
19.05.09
Ahead of the EU-Russia summit on 21-22 May in Khabarovsk, Novye Izvestia publishes a special insert dedicated to the Khabarovsk territory and the forthcoming summit.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, cites Russian envoy to the European Communities Vladimir Chizhov as saying that the visa issue will be one of the issues on the agenda of the EU-Russia summit.
In an article by Vadim Smirnov, Vremya novostei reports on the session of the EU-Russia PPC on Freedom, Justice and Security on 14-15 May in Kaliningrad to discuss the visa issue for Kaliningrad residents.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta runs an article by Sergey Zykov which cites Energy Minister Sergey Shamtko as saying that at the EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk, Moscow intends to put forward new proposals on gas security.
Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on the victory of Dalia Grybauskaite in the 17 May Presidential elections in Lithuania.
Expert weekly magazine publishes a special supplement dedicated to France and Russian-French relations.
In an article by Sokhbet Mamedov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on talks between Azerbaijan and Turkey on the gas price and points to Turkey's position on the participation in the Nabucco gas pipeline project and the recent summit of the 'Southern Corridor' in Prague.
Vremya novostei reports on latest developments around the Nabucco project (Interfax).
The Moscow Times (Reuters) carries an article, entitled Iraq Rejects $8Bln Nabucco Deal, by Mohammed Abbas and Simon Webb, which reports on the rejection by the Iraqi Government of an $8 billion Kurdish plan to fill the Nabucco pipeline with gas for Europe.
 
 
18.05.09
Itogi weekly magazine publishes an article by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Russia's foreign policy, including relations with the West.
In a special supplement, called 'NG-Dipkurier', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Russian envoy to the European Communities Vladimir Chizhov which addresses a wide range of Russia-EU relations, including energy cooperation, visa dialogue etc.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta runs an article by Galina Beloglazova which reports on a session of the EU-Russia PPC on Freedom, Security and Justice in Kaliningrad to discuss the visa issue.
Kommersant-Vlast publishes an article by Mikhail Zygar on alternative pipeline projects.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') publishes an article by Viktoria Panfilova which addresses the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Vedomosti reports on latest developments around the Nabucco project in an article, entitled Gas for Nabucco, by Mikhail Overchenko and Irina Malkova.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Mikhail Kukushkin which reports on criticism voiced by the European Commission over selling of tickets online by airlines, including Aeroflot.
In an article by Svetlana Gamova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Dipkurier') reports on Kosovo and the role of EULEX.
Vremya novostei comments on Turkey's EU bid in an article by Boris Yunanov.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev which addresses anti-crisis demonstrations in EU Member States.
Izvestia reports on the economic indicators in the EU in an article by Pavel Arabov.
RBK daily reports on the economic situation in the euro zone in an article by Andrey Kotov.
Izvestia publishes an article by Maxim Yusin which cites statements on Europe's relations with Russia made by Latvian President Valdis Zatlers in the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
Dailies (Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta) report on the victory of EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite in Sunday's Presidential election in Lithuania.
In an article by Varvara Semyonova, Vremya novostei mentions the introduction of passports with biometric identifiers in EU Member States.
 
14.05.09
Kommersant publishes a special supplement dedicated to EU-Russia relations. The supplement focuses on the global economic crisis and energy.
Vremya novostei reports on the upcoming visit of PM Silvio Berlusconi to Russia on 16 May in an article by Giovanni Bensi. The author also addresses internal developments in Italy.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on Germany’s reaction to President Dmitry Medvedev’s recent proposals of a new legal framework for international energy cooperation.
In an article by Yulia Nazarova, RBK daily reports on the construction in EU Member States of LNG plants and gas supplies to Europe from Qatar.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachyov on Russia’s foreign policy agenda and addresses, among other issues, relations with Europe and the Energy Charter.
Izvestia and Nezavisimaya Gazeta report on latest developments between the EU and Belarus.
Kommersant runs an article by Vladimir Vodo and Gennady Sysoyev which reports on the upcoming Presidential election in Lithuania and chances of EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite.
Vedomosti publishes an article, by the head of the IMF’s European department Marek Belka and economist of the IMF’s European department Srobona Mitra, which addresses the economic situation in the EU.
RBK daily publishes an article by Anatoly Pomortsev which cites a report by Estonian Interior Ministry experts on possible anti-Government actions in the country. According to the report, Russian-speaking residents of Estonia’s Jogeva County could become “the striking force” of protest actions.
Gazeta and Vremya novostei report that the European Commission has fined Intel Corporation €1.06 billion for breaking European antitrust law.
 
13.05.09
Gazeta.ru Internet portal publishes an interview with the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco which addresses EU-Russia relations, including the upcoming EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk, a visa dialogue, energy relations and other issues. Franco also addresses the EU's position on the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Kommersant publishes an article by Alexander Kuranov which reports on the goals of the new Czech Government, headed by Jan Fischer.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the 8 May summit in Prague to discuss a Southern Corridor - New Silk Road' project and points to the refusal by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to sign a declaration of the summit (Interfax, RIA-Novosti).
Latest developments between Gazprom and Serbia on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline are addressed by RBK daily and The Moscow Times.
In a special supplement 'NG-Energy', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes articles dedicated to environmental issues in the EU, EU projects in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, and gas relations between the EU, Russia, Ukraine and Turkmenistan.
In an article by Sergey Zhiltsov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Energy') comments on the 'Southern Corridor' summit in Prague.
In an article by Oleg Nikiforov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta ('NG-Energy') addresses EU plans to create a synchronised electricity market.
Vedomosti, in an article by Yekaterina Kravchenko, reports on recession in Europe.
Kommersant runs an article by Yevgeny Khvostik which reports on EU plans to conduct stress tests of banks.
In an article by Alexei Smirnov, Novye Izvestia reports on the economic crisis in Latvia and comments on the visit to Sweden of Latvian PM Valdis Dombrovskis to discuss the issue of Swedish banks which dominate the Latvian banking market.
RBK daily addresses France's anti-crisis measures in an article by Artyom Oparin. The author reports on French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde's proposal to cut more than 34,000 civil servants by 2010.
 
 
8.05.09
Kommersant, The Moscow Times, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on the EU's Eastern Partnership summit yesterday in Prague and the signing by participants of a joint declaration. Vedomosti notes that the leaders of four EU Member States - the Prime Ministers of the UK, Spain, Italy and President of France - did not participate in the summit.
In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei cites a document prepared by the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations which addresses on the Eastern Partnership's initiative and its impact on EU-Russia relations.
Kommersant runs an article by Natalia Grib, Alexander Gabuyev and Nikolai Zubov which addresses a summit today in Prague to discuss the 'Southern Corridor - New Silk Road'.
In an article, entitled Will Europe survive without Russian gas?, by Pavel Arabov, Izvestia addresses the issue of Russian gas supplies to Europe.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU, Church Call for Calm After Tbilisi Violence, by Margarita Antidze and Matt Robinson (Reuters), which provides the EU's reaction to violence during Georgian opposition protests against President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Kommersant runs an article by Oleg Sapozhkov which reports that Kosovo could become a member of the IMF and recalls that five EU Member States (Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia) did not recognise Kosovo's independence.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled Fischer's victory day, by Viktor Prusakov, which reports on a ceremony today in Prague to appoint a temporary Czech Cabinet, headed by Jan Fischer.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that Greenpeace Russia has approved actions of Nord Stream AG on the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline (RIA-Novosti).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the approval by the European Commission of Germany's 18 billion euro aid package for Commerzbank (Reuters).
 
Press Release 5 May 2009
EUROPEAN UNION
DELEGATION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO RUSSIA
 
EC Spring Forecast 2009: a Tough year for the EU, the First Recession in a Decade for Russia
 
The European Commission published its comprehensive spring forecast on May 4. It foresees the GDP in the European Union to fall by 4% this year and to broadly stabilise in 2010, and identifies the worsening of the global financial crisis, a sharp contraction in world trade and ongoing housing market corrections as the main factors behind the recession. In Russia, the growth is projected to be negative in 2009 and moderately positive in 2010; inflation is expected to decelerate slightly, but still remain at double-digit levels; large budget deficits, significant increases in the unemployment rate and major falls in trade and current account surpluses are foreseen.
The EU's economy is currently seen to be in the midst of its deepest and most widespread recession in the post-war era. According to the forecast, labour markets will be severely affected, with the unemployment rate expected to increase to 11% in the EU in 2010. The budget deficit is also projected to rise sharply, to 7¼% of GDP in 2010, reflecting both the slowdown and the discretionary measures taken to support the economy, in line with the European Recovery Plan proposed by the Commission. However, with the impact of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures kicking in, economic growth is expected to regain some momentum in the course of 2010.
Following the global economic downturn, after a decade of robust performance, Russia's growth is expected to be negative in 2009 (-3.8%) and moderately positive in 2010 (1.5%). Inflation is expected to go down from almost 14% to around 10%, as the fall in economic activity and the reduction in commodity prices cushion the inflationary effects of the rouble devaluation. The budget is expected to swing sharply from a hefty surplus to large deficits in 2009 and 2010, of respectively 6.5% and 2.7% of GDP, due to the reduction in commodity prices and in economic activity, plus the large fiscal stimulus packages. The unemployment rate is expected to increase significantly. Russia is also forecast to see major falls in its trade surplus (from 10% of GDP in 2008 to 5.1% in 2009 and 6.3% in 2010) and in current account surplus (from 6% of GDP in 2008 to 1.4% in 2009 and 2.7% in 2010).
 
Useful information:
The European Commission usually publishes economic forecasts four times a year: comprehensive exercises in spring and autumn and lighter interim forecasts published in between, usually in February and September for the largest EU economies and for a few variables only.
 
Full version of the Spring Forecast 2009:
 
The Russia spring forecast 2009:
 
Full version of the interim January forecast 2009:
 
Full version of the Autumn Forecast 2008 (with a chapter on Russia on page 136):
 
 
Weekly review of articles 27 April – 4 May2009
Russia, Bulgaria to sign South Stream agreement soon
Moscow might withdraw from Energy Charter
EU likely to reject Russia’s proposal to replace or amend Energy Charte
Eastern Partnership aims to “disintegrate the post-Soviet space” – expert
Talks last week in Moscow between Russian and Bulgarian PMs, Vladimir Putin and Sergei Stanishev, received broad media coverage, including in the context of the Russian PM’s refusal to participate in an energy summit in Sofia due to disagreements between Moscow and Sofia over the South Stream gas pipeline project. Obviously, the South Stream project was high on the agenda of the Moscow talks. Vremya novostei writes in a comment that “on the one hand, the Bulgarian authorities are interested in the formalization as soon as possible of agreements on the South Stream before Parliamentary elections in the country in July, while on the other hand, Sofia cannot afford such a gesture in relations with Gazprom before a summit on the European Commission-backed Nabucco project scheduled for 8 May in Prague” (Vremya novostei). Despite scepticism voiced by some observers over whether Russia and Bulgaria could reach agreement on the construction of the pipeline, PM Putin said at a press conference following talks with Stanishev that Gazprom and the Bulgarian Energy Holding are to sign an agreement on the South Stream gas pipeline by mid-May, adding that the sides have no disagreements on the project. Some commentators note that Gazprom was more cautious in its press release, saying that the deal will be signed “in the near future”. Experts, cited by RBK daily, do not exclude that in addition to disagreements with transit countries, the implementation of the South Stream project could face “new obstacles, namely, a deficit of the resource base in the light of a conflict [between Gazprom] and Turkmenistan and lack of funding”.
The press highlights Putin’s statement at the same press conference that Russia “sees no point in remaining a signatory to the Energy Charter”. He has thus suggested that Russia might withdraw from the document. In the meantime, Vremya novostei quotes European Commission spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny as saying that he cannot comment on Putin’s statement because the European Commission had not received notification from Russia of the country’s withdrawal from the document.
It is to be noted that Putin made his statement just a week after President Dmitry Medvedev submitted a document, called the “Conceptual Approach to the New Legal Framework for Energy Cooperation”. According to Kommersant, Moscow hopes to promote at the EU-Russia summit on 21-22 May in Khabarovsk its proposals which aim to replace or amend the Energy Charter and to defend Gazprom’s interests in Europe. However, in the daily’s view, the EU’s response to Moscow’s proposals will most likely be negative. On a visit to Moscow on 30 April, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs ruled out President Medvedev’s proposal to replace the Energy Charter with a new treaty.
Ahead of the EUs’ Eastern Partnership summit on 7 May in Prague, the media reports widely on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Italy. Some commentators view his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI as “a serious success of Belarusian diplomacy in the European direction”. Although many observers speak of an “intrigue” over whether Lukashenko will attend the Eastern Partnership summit, some analysts lament that Russia does not pay enough attention to the Eastern Partnership initiative. In his article published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (30/04), political scientist Sergey Zhiltsov describes the initiative as “aiming to disintegrate the post-Soviet space” and “to pull the CIS countries out of Russia’s influence”. In his view, the Eastern Partnership would mean that Russia should “bid farewell to its geopolitical ambitions” and should not consider the post-Soviet space as “a zone of its special interests”. At the same time, the press provides Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at a meeting of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council at the level of Foreign Ministers on 28 April in Luxembourg that Russia “wants to believe assurances from Brussels that [the Eastern Partnership] is not an attempt to create new spheres of influence and not an anti-Russian process”.
23.04.09
Kommersant publishes an article, entitled A package of problems has been created for Gazprom, by Natalia Grib, Mikhail Zygar and Seda Yegikyan, which reports on the approval by the European Parliament in a second reading of the third energy package. The authors comment on the possible impact of the document on Gazprom. http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=1159607
Vremya novostei runs an article by Pavel Lukyanchenko which reports on the visit to Chisinau of outgoing Czech PM Mirek Topolanek for talks with Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin.
In an article by Olga Tomashevskaya, Vremya novostei reports on developments between the EU and Belarus.
RBK daily, in an article by Anatoly Pomortsev, reports on the submission to the UN International Court of Justice of opinions regarding the legality of the Kosovo unilateral declaration of Kosovo's independence. The author mentions negative opinions presented by four EU Member States - Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Spain.
Novye Izvestia reports on the economic crisis in The Netherlands in an article by Alexander Mineyev. The author provides Eurostat data on unemployment rates for individual EU Member States.
In an article by Zurab Nalbandyan, Vremya novostei reports on the presentation by British Chancellor of Exchequer Alistair Darling of the budget against the background of the economic crisis.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on forecasts of the economic situation in Germany for 2010.
Vedomosti publishes an interview with CEO of E.ON Wulf Bernotat which addresses, among other issues, energy security and the Russia-Ukraine gas conflict in January 2009.
 
21.04.09
Parlamentskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Hungarian Ambassador to Russia Gyorgy Gillian which addresses cooperation with Russia, including the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline.
Kommersant publishes an article by Maxim Konovalov and Gennady Sysoyev which reports on the upcoming visit to Italy of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
In an article by Vladislav Kagan, Novye Izvestia reports on an EU invitation to Lukashenko to attend the Eastern Partnership summit on 7 May in Prague.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports briefly on the EU's position towards internal developments in Ukraine.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Bringing Ukraine Into the European Club, by Member of the European Parliament Ari Vatanen, which addresses Ukraine's EU aspirations and EU relations with Ukraine.
In articles by Daria Yurieva and Vladislav Rilsky, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on anti-crisis measures proposed by the Governments of Hungary and Lithuania.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, reports on an election programme of Germany's Social Democrats.
In an article by Boris Yunanov, Vremya novostei reports on a diplomatic row between EU Member States Italy and Malta over a group of illegal immigrants.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on the outcome of Parliamentary elections in the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and address prospects for the Cyprus settlement.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the opening by the European Commission of antitrust probes into the Star Alliance airlines and the members of Oneworld (RIA-Novosti).
7.04.09
Expert weekly magazine carries an insert dedicated to Italy and Russian-Italian relations. The insert publishes an interview with PM Berlusconi.
Kommersant publishes an interview with the head of the Rome Industrialists and Enterprises Association, Aurelio Regina, which addresses bilateral economic relations.
Kommersant publishes as a special supplement “Il Sole 24 Ore” dedicated to Russian-Italian relations.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with French Minister for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac on Russian-French trade and economic relations.
Expert publishes an interview with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov which mentions, among other issues, EU-Russian dialogue on science and technology.
RBK daily reports on latest developments around the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in an article by Yulia Nazarova.
In a special supplement, called ‘Oil and gas’, Kommersant publishes an article by Olga Mordyushenko on Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Expert publishes an interview with expert Konstantin Simonov on energy issues. The EU-Ukraine declaration on the modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation system is also addressed.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Novye Izvestia report on the candidacy of Jan Fischer for the post of a new interim PM of the Czech Republic.
In an article by Vladimir Stroi, Novye Izvestia addresses the economic situation in Latvia and mentions Eurostat data on Latvia’s unemployment rate which is one of the highest among EU Member States.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin and Andrey Denisov which reports on a statement yesterday by EU Economic and Monetary Affaires Commissioner Joaquín Almunia who called for joint representation of the eurozone countries at the IMF.
Izvestia and RBK daily cite IMF recommendations to the Eastern and Central European countries. The IMF inter alia supported the “Euroization” of the EU Member States to solve their financial problems.
Expert carries an article by Olga Vlasova which comments on European integration and effects of the current economic crisis on the EU.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, reports briefly on the victory of Gjorge Ivanov in the 5 April second round of Presidential elections in FYROM. The author mentions the country’s EU and NATO aspirations.
Weekly magazine carries an insert dedicated to Italy and Russian-Italian relations. The insert publishes an interview with PM Berlusconi.
Kommersant publishes an interview with the head of the Rome Industrialists and Enterprises Association, Aurelio Regina, which addresses bilateral economic relations.
Kommersant publishes as a special supplement “Il Sole 24 Ore” dedicated to Russian-Italian relations.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with French Minister for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac on Russian-French trade and economic relations.
Expert publishes an interview with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov which mentions, among other issues, EU-Russian dialogue on science and technology.
RBK daily reports on latest developments around the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in an article by Yulia Nazarova.
In a special supplement, called ‘Oil and gas’, Kommersant publishes an article by Olga Mordyushenko on Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Expert publishes an interview with expert Konstantin Simonov on energy issues. The EU-Ukraine declaration on the modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation system is also addressed.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Novye Izvestia report on the candidacy of Jan Fischer for the post of a new interim PM of the Czech Republic.
In an article by Vladimir Stroi, Novye Izvestia addresses the economic situation in Latvia and mentions Eurostat data on Latvia’s unemployment rate which is one of the highest among EU Member States.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin and Andrey Denisov which reports on a statement yesterday by EU Economic and Monetary Affaires Commissioner Joaquín Almunia who called for joint representation of the eurozone countries at the IMF.
Izvestia and RBK daily cite IMF recommendations to the Eastern and Central European countries. The IMF inter alia supported the “Euroization” of the EU Member States to solve their financial problems.
Expert carries an article by Olga Vlasova which comments on European integration and effects of the current economic crisis on the EU.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, reports briefly on the victory of Gjorge Ivanov in the 5 April second round of Presidential elections in FYROM. The author mentions the country’s EU and NATO aspirations.

 

Kaliningrad region could take part in Eastern Partnership program – Polish ambassador
MOSCOW. April 4 (Interfax) - The Kaliningrad region of Russia could be involved in the Eastern Partnership program initiated by the EU, said Polish Ambassador to Russia Jerzy Artur Bahr.
The Kaliningrad region is in the center of this territory [covered by the Eastern Partnership program], and it could try to take part in this program or another. This really is in the interests of the Kaliningrad region's residents, Bahr said in an interview with Interfax.
This program is based on practice rather than on ideology, Bahr said.
We are delighted to hear positive comments on this project from the official Russian authorities. We hope for understanding on the part of Russia and its participation in what could be of interest to it, he said.
As regards Belarus' involvement in the Eastern Partnership, the Polish diplomat said the European Union has not yet decided on whether Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko can take part in an Eastern Partnership summit on May 7.
This is not a matter of participation or non participation of the Belarusian president but the country as such, which has not been involved in European cooperation for well-known reasons - I mean specifics of the internal political system in Belarus. Therefore, if we can find common ground somewhere, we are prepared for this, he said.
Poland may understand especially clearly that Belarus should be involved in various forms of European cooperation. This process has been receiving certain incentives of late, he said.
The Eastern Partnership program envisions that six countries that were earlier Soviet Union republics, i.e. Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus, could take part in joint projects and be entitled to financial assistance from the EU.
The program should be officially launched at an Eastern Partnership summit scheduled for May 7 in Prague.
 
Russia to join WTO by the moment of signing new agreement with EU - diplomat
MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - Russia will join the World Trade Organization (WTO) before signing a new partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union, said Vladimir Chizhov the Russian permanent representative at the EU.
We proceed from the assumption that Russia will have been a WTO member by the moment we conclude a new fundamental agreement, Chizhov said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Friday.
Chizhov acknowledged that Russia's accession to the WTO is tied to the negotiations with the EU.
If we look at the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, about one third of the text concerns WTO provisions, he said.
 
Russian envoy: EU-Ukraine pipeline deal a threat to EU
MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - A senior Russian diplomat argued on Friday that, by fulfilling its promise to help Ukraine modernize its natural gas pipeline system, the European Union would make Europe more dependent on gas imports that come through Ukraine and that this ran against declared EU plans to diversify its sources of energy imports.
What kind of diversification can you talk about if, in effect, Ukraine is going to have its dominant role as a transit country strengthened? There is no logical connection between the one and the other, Vladimir Chizhov Russia's permanent representative to the European communities, told a news conference at the Interfax headquarters in Moscow.
Chizhov said various EU officials had recently been calling for energy market diversification.
He also expressed annoyance that Russia, where all the gas transmitted through Ukraine comes from, had not been consulted in deciding on volumes of gas to be transported through the modernized system.
He cited the Brussels declaration in which the EU promises its help with the system's modernization as saying the project would increase the system's annual transmission capacity by 60 billion cubic meters.
However, no one asked Russia whether it would be able to provide such amounts and, if it were able to, whether it would be willing to use the Ukrainian pipelines to send them to Europe.
 
Russian, EU energy ministers to discuss energy cooperation in Moscow Apr 30
MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - Energy ministers from Russia and the European Union countries will discuss energy cooperation in Moscow at the end of April, said Vladimir Chizhov the Russian permanent representative at the EU.
Moscow will host a ministerial session of the Permanent Partnership Council dealing with energy issues on April 30, Chizhov said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Friday.
 
Moscow expects EU to view South Stream as project improving energy security - diplomat
MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - Moscow expects the European Union to consider the South Stream gas pipeline project as en element strengthening energy security, said Vladimir Chizhov a Russian permanent representative at the EU.
Speaking at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Friday, Chizhov pointed out that the EU officially considers the Nord Stream gas pipeline project as an element strengthening Europe's energy security.
South Stream does not yet have this status, as this calls for unanimous consent of all the 27 [EU] member-states, and so we expect that a similar decision has to be made at some stage, because this objectively meets the interests of not only our country and the countries that have signed a relevant agreement, but also the European Union on the whole and Europe in general, Chizhov said.
 
Moscow expects explanations from EU on declaration with Ukraine – Russian diplomat
MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - Russia is expecting explanations from the European Union regarding the declaration on the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, which was recently signed between Kyiv and Brussels, said Russian Permanent Representative at the European communities Vladimir Chizhov.
Naturally, we have some questions on it, to which we expect to receive explanations, Chizhov said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Friday.
The well-known Brussels declaration on the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transportation network contradicts the principles and goals of energy dialogue that we and the EU have arranged since 2000, he said.
As regards energy dialogue between Russia and the EU and energy security, Chizhov said, We proceed from an integrated approach toward this issue, and this is exactly what prompted our negative response to the declaration signed by the European Commission, Ukraine, and three international banks.
 
Russia, EU considering text of new partnership, cooperation agreement - diplomat
MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) - Russia and the EU have approached the phase of coordination of the text of a new partnership and cooperation agreement, Russian Permanent Representative at the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said.
We have approached the phase of editing the text, Chizhov said at a press conference at the Interfax main office when talking about the last round of Russian-EU talks dealing with the agreement in Moscow.
Russia and the EU have passed the phase of discussing the new document's concept and structure and exchanged their versions of the texts, which have some differences so far, Chizhov said.
Nevertheless, we have agreed to work out consolidated passages of the text by the next, the fifth, round, he said.
Chizhov acknowledged that the negotiations are proceeding with problems.
We have disagreements on a number of issues, including some quite serious ones, but this is natural, he said.
Nevertheless, after a pause in the talks prompted by the August 2008 crisis in the Caucasus, our negotiations have finally gained the necessary pace, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30.03.09
Vremya novostei and Interfax refer to Deputy PM Igor Sechin who said that Russia sees no reasons for revising its relations with countries and companies of the EU in the wake of the signing of the EU-Ukraine agreement on the modernization of Ukraine's gas transportation system. Interfax news agency quotes the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco as having denied that the EU-Ukraine gas deal was an unfriendly move towards Russia.
Izvestia publishes an interview with Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin which comments on the EU-Ukraine deal on the modernization of Ukraine's gas transportation system.
Kommersat-Vlast addresses the EU-Ukraine agreement and Moscow's reaction to the signing of the document.
Gazeta provides statement on the EU-Ukraine gas deal made by Deputy CEO of Gazprom Valery Golubev and expert commentary on the document.
Novye Izvestia and Vremya novostei report that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will be invited to the founding summit of the EU's Eastern Partnership on 7 May in Prague.
In an article by Alexei Grivach, Vremya novostei reports on EU-Russia energy relations and a Russian-German forum in St. Petersburg.
Kommersant reports briefly on the date of early Parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic and a candidate for the post of Hungary's new PM.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled East Europe's Big Crunch, by David Roche, which addresses the economic situation in Eastern Europe. The comment was published in The Wall Street Journal.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that a contract on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline is expected to be signed in the Bulgarian town of Plovdiv at the end of April (RIA-Novosti).
Gazeta, in an article by Igor Kryuchkov, reports on the completion of Switzerland's entry into the Schengen area by aligning Swiss airports to the new system. The daily cites Vice-President of the European Commission Jacques Barrot who has welcomed the move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.03.09
RBK daily publishes an article, entitled Europe will support the IMF, by Vladimir Pavlov, which reports on the EU summit last week in Brussels. RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on the EU summit; Vremya novostei reports on the EU summit in an article by Yury Shpakov.
Gazeta, Kommersant (Saturday's issue), Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report that the Nabucco gas pipeline project has been put back on the EU priority list.
Gazeta, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Trud report on Hungarian PM Ferenc Gyurcsany's announcement of his resignation as his Government's popularity plummets against the backdrop of the global economic crisis. Kommersant, in an article by Alexander Gabuyev, expresses the view that Gyurcsany's resignation has become an unpleasant surprise for Moscow.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Nadezhda Arbatova which addresses the August 2008 conflict in the Caucasus, its impact on the European security system and Moscow's proposal of a new architecture of European security.
Izvestia and Kommersant report on the candidacy of Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen for the post of the next NATO Secretary-General.
Kommersant, in an article by Alexander Kuranov, reports briefly on the first round of Presidential elections in Slovakia.
In an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, Kommersant reports on Presidential elections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The author also comments on FYROM's Euro-Atlantic integration.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on European Commission rose wine plans and the reaction by French winemakers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.03.09
In a special supplement 'NG-Energy', Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Oleg Nikiforov which addresses energy efficiency projects in the EU.
RBK daily runs an article by Yekaterina Lulchak which addresses the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and post-Kyoto negotiations. The author also mentions EU commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
Gazeta (The Daily Telegraph) and RBK daily report on the economic situation in the UK.
In an article by Valery Masterov, Vremya novostei reports on possible candidates for the post of Poland's Ambassador to Russia.
Izvestia and Vremya novostei report on a commemoration march staged yesterday in Riga by Latvian Legion veterans and their supporters despite the Latvian authorities' ban.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on a Gender-Neutral Language pamphlet, issued by the European Parliament, which bans terms such as 'Madame' and 'Mademoiselle', 'Frau' and 'Fraulein' etc for MEPs. The pamphlet was distributed by the European Parliament's Secretary-General Harold Romer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.03.09
Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme in an article by Anatoly Filippov. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the Eastern Partnership initiative in an editorial, entitled “The CIS-2 under EU control”.
Vedomosti, in an article by Maria Shpigel and Denis Malkov, addresses EU anti-crisis measures ahead of a G20 summit in London.
In an article by Nikolai Kochelyagin, Vremya novostei reports on EU measures to tighten control over financial institutions and mentions a call by President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel to fight against tax havens.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Georgy Voronkov, reports that the EU may lend up to $100 billion to the IMF to help fight against the economic crisis.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by EU HR Javier Solana which addresses activities of the EU mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR Chad/CAR) and the planned handover to UN mission in Chad.
Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, RBK daily and Vremya novostei report on France’s return to the NATO military command structure.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta runs an article by Alexander Krasulin which addresses Russia’s proposal of a new European security pact.
Gazeta publishes an article by Lilia Biryukova which reports on the EU-funded project on access to justice in Russia with the budget of 2.8 million euro.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports briefly that the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee has backed the election of EU future President for a five-year term.
In an article by Vladimir Skripov, Vremya novostei reports about the candidature of EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite for the Lithuanian Presidency.
Kommersant, in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, reports briefly on the nomination by the EU of Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko as the new EU envoy to Bosnia.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Compromise is inevitable”, by Tatiana Ivzhenko, which mentions a conference scheduled for 23 March in Brussels to discuss the modernisation of Ukraine’s gas transportation system and the planned visit to Brussels of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.
Vremya novostei reports on latest developments around the Nord Stream gas pipeline project and GDF Suez possible joining the project in an article by Yury Shpakov.
Vremya novostei cites briefly US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza as saying that the US is against of Iran’s participation in the Nabucco gas pipeline project (RIA-Novosti).
RBK daily carries an article, entitled “A biodiesel war”, by Dmitry Koptyubenko, which reports on “biodiesel row” between the EU and the US.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on European Investment Bank plans to lend an additional 3 billion euro to carmakers (ITAR-TASS).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.03.09
Kommersant publishes an interview with Latvian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andris Teikmanis which addresses bilateral relations, President Medvedev’s proposal of a European security treaty, the August 2008 conflict in South Ossetia and the EU’s position on Russia’s actions and its recognition of Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence, and the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme.
Kommersant runs an article by Pyotr Netreba which reports on latest developments around the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
In an article by Yekaterina Bogomolova, Gazeta mentions Lithuania’s commitment to shut down the Ignalina nuclear power plant in line with EU demands.
Itogi weekly magazine publishes an article by Andrey Kamakin, Nikolai Zimin and Kirill Privalov, which addresses anti-crisis measures of France, Germany, Russia and the US.
Itogi publishes a commentary by Russian writer Alexander Prokhanov on developments in the EU against the backdrop of the economic crisis.
 
6.03.09
Vedomosti publishes an article by Financial Times observer Gideon Rachman which addresses latest developments in the EU amid the global economic crisis. Having mentioned the four freedoms established by the EU – free movement of goods, people, services and capital - as “huge and tangible achievements”, the author expresses the view that “the EU is in trouble”.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Yury Shpakov, cites EU Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen on EU aid to Opel.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta addresses EU Member States Governments’ measures to save the car industry in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev.
RBK daily runs an article by Andrey Kotov which reports on EU proposals to tighten control over credit rating agencies.
In an article by Tatiana Romanova, RBK daily comments on the economic situation in the euro zone.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta publishes an article, by Yury Stroganov, about EU Financial Programming and Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite and her plans to run in this year’s Presidential elections in Lithuania.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Vice-President of the Assembly of Vojvodina Igor Mirovic in which he backed Serbia’s accession to the EU “together with Kosovo as the country’s part”.
In an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, Gazeta reports on attitudes in EU Member States towards disabled people.
 
5.03.09
Izvestia publishes an article, entitled “Medvedev, Zapatero and ‘Europe’”, by Vitaly Tretyakov, which addresses the issue of European security and Russia’s relations with Europe.
Vedomosti publishes in Russian a Wall Street Journal article which reports that the ECB is against Eastern European countries’ quick entry into the euro zone.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on European Commission proposals to tighten control over credit rating agencies and cites EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy (Reuters).
In an article by Daria Zhdanova, Vremya novostei reports on the composition of Latvia’s new Government.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the approval by EU Member States of duties on imports of US biodiesel. The duties will be in effect for six months (RIA-Novosti).
 
4.03.09
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Valery Masterov which reports on Polish PM Donald Tusk’s participation in the EU extraordinary summit in Brussels and his position on a bailout for Eastern Europe.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on EU-Belarus relations in an article by Anton Khodasevich.
Kommersant runs an article by Oleg Zorin which reports that the European Parliament and the European Commission are preparing a statement denouncing the manifestation of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
In an article by Sergey Kulikov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on developments around the construction of a gas pipeline Turkey-Greece-Italy to supply Azerbaijani gas bypassing Russia as of 2015.
Vremya novostei cites briefly Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Alfredo Mantica as having backed a project to build a gas pipeline to supply Azerbaijani gas through Turkey (Interfax).
 
2.03.09
Dailies report widely on the extraordinary EU summit on 1 March devoted to the economic crisis. The following dailies have published articles on the issue: Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the financial situation in the euro zone (ITAR-TASS).
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with German political scientist Alexander Rahr which addresses, among other issues, solidarity between EU Member States.
In a special supplement ‘NG-Dipkurier’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yekaterina Kuznetsova which comments on energy security and EU-Russia energy relations.
Novye Izvestia runs an article by Vladimir Stroi which reports on the formation of an ‘anti-crisis’ Government in Latvia.
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine reports on the economic situation in Latvia in an article by Yegor Nizamov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20.02.09

Vremya novostei comments on latest developments between the EU and Belarus and the visit to Minsk of EU HR Javier Solana in an article by Olga Tomashevskaya. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the issue in an article, entitled Europe to buy Belarus?, by Anton Khodasevich; Kommersant - in an article, entitled Belarus has found a Euro-ally, by Vladimir Solovyov.
Kommersant publishes an article by Mikhail Zygar and Natalia Grib which reports on the visit to Iran of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. As the authors write, his visit coincided with the start of serious negotiations between Iran and EU representatives on Iran's possible joining the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Serbian President Boris Tadic which addresses the issue of Kosovo and the EU's role.
In an article by Vladimir Pavlov, RBK daily reports on talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso ahead of a European summit on Sunday to discuss the global financial crisis.
Vedomosti reports on financial aid to Eastern European countries and mentions the Merkel-Barroso meeting in an article by Vasily Kashin.
Kommersant reports on French Government anti-crisis measures in an article by Natalia Portyakova.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on Germany's position on providing financial aid to other EU Member States amid the global slowdown and cites German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck (ITAR-TASS).
RBK daily, in an article by Anatoly Pomortsev, reports on a planned meeting of the leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia with European Commission President Barroso scheduled for 1 March in Brussels to discuss anti-crisis measures.
RBK daily runs an article by Tatiana Milacheva which reports on Turkmenistan's gas reserves (South Yolotan-Osman natural-gas field) and mentions the EU's interest in Turkmen gas supplies and the prospects for Turkmenistan joining the Nabucco project.
 
19.02.09
Kommersant publishes an interview with spokesman for the EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, which addresses EU-Russia energy relations, including in the light of the recent gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The interview is entitled South Stream is not a priority, Nabucco is more important for the EU.
Vremya novostei reports on the visit today to Belarus of EU HR Javier Solana in an article, entitled A soft buffer, by Olga Tomashevskaya. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Solana's visit in an article by Anton Khodasevich; Kommersant reports briefly on this issue in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Viktor Prusakov which reports on the approval on Wednesday by the lower house of the Czech Parliament of the Lisbon Treaty. Kommersant reports on the same issue in an article by Galina Dudina.
In an article by Ivan Sotnikov, Gazeta reports on German Government anti-crisis measures in the banking sector.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the European Commission's move on excessive budget deficits in six EU Member States (France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Malta and Spain) and cites EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia (ITAR-TASS, BNS).

 

 

Lavrov meeting with European Troika officials in Moscow
MOSCOW. Feb 11 (Interfax) - The authorities in Moscow believe that Russia and the European Union have a strategic relationship, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov <javascript:void(0);> said opening a meeting with European Troika representatives on Wednesday.
We regard our relations as those of a strategic nature, Lavrov said.
We are confident in our future. The final months of last year and [the first] months of this year have confirmed that Russia and the EU are able to focus on the essence of problems in a wide variety of situations, although their positions differ, the minister said.
Lavrov said he is hopeful that this principle will govern today's talks as well.
The meeting is expected to involve an exchange of opinions on Russia-EU relations in various areas today, the minister said, adding that its participants will also discuss European security and other key
international and regional problems.
Cooperation between Russia and the EU is increasingly important, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said. The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
Schwarzenberg also said he hopes that progress will be made in the parties' negotiations on their new partnership and cooperation agreement.
The meeting's participants are Czech Minister Schwarzenberg, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, EU High Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, whose country is to take over the EU presidency in the second half of the year.
 
EU's Solana says Russia-EU deal may take some time to conclude
11.022009 12:47 MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Wednesday it was too early to say when a new Russia-EU cooperation agreement would be reached.
The new agreement is set to replace the 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was extended for a year when it expired in December 2007. Talks on a new deal have been repeatedly delayed, initially by Poland and Lithuania and most recently over Russia's August conflict with Georgia over South Ossetia.
A decision to resume the negotiations was made at the Russia-EU summit in Nice on November 14, despite objections from Lithuania.
We have had three rounds of negotiations so far, which have allowed us to get a better view of each others' positions. However, we are still very much in the initial phases of a negotiating process which could take some time, Solana, who is currently on a visit to Moscow, said.
However, he said that since the issue was of importance both for Russia and the European Union it would be desirable for all parties if negotiations were concluded as quickly as possible.
There is no doubt, however, that this is an important negotiation, for both of us, and that we will try to make quick progress, he said.
 
EU must review energy relations with Russia, Ukraine – Solana
11.02.2009 12:17 MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union needs to review its energy relations with Russia and Ukraine in the wake of January's natural gas row between the two countries, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Wednesday.
Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine on January 1 after the former Soviet neighbors failed to reach an agreement on a new gas contract for 2009. A week later, Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to the European Union, saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.
We paid a heavy price for a dispute between our biggest energy provider and our most important transit country. We need to review the energy relations we have with the two countries, Solana said.
He said that even though the political and economic union of 27 member states would look to diversify energy sources and supplies, the EU must secure agreements with Russia and Ukraine that would prevent a reoccurrence of January's disruptions to supplies.
The new agreements we are negotiating with both Russia and Ukraine will need to contain substantive elements on energy that allow us to ensure that such crises do not happen again. All those left in the cold in January are rightly expecting us [the EU] to come up with answers, Solana said.
The EU gets a quarter of its gas from Russia, 80% of which comes via Ukraine.
Solana also said that Russia and Ukraine would remain important energy partners.
Russia and Ukraine will continue to be important energy supply and transit partners for the EU for the foreseeable future. It will, therefore, be important to forge reliable long-term energy partnerships offering security and stability for both sides, he said.
Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom signed a gas supply and transit agreement on January 19 after the Ukrainian and Russian prime ministers, Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin, became involved in the dispute.
Under the terms of the contract, Ukraine will have to pay Russia $450 per 1,000 cu m with a 20% discount while transit fees have not been revised.
However, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said on Tuesday that Tymoshenko did not have the authority to agree the deal.
The prime minister was not authorized to make the decisions taken as part of the Moscow agreements [on gas supplies], Yushchenko said, adding that the deal directly threatens the independence of Ukraine.
 
Weekly review 2-10 February 2009
EU delegation, Russian leaders hold talks in Moscow
Medvedev calls for revision of Energy Charter
Putin, Barroso “trade barbs on human rights”
EU-Russia relations in the situation of “a cold peace”?
In the run-up of the visit to Moscow on 6 February of a European Commission delegation led by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev and PM Vladimir Putin, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (04/02) wrote that the visit could be viewed as a return to ‘business as usual’ in EU-Russia relations. Observers outlined the energy security issue in the light of the recent gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine among the main issues on the agenda. Ahead of the visit, Kommersant (06/02) wrote that “Moscow intended to promote a draft agreement which is designed to replace the Energy Charter and regulate EU-Russia relations in the energy area”, adding that the Russian side might put forward a proposal on “Gazprom’s access to assets in Europe in exchange for EU investors’ access to Russian subsoil”. Another proposal could include an idea of creating an international gas transportation consortium with the participation of Russia and the EU “to control the Ukrainian gas transportation system”. In the view of Kommersant, there is “no consolidated position in the EU on how to deal with Russia after the gas war”. While some of Russia’s proposals are backed by Moscow’s traditional partners, first of all Germany and France, as the daily writes, “the European Commission is confident that the gas crisis has proven the importance of the Energy Charter principles”. Summing up the talks in Moscow, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (09/02) points to President Medvedev’s statement on the need for a revision of the Energy Charter or of a development of a new ‘Energy Charter’ which would help to prevent a repetition of gas disputes similar to that between Russian and Ukraine in January. The press also addressed the WTO issue in EU-Russia relations. Ahead of the European Commission delegation’s visit, The Moscow Times (04/02) cited the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco who voiced concern over a lack of progress in negotiations on Russia’s WTO membership. On 6 February in Moscow, Barroso reiterated that the EU supported Russia’s bid to join the WTO.
In the meantime, Vremya novostei (09/02) writes that the Russian gas supply issue was not only the main issue on the agenda but also “the only one on which the sides did not disagree”. In this context, the media points to “barbs traded by Putin and Barroso over human rights” at a joint press conference following talks. Putin’s and Barroso’s human rights statements have overshadowed other issues discussed by Russian and EU officials, including the global crisis or a new climate change agreement for the post-Kyoto period or cooperation in the field of justice, freedom and security. At the joint press conference with the Russian Premier, Barroso notably said that he had discussed rule of law issues with President Medvedev and expressed concern over the recent killings of journalists and rights activists in Russia. Putin replied that Barroso mentioned his conversation with Medvedev, while President Medvedev was absent to respond. Putin also expressed Russia’s dissatisfaction “with how the issue of Russian-speaking populations in the Baltic states is being resolved”, and accused EU countries of violating the rights of immigrants. The media provides Putin’s statement that Russia is ready for compromises with the EU, but that those compromises should be reached on the basis of equality.
Assessing the state of the EU-Russia relationship, Izvestia laments that despite regular summits between the EU and Russia and the signing of the four roadmaps on the four common spaces, the sides continue to lodge claims. While the EU “tells us about human rights, energy security and South Ossetia, Russia points to the Kosovo precedent and the equal rights for all”. Some political experts call this situation “a cold peace”.

Sources: Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, RIA-Novosti, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times, Vremya novostei. 

 

7-9.02.09
Izvestia publishes an article by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachyov which addresses Russia’s relations with the EU and NATO.
Novaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Internal problems of external policy”, by Dmitry Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, which addresses Russia’s foreign policy, including relations with the EU.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on a planned meeting on Tuesday between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to discuss, among other issues, EU-US relations and the missile defence issue. On Wednesday, Schwarzenberg will visit Russia.
The Moscow Times reports briefly that Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas said he was ready to worm up relations with Russia (Reuters).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Ilya Kononov which mentions a meeting between EU HR Javier Solana and Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on the sidelines of the Munich conference on security.
Vremya novostei carries an article by Yury Shpakov which reports on Russia’s and Germany’s plans to implement joint projects in the area of energy efficiency.
In an article by Giovanni Bensi, Vremya novostei reports on Italy’s measures against illegal immigration.
Kommersant, in an article by Natalia Portyakova, reports on the results of a referendum in Switzerland on an expanded labour agreement with the EU that allows workers from Bulgaria and Romania to work in Switzerland.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the same issue (RIA-Novosti).
Political and economic headlines:
Russian leaders, EU delegation hold talks in Moscow: Commenting on the visit on Friday to Moscow of a European Commission delegation led by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and PM Vladimir Putin, Vremya novostei writes that the Russian gas supply issue was the main issue on the agenda and “the only one on which the sides did not disagree”. The media points to “barbs traded by Putin and Barroso over human rights” at a joint press conference following talks. Barroso notably said that he had discussed rule of law issues with President Medvedev. Putin replied that Barroso mentioned his conversation with Medvedev, while President Medvedev was absent to respond. Putin also expressed Russia’s dissatisfaction “with how the issue of Russian-speaking populations in the Baltic states is being resolved”, and accused EU countries of violating the rights of immigrants. Izvestia reports on Putin’s and Barroso’s human rights statements in an article, entitled “Political hockey”. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN).
EU and Russia discuss gas pipelines: While European Commission President Barroso, as Rosssiiskaya gazeta reports, said that the EU was discussing an allocation of funds to build the Nabucco gas pipeline, he said that the EU does not oppose Nabucco to the Nord Stream and the South Stream projects. PM Putin called the fact that Barroso reiterated the EU’s interest in the construction of the Nord Stream and the South Stream gas pipelines as ‘a big factor in itself’. (RG).
Medvedev on Energy Charter: Meeting with European Commission President Barroso, President Medvedev spoke of the need for a revision of the Energy Charter or of a development of a new ‘Energy Charter’ which would help to prevent a repetition of gas disputes similar to that between Russian and Ukraine in January. (RG)
EU supports Russia’s bid for WTO: European Commission President Barroso was quoted as saying at a press conference summing up the results of the European Commission delegation’s visit to Russia that the EU extended its support for an early Russia’s accession to the WTO. (Novye Izvestia, VN)
Russia and EU discuss new post-Kyoto agreement: EU Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas met with Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Ecology Stanislav Ananyev to discuss international efforts to prepare a new climate agreement for the post-Kyoto period. (Interfax)
 
6.02.09
Kommersant, in an article by Alexander Gabuyev and Natalia Grib, reports on the approval on Wednesday by the European Parliament of a report on the EU’s Second Strategic Energy Review. The daily recalls that in her interview with Kommersant, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner described the Nabucco project as the key part of a Southern Gas Corridor.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, which addresses EU-Russia relations.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Sergey Kulikov which addresses latest developments around the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on the importance of Caspian energy resources for Europe and refers to CEO of OMV Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer (ITAR-TASS).
RBK daily runs an article by Andrey Kotov which comments on European Central Bank monetary policy.
In an article by Anatoly Pomortsev, RBK daily mentions the approval by the European Parliament of new rules which envisage penalties against employers of illegal immigrants.
In a special supplement, called ‘NG-Antrakt’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Czech artist David Cerny's installation in the European Council building in Brussels in an article by Yulia Vinogradova.
 
5.02.09
In the run-up to the visit to Moscow of a European Commission delegation, Kommersant publishes an interview with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner which addresses, among other issues, the EU's Eastern Partnership programme, the consequences of the recent gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine and EU plans to diversify sources of energy supply and transit routes.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Alexander Mineyev which reports on the European Commission delegation's visit to Moscow, and a number of upcoming political contacts between the EU and Russia (including the EU Troika's visit to Moscow and the next round of EU-Russia talks on a new agreement).
In an article by Yevgeny Shestakov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on a joint article by President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel which addresses the issue of European security, cooperation between NATO and the EU, and relations between the EU with the US and Russia.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Russia's Separate Destiny, by John Thornhill, the Europe edition editor of the Financial Times, which comments of Russia's recent disputes and Georgia and Ukraine and mentions the EU-Russia relationship. The author also comments on Russians' attitude toward the EU. The comment appeared in the Financial Times.
Kommersant publishes an article by British Ambassador to Russia Anne Pringle which addresses the issue of environmental security.
Gazeta publishes an interview with Czech Ambassador to Russia Miroslav Kostelka on the Czech Presidency's priorities, EU-Russia relations, the missile defence issue and the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty.
In an article by Vladislav Vorobyov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the visit to Russia of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and the presentation of his book which addresses inter alia Bulgaria's accession to the EU and NATO.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Vladimir Belousov, reports on EULEX mission to Kosovo.
Izvestia publishes an interview with the organiser of a Munich security conference Wolfgang Ischinger which addresses inter alia the recent gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine and the issue of energy security of the EU.
 
Brussels, 5 February 2009
President Barroso and nine members of the Commission head to Moscow for meetings with the Russian Government
On 6 February, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and nine Members of the European Commission (Vice-Presidents G.Verheugen, J.Barrot, S.Kallas, and A.Tajani; and Commissioners S.Dimas, J.Almunia, B.Ferrero-Waldner, A.Piebalgs, and C.Ashton) will go to Moscow to meet the Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and members of the Russian government. The purpose of this high-level meeting is to address important bilateral issues and to set out the strategic direction for EU-Russia relations in the coming years. In addition to pressing common concerns such as the current global economic crisis and the international climate change negotiations, the Commission and the Russian Government will discuss a wide array of crucial bilateral topics, including security of energy supplies, trade and border crossing issues.
Prior to the visit, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, said: “The continuing financial and economic crises as well as new security and energy challenges we face underline our inter-dependence. It is urgent to get this relationship to work to our best advantage, acknowledging our differences but also our values and common international commitments. I hope that together we can identify ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the EU-Russia partnership. I look forward to discussing how we can work together to build-up trust and make the EU-Russia relationship a more reliable partnership at all levels.”
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner added: The new agreement currently under negotiation is a chance for both sides to realise the full potential of our relationship, with well established ground rules in key areas. Russia is a crucial partner for the EU in international matters from climate change to the Middle East and Afghanistan but alongside these important topics we need also to maintain our channels of communication on issues where we do not agree, and notably our differing views on the respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.
Similar meetings between the Commission and the Russian Government took place in 2004 in Moscow and in 2005 in Brussels.
The global economic crisis and joint efforts to mitigate its effects on the EU and Russian economies are high on the agenda. So are the issues of energy relations and climate change. In addition to that, the two sides will assess the progress of the New Agreement negotiations and look for ways to ensure smooth and substantive talks in the coming months. It is the position of the Commission that the recent gas crisis has underlined the importance for the principles of the Energy Charter to be included in the energy chapter of the New Agreement. Russia’s WTO accession will also be discussed – the Commission believes it should be possible to make further progress on outstanding issues, and bring the process to a conclusion soon.
Over the years strong people-to-people links have grown between the European Union and Russia. The Commission together with the Russian government will look at how to further contribute to these links by developing exchange programmes, and by making it easier for people to travel to and from the EU and Russia.
 
Russia-EU summit could take place on May 21-22 – Czech ambassador
MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – A Russia-EU summit is expected to take place on May 21 - 22, Czech Ambassador to Russia Miroslav Kostelka said.
The summit is scheduled for the end of our presidency in the EU, probably May 21 - 22, Kostelka told a briefing in Moscow on Tuesday.
As of now the place of the summit has yet to be decided on, the ambassador said.
Barroso to visit Moscow for talks with Russian leadership.
 
MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – Talks are to be held in Moscow this week between European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on trade and economic ties between Russia and the European Union, the European Commission mission chief in Moscow Marc Franco said on Tuesday.
The discussion will deal with the effects of the recent gas crisis and related concerns, and with issues pertaining to trade, he said.
Barroso also plans to meet with President Dmitry Medvedev Franco said.
Among the problems to be discussed is permits for workers and working visas, he said. One cannot get foreign investment if there is no foreign workforce and foreign managers in the country, which is something the Russian side must understand, Franco continued.
He said the current situation is due to a mixture of bureaucratic inertness and sabotage.
He said this issue should be weighed up at a summit level. Only this way can the implementation of decisions be controlled, he added. Hopefully, this problem will be discussed during Barroso's visit to Moscow on Friday, Franco said.
Czech Ambassador to Russia Miroslav Kostelka in turn said that the agenda of the talks will also include issues related to the Russia-EU neighborhood policy, as well as the problem of the growing Russian presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Czech ambassador spoke in favor of good relations between Russia and the European Commission, and between Russia and the Czech presidency of the European Union.
No early switch possible to visa-free travel between Russia-EU - Brussels
 
MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – The European Commission sees as absolutely unrealistic Russia's statement that it is prepared to switch to a visa-free travel regime with the European Union.
This is a bluff, Marc Franco, the European Commission mission chief in Moscow, said at a press briefing in Moscow on Tuesday, citing colleagues in Brussels. This [an early switch to visa-free travel] will not happen, he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said that Moscow was prepared to switch to a visa-free travel regime with the European Union tomorrow, if the European Union agrees to that.
Franco said in this connection that the Russian side itself, first of all its law enforcement agencies, would oppose such an occurrence.
In the first place, reliable agreements should be reached on transit and on cooperation between law enforcement agencies, Franco said.
They [the Russian side] argue, said Franco, that they are prepared to do this tomorrow and that we are against it.
This is not true, said Franco.
Gazprom has equal right with other companies to invest in Europe’s gas nets – EC.
 
MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – The European Commission (EC) thinks that Gazprom (RTS: GAZP) has the same rights as other companies to invest in European gas distribution networks.
Gazprom, if complying with European norms, has the same right to invest and the right to other types of activity as any other company in the world, Marc Franco, the European Commission mission chief in Moscow, said at a press briefing in Moscow on Tuesday.
This does not apply to buying networks and companies, which are a monopoly in a certain energy area, he said. No country ever cedes its strategic energy facilities to anyone, Franco said.
 
Russian govt, European Commission to meet in Moscow on Feb 6
MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – The Russian government and the administration of the European Commission will meet in Moscow on February 6, the Russian government reported.
Among the participants of the meeting will be Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and European Commission Chairman Manuel Barroso, the report said.
In addition to the plenary session, the heads of several Russian ministries and agencies are scheduled to meet with European Commission officials in charge of specific areas of cooperation with Russia, the report said.
Ex-PM Kasyanov to speak at intl conference on Russia-EU relations in Tallinn
 
MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – Leader of the Russian People's Democratic Union, ex-Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is going to speak at the international conference entitled 'EU-Russia relations: efficient cooperation or putting up with disunity' in Tallinn on February 5-7.
Kasyanov will speak about the consequences of two crises in Russia-EU relations, his aide Yelena Dikun said on Tuesday. The issue is about the August 2008 crisis in the Caucasus and problems with Russian gas deliveries to Europe, she noted.
Kasyanov is going to raise the issue of prospects of overcoming these acute problems, she said.
The conference was organized by the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party of which Russian People's Democratic Union is a part, she said.
In Tallinn Kasyanov will also meet with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, members of the government and the leadership of the parliament, Dikun said.
 
3.02.09
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Pyotr Skobelev which reports on a meeting yesterday in Moscow between PM Vladimir Putin and leader of the European People's Party Wilfried Martens.
Interfax news agency reports on a meeting yesterday in Moscow between Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko and the Head of the European Commission to Russia Marc Franco to discuss upcoming EU-Russia political contacts.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Time to Take the Riddle Out of Russia”, by Tunne Kelam, an Estonian Member of the European Parliament, which addresses Europe’s relations with Russia.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Vitaly Dymarsky which comments on recent statements by Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, including on the Transnistrian settlement, relations with Romania and the Nabucco project.
In an article by Svetlana Gamova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on upcoming Parliamentary elections in Moldova [scheduled for 5 April] and the country’s relations with Russia and the EU.
Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Maria Semina which reports on the green card system in the Czech Republic for non-EU immigrants.
Vedomosti, in an article by Denis Malkov, reports on developments in Latvia against the backdrop of the economic crisis.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei reports on developments in Lithuania. Vremya novostei mentions the recent visit to Lithuania of EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Dalia Grybauskaite, who is mentioned in Lithuania among possible Presidential candidates.
In an article by Sergey Merinov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the economic situation in Iceland and the country’s possible application for EU membership.
Expert weekly magazine reports in an editorial on the Budapest conference to discuss the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a European Commission proposal with the purpose to reduce tax evasion and refers to EU Taxation Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs (ITAR-TASS).
 
29.01.09
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Natalia Rozhkova which addresses Foreign Minister Lavrov’s speech at the Federation Council on Wednesday, including his statement on a new agreement between Russia and the EU.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Alexei Ilyin, reports on Lavrov’s speech at the Federation Council and mentions his commentary on a visa dialogue with the EU.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Vadim Smirnov which reports on a dialogue between the EU and Russia on simplifying visa rules for residents of the Kaliningrad region.
Kommersant, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei (RIA-Novosti) report on a European Commission proposal to allocate €3.5 billion for energy projects in three areas: gas and electricity interconnections, the next generation of offshore wind technology and Carbon Capture and Storage. Kommersant mentions that €250 million out of the €3.5 billion are envisioned for the Nabucco pipeline.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the conference in Budapest on the Nabucco gas pipeline project in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev.
Izvestia reports on the Budapest conference on Nabucco in an article by Pavel Arabov.
Kommersant, in an article by Oleg Zorin, reports on the visit to Brussels of Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov for talks with EU officials and prospects for Belarus’ participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Tatiana Ivzhenko which reports on the recent visit of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to Brussels for talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Yushchenko’s recent talks with Czech PM Mirek Topolanek and Polish President Lech Kaczynski on the gas issue.
Kommersant reports on upcoming early Parliamentary elections in Montenegro and mentions this country’s application for EU membership in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov.
In an article by Natalia Portyakova, Kommersant mentions the results of a poll in Iceland on the Icelanders’ attitude towards their country’s possible membership of the EU.
RBK daily carries an article, entitled “A new face of hunger”, by Artyom Oparin, which reports on statements by World Bank representatives at a UN-sponsored summit in Madrid on the global food crisis. According to some experts, Albania, Moldova and Romania (which is an EU Member State) could face food problems in the near future.
In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei reports on anti-crisis measures undertaken by EU Member States and cites a proposal by Klaus Mangold, Chairman of Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, to coordinate anti-crisis actions between the EU and its neighbours in Eastern Europe.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on anti-trust charges brought by the European Commission against Intel (The Register).
 
 
28.01.09
Dailies report broadly on a conference in Budapest on the Nabucco gas pipeline project and cite statements by Czech PM Mirek Topolanek and EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. The following dailies have published articles on the issue: Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times (Bloomberg) and Vremya novostei (See economic headlines).
Kommersant publishes an interview with EU Special Representative for Moldova Kalman Mizsei which addresses the Transnistrian settlement. Mizsei pointed out that the Transnistrian problem must be settled in the '5+2' format only.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times (AP) report on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Brussels and his talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss the gas issue.
Vedomosti publishes a Financial Times article on the Russia-Ukraine gas contracts and mentions the EU's reaction to the recent gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Valery Masterov, addresses Poland's relations with Ukraine and mentions the visit to Wroclaw of Ukrainian President Yushchenko for talks with Czech PM Mirek Topolanek and Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
In an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, Vremya novostei reports briefly that Iran yesterday denounced the EU's decision to remove Iranian group Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from its black list of terrorist organisations.
Expert weekly magazine publishes an article by Olga Vlasova and Ivan Rubanov which comments on the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute and addresses the issue of diversifying energy supplies to the EU.
Gazeta publishes in Russian a Daily Telegraph article on the economic situation in Iceland and does not rule out that the country could apply for EU membership. The daily refers to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn who suggested that Iceland might apply for EU entry this year.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta publishes an article by Sergey Pravosudov, the head of the Institute for National Energy, which comments on the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute and transit risks for gas supplies to Europe.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta runs an article, entitled Crisis and pipes, by Vitaly Yusufov, which reports on the Nord Stream project.
In an article by Alexei Baliyev and Alexei Morozov, Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta reports on Russian gas transit to EU Member States and new gas pipelines projects.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta publishes an article by Alexei Morozov which addresses the issue of alternative sources of energy in the EU.
Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta publishes an article prepared by the Institute for National Energy on gas prices and mentions EU plans to achieve 20% substitution of diesel and gasoline by alternative fuels by 2020.
 
27.01.09
Kommersant publishes an article by Pyotr Netreba and Vladimir Solovyov which reports on discussions of European energy security. The authors report on EU Foreign Ministers' meeting in Brussels and a conference on the Nabucco gas pipeline in Budapest.
Vremya novostei reports on the Budapest conference on Nabucco in an article by Alexei Grivach; The Moscow Times in an article, entitled Gas Pipeline Summit Faces Tough Choices, by George Jahn (AP). RBK daily mentions briefly yesterday's statement by Hungarian PM Ferenc Gyurcsany who said that EU Member States hit by the recent gas crisis should seek compensation for the damage caused by the halt in gas supplies.
Trud reports on the Nabucco project in an article by Pyotr Geltishchev.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Svetlana Gamova which addresses the Transnistrian settlement process and comments on Romania's wish to join the process. The daily cites EU Special Representative for Moldova Kalman Mizsei as having described the 5+2 format as viable and the only legitimate format.
 
26.01.09
Vedomosti publishes an article by Denis Malkov dedicated to activities of Czech PM Mirek Topolanek.
Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine publishes an article, entitled Where pipes go, by Vladimir Solovyov, which comments on the Russia-Ukraine gas conflict and the EU's reaction. The author pays special attention to the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries an article by Sokhbet Mamedov which reports on Nabucco and the visit last week of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov to Azerbaijan to discuss energy issues, including the possible supply of Azeri gas to Bulgaria.
In an article by Boris Yunanov, Novaya Gazeta reports on plans to set up an OPEC-style gas cartel and mentions Russian gas supplies to the EU and the possible involvement of Iran in the Nabucco project.
Vremya novostei publishes an article, entitled A pipe through the Pyrenees, by Alexander Zditovetsky, which addresses the search by Portugal and Spain of alternative sources of energy.
Nezavisimaya gazeta addresses, among other issues, the recent gas crisis and its impact on EU-Russia relations in an article by Dmitry Trenin.
Vremya novostei publishes fragments of the speech at a Handelsblatt energy forum last week in Berlin of CEO of RWE Juergen Grossmann on the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute and European energy security.
In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei cites CEO of E.ON Ruhrgas Bernhard Reutersberg on Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Anton Khodasevich, reports on the visit of Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov to Brussels and EU-Belarus relations. Vremya novostei reports on prospects for a dialogue between the EU and Belarus in an article by Olga Tomashevskaya.
RBK daily runs an article by Anatoly Pomortsev which reports on the situation in Kosovo after the launch of the Kosovo Security Force and the role in the region of the EU, NATO and the UN.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev which reports on US President Barack Obama's decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the planned discussion by EU Foreign Ministers today in Brussels of the issue of accepting former Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
 
23.01.09
Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on the Czech Presidency of the EU in an article by Vladimir Silkin.
The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports briefly that PM Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Czech PM Mirek Topolanek. No date has yet been set.
Izvestia cites CEO of Wingas Rainer Seele as having spoken of the need to construct the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Vremya novostei reports briefly on E.ON Ruhrgas' investment in the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline (ITAR-TASS).
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on possible legal actions by European companies against Gazprom in the wake of the gas crisis and refers to a statement in this regard by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Medvedev Aims to Sweet-Talk Uzbeks, by Shamil Baigin (Reuters), which mentions Barroso's statement on reliance on one country for energy supplies and addresses Europe's intention to diversify its energy supplies (the Nabucco projects is mentioned).
Kommersant publishes an article by Vladimir Solovyov which addresses developments in Turkmenistan, its relations with the EU and the US and the country's possible participation in the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Vyacheslav Samoshkin which reports on developments between Romania and Moldova in the context of Romania's EU membership.
Vremya novostei reports on the creation by leading international banks operating in Central and Eastern Europe of a group to lobby the EU and the ECB to extend anti-crisis measures with the purpose to solve problems of the financial sector in the region (Interfax).
In an article by Vladimir Vodo, Kommersant reports on an anti-Government rally yesterday in Kaunas.
Parlamentskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yury Stroganov which addresses Russian-Lithuanian relations and mentions recent anti-Government rallies in Lithuania.
RBK daily publishes a Handelsblatt article on the economic situation in the UK.
 
22.01.09
Interfax cites EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as expressing hope for practical steps toward funding the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
RBK daily reports briefly on Moldova's interest in joining the Nabucco project.
Gazeta carries an article by Yekaterina Bogomolova which reports on Belarus' proposal to build a Yamal-Europe-2 gas pipeline to supply Russian gas to Europe. Izvestia mentions briefly Belarus' proposal.
RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on a Handelsblatt energy conference in Berlin. The daily cites European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and German Economy Minister Michael Gloss who warned of a danger of Europe's excessive dependence on Russian gas.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Europeans Say Gas Is Flowing (Bloomberg), which reports on deliveries of Russian gas via Ukraine to EU Member States.
In an article by Alexander Samozhnev, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the European Commission's 2009 interim economic forecasts for 2009.
Vremya novostei publishes an article by Pyotr Iskenderov which reports on the launch of the Kosovo Security Force. The daily quotes Serbian officials, including President Boris Tadic and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who opposed the creation of the Force. In the author's view, the setting up of the Kosovo Security Force has become a first action of the EU mission to Kosovo that does not comply with its promised neutral status.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports briefly on the same issue.
Vedomosti runs an article by Tatiana Bochkaryova and Mikhail Overchenko which addresses the economic situation in Eastern and Central European countries.
 
21.01.09
Gazeta and Vremya novostei (RIA-Novosti) report on the European Commission's 2009 interim economic forecasts for 2009.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes fragments of a new book by former Russian PM and the current Chairman of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yevgeny Primakov, which address, among other issues, Russia's relations with the EU. The book is entitled The World Without Russia?.
In an article by Nikolai Surkov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposals on the Middle East.
In an interview with Kommersant, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addresses inter alia the issue of energy security and Greece' involvement in the South Stream gas pipeline project.
Vremya novostei runs an article by Yury Shpakov which reports on the Energy congress in Berlin to discuss energy security for Europe in the light of the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites briefly Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying after his meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels as saying that Ankara fully supports the Nabucco gas pipeline project. The daily recalls that earlier, Erdogan threatened to review Turkey's position on Nabucco if the talks on Turkey's EU accession were blocked.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on a discussion by EU Finance Ministers yesterday of efforts to restore the flow of bank credit (Interfax).
Vremya novostei reports briefly on an EU decision to provide Latvia with 3.1 billion euro as medium term financial assistance (BNS).
 
20.01.09
Vedomosti publishes an article by Maria Spiegel and Vasily Kashin which cites the European Commission's 2009 interim economic forecasts for 2009.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Europe's Hands Tied on Power Supply, by Daniel Fineren (Reuters), which comments on the gas crisis and Europe's reliance on Russian gas supplies.
Kommersant, in an article by Galina Dudina, reports on the termination of a Russian-Estonian agreement on a relaxed visa regime for citizens in Russia's and Estonia's border regions.
Novye Izvestia runs an article by Valentin Boinik which addresses developments in the Gaza Strip and mentions the EU's expected aid to the Gaza Strip. Vremya novostei reports on the same issue in an article by Maria Grishina and Yelena Suponina. The daily mentions a planned meeting of EU Foreign Ministers tomorrow in Brussels.
In an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, Vremya novostei reports on the EU role in Kosovo and mentions EULEX activities.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Nadezhda Yermolayeva which addresses anti-crisis measures undertaken by the Governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Vremya novostei reports briefly on French Government aid to the country's auto industry (Reuters).
Vremya novostei (RBK) and The Moscow Times (Bloomberg) report briefly on Turkey's proposals on the EU-backed Nabucco gas pipeline project.
 
Weekly review 12-19 January 2009
EU unlikely to diversify energy supplies despite Russia-Ukraine gas conflict
Anti-Government protests rock Eastern European countries
The Russia-Ukraine gas war and the stoppage of Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine (which affected some 20 European countries) sparked further discussions of the need for diversifying energy supplies to the EU. EU officials have repeatedly stressed that the gas crisis damages Russia’s reputation as a reliable supplier and Ukraine’s image as a trusted transit country. Moreover, the EU said that what mattered most for the EU was not to apportion the blame but the resumption of gas flows to EU consumers. Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin has opined that European officials could use their influence over Ukraine more to ensure the supply of gas.
Kommersant wrote on 11 January that the current gas crisis had led to “a significant change in the EU’s position as EU Member States came out with a consolidated position”, and added that after the crisis “Russia could face a single EU energy policy which would not allow Moscow to play on disagreements among EU Member States”. Mirek Topolanek, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic which holds the EU Presidency, has also proposed to elaborate a new energy security arrangement for the EU. The EU will likely intensify its search for new energy supply options which could include additional purchases of natural gas in North Africa or investment in alternative sources of energy, e.g. renewable and nuclear energy and LNG. The EU is also expected to work more on interconnections, gas storage and energy savings. The EU Energy Council of 12 January set the task to intensify the search for diversified energy routes and sources with a view to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. While some observers see among the reasons behind the gas crisis Moscow’s intention to reinforce EU support for the construction of the Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipeline projects, the media focuses on prospects for the Nabucco project to build a gas pipeline to supply Azeri and Central Asian gas to Europe bypassing Russia, and recalls inter alia Hungary’s proposal to hold a high-level meeting in end-January in Budapest of participants of Nabucco. “Now even Moscow’s long-term partners on the Nord Stream and South Stream projects, such as Germany and Hungary, speak of their readiness to work on the competing projects” (Kommersant, 13/01). At the same time, many experts cast doubts that Nabucco could become in a mid-term perspective an alternative to Russian gas. Rossiyskaya Gazeta (15/01) wrote that “in the foreseeable future the European Union cannot get rid of Russian gas imports”. An analyst, quoted by Novye Izvestia (13/01), suggests that the EU will be interested in speeding up the implementation of the Nord Stream and South Stream projects bypassing Ukraine. After the Nord Stream promotion meeting between PM Putin and Nord Stream shareholder committee chair Schroeder earlier this month against the backdrop of the gas crisis, in a statement issued after a meeting between Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and CEO of Eni Paolo Scaroni on 15 January, Gazprom said the companies agreed to speed up the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. In addition, Gazprom CEO Miller visited Slovenia where he discussed the South Stream project at meetings with the country’s leadership, also offering to enhance the pipe's capacity if other European countries were to request it.
The media reports widely on anti-Government actions and clashes between protesters and police last week in Latvia, Bulgaria and over the weekend in Lithuania. Observers warn of possible actions of protest in other Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia and Hungary. Latvia, which has been hit hardest by the global economic crisis among EU Member States, could become the first EU country in which the crisis might lead to serious political changes.
Commenting on developments in Lithuania, observers point to statements by Lithuanian officials who claimed that riots in Vilnius might have been inspired from abroad and pointed to a so-called ‘Russian track’. President Valdas Adamkus, in turn, compared Vilnius riots to Bronze Soldier events in 2007 in Tallinn and recent rioting in Riga.
 
 
15.01.09
Gazeta publishes an article by Ivan Sotnikov which reports on the speech by Czech PM Mirek Topolanek in the European Parliament yesterday in Strasbourg on the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the EU.
Izvestia, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times (AP), Vedomosti and Vremya novostei report on disturbances in Riga after an anti-Government demonstration and an anti-Government rally in Sofia. Observers warn of possible actions of protest in other Eastern European countries.
Vremya novostei publishes an interview with member of Germany’s Bundestag Joachim Pfeiffer which addresses the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute and the EU’s role in its resolution.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Kiev Must Pay the Price For Victimizing the EU”, by Thierry Mariani, a deputy in the French National Assembly from the Union for a Popular Movement, which comments on the current gas crisis and, what he called, “the manipulation of Europe by the Ukrainian Government”.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that Germany's budget deficit could be above 4% of GDP in 2010, breaching EU rules (Lenta.ru, AFP reports).
RBK daily runs an article by Artyom Oparin, which reports on a proposal to ban plasma screen televisions in the EU.
 
14.01.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta runs an article by Sokhbet Mamedov which reports on Europe’s plans to develop alternative energy routes against a backdrop of the current gas crisis. Special attention is paid to the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Slovaks Look to Restart Nuclear Reactor Due to Shortage of Gas” (Reuters), which reports that Slovakia yesterday delayed a decision on restarting a Soviet-era nuclear reactor amid gas shortages.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “An Answer to the Russian Challenge”, by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher, which addresses the relationship between Russia and the West.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on an action of protest yesterday in Riga to demand the dissolution of Latvia’s Parliament, and on clashes between protesters and police.
Vremya novostei reports briefly that the European Commission has launched an anti-monopoly probe into credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (RIA-Novosti).
 
13.01.09
Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the consequences of the gas shutdown for Balkan countries in an article by Yulia Petrovskaya.
Vremya novostei reports on the impact of the gas crisis on Romania in an article by Vyacheslav Samoshkin.
The Moscow Times publishes a Financial Times editorial, entitled “Energy Security Means More Than Gazprom”, which comments on the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute’s impact on EU energy policy.
In a special supplement ‘NG-Energy’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Oleg Nikoforov on a project to increase investments in energy efficiency in Russia launched within the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.
In an article by Alexander Korchevsky, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Energy’) mentions the issue of biofuels in Europe.
Vedomosti publishes an article by Mikhail Overchenko which addresses Germany’s plan to rescue the country’s economy.
Vedomosti publishes a Financial Times article about British Business Secretary and former EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.
RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on EU plans to boost competition in the defence procurement market.
Vremya novostei, in an article by Valery Masterov, reports on the possible candidature of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to replace NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who steps down this year.
 
12.01.09
The EU’s stance in the gas crisis and the situation in European countries left without gas are addressed by Gazeta, Itogi weekly magazine, Novaya Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Trud and Vremya novostei.
The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “Europe’s Southern Escape”, by Francis Ghiles, a senior fellow at the European Institute of the Mediterranean in Barcelona, which addresses EU-Russia relations in the energy sector against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. The comment appeared in The Wall Street Journal.
RBK daily reports on the Czech Presidency of the EU in an article by Artyom Oparin.
Gazeta runs an article, entitled “Vilnius as an epicentre of culture”, by Alexei Pevchev, which reports on the programme Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009.
 
9.01.09
Kommersant comments on reactions in the EU to the cu -rrent gas crisis in an article by Gennady Sysoyev. The author writes that “the crisis caused by the shutdown of Russian gas supplies to Europe has led to the significant change in the EU’s position: EU Member States have come out with a consolidated position”. In the author’s view, “after the current crisis Russia could face the EU’s single energy policy which would not allow Moscow to play on the disagreements among EU Member States”.

 

30.05.2008.

 

Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, which addresses the forthcoming talks between the EU and on a new agreement.

 

In an article by Yulia Petrovskaya, Nezavisimaya Gazeta comments on PM Putin's visit to and EU-Russia relations.

 

Gazeta publishes an interview with Polish Vice-PM and Economics Minister Waldemar Pawlak, which addresses, among other issues, the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.

 

Gazeta, Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta report on the presentation yesterday in Moscow of first electronic bracelets for inmates in Russian prisons. The European Commission has allocated 3 million euro for the purchase and technical support of the electronic bracelets.

 

Kommersant publishes an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, which reports on a meeting in the European Parliament with a delegation from Kosovo and mentions the display of Kosovo's flag in the European Parliament's premises. The move was slammed by some EU Member States who had not recognised Kosovo's independence.

 

In an article by Valery Masterov, Vremya novostei reports on the French-Polish summit on 28 May in Paris . The author provides a statement by President Nicolas Sarkozy at a press conference on 's integration in the EU.

 

Gazeta, in an article by Alexander Trempel, and Vremya novostei (Interfax report) report that and may join the South Stream gas pipeline project. Director at the European Commission's DG for Transport and Energy, Christian Cleutinx, is quoted as having denied a rivalry between the South Stream and Nabucco.

 

Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on an increase in the Nabucco gas pipeline cost to 7,9 billion euro.

 

In an article by Anton Ivanitsky, Gazeta reports on the EU's regulation No 261/2004 on protection of the air passengers' rights.

 

Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media 19-26 May 2008

 

EU Foreign Ministers approve mandate for talks with on a new agreement

 

Electronic media report on Monday on the adoption by EU Foreign Ministers at their meeting on 26 May in Brussels of a European Commission mandate for talks with on a new partnership agreement.

 

The adoption followed agreement reached by EU ambassadors (COREPER) on 21 May in Brussels on the start of the talks. Kommersant (22/05) said in comments that EU diplomats managed to finally settle the problem of 's veto on the start of the talks with Moscow . However, observers do not expect a quick conclusion of the agreement. The talks could be more difficult than agreeing on the mandate, German political scientist Alexander Rahr said to journalists. There are too many problems on the agenda, especially energy, he was quoted as saying (Moscow Times, 22/05). In his interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta (22/05), State Secretary for European Affairs of the French Foreign Ministry, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, expressed the view that the negotiation process might last for 12 or 18 months and end in 2009 when holds the EU Presidency. He did not exclude that it would be possible to reach an agreement with in 2009, and voiced hope that would join the WTO by the end of this year. The issue of 's WTO accession in the context of the EU-Russia talks is also raised by the Head of the European Commission Delegation to , Marc Franco. He told The Moscow Times (26/05) that despite the fact that the EU and Russia in 2004 bilaterally agreed on conditions for Russia's WTO accession, there were still outstanding trade issues between Brussels and Moscow that complicated the process. He said one of these issues is 's increases in export duties on wood. The European Commission does not agree with the way in which Russia is currently applying export duties on wood, which we believe breaches an agreement concluded in 2004, he is quoted as saying. Franco made it clear that should be in the WTO by the end of the negotiations.

 

Another complicated issue at the talks is energy. In his article in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (26/05), Russian political scientist Artyom Malgin speaks of the need to elaborate a political and legal framework of the relationship in the energy sphere, and suggests that the EU-Russia energy dialogue could become in the future an adequate substitute of the failed Energy Charter.

 

Berlin conference on EU-Russia energy dialogue criticises EU energy market liberalisation; Gazprom might review its investment in North and South Stream pipeline projects.

 

A conference organised in Berlin by the Russian Gas Society, a lobbying outfit close to Gazprom, and the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) on EU-Russia energy relations received broad media coverage.

 

Observers point to caustic statements made by Duma deputy speaker and President of the Russian Gas Society, Valery Yazev, on energy cooperation between the EU and , and criticism voiced inter alia by representatives of Gazprom (e.g. the head of Gazprom's foreign relations department, Stanislav Tsygankov) over the European Commission's third energy package. The most categorical interpretation of the statements is provided by Vremya novostei (21/05), which branded the EU-Russia as coming to a deadlock. Yazev argued that the notion that had no other choice than to sell its gas in Europe was not true, adding that Europe would remain an important customer but that its significance would decline. As Itogi writes (26/05), the Russian side generally claimed that it is Brussels, and not Moscow , which is constantly changing the rules of the game on the energy market, that poses a threat to European energy security.

 

 

A Gazprom official told Kommersant (23/05) that the company could review its investment in export pipeline projects if the new rules of the EU's single energy market create uncertainty for gas suppliers. The statement followed a preliminary approval by MEPs in the European Parliament's Industry & Energy Committee of the Commission's third energy package.

 

The proposals affect Gazprom interests in the framework of the existing gas pipeline Yamal-Europe, Kommersant said, adding that their effect on the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines remains unclear.

 

Kyiv energy summit: an anti-Russian transit union (Nezavisimaya Gazeta)

 

Dailies (Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei) report extensively on the 22-23 May energy summit in Kyiv. Participants included leaders of Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Baltic states, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, representatives of the US, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Slovakia. Gazeta (26/05) describes the participants' rhetoric as anti-Russian. The meeting focused on the EU-backed extension of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline to Gdansk, seen as an alternative to 's energy monopoly (Gazeta). Some experts comment that according to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's plan, the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline, together with the Nabucco gas pipeline, could undermine 's position as a major exporter of energy resources to the European Union.

 

28.05.08.

 

Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Vladislav Vorobyov, which addresses preparations for the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk on 26 June and the planned start of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement.

 

In an article, entitled A charter again, by Vasily Kashin, Vedomosti reports that at the talks with Russia, the European Union will insist of Russia's ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty and demand the resumption oil supplies to Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta oil refinery via the Druzhba oil pipeline.

 

Vremya novostei reports on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to in an article by Katerina Labetskaya. The daily focuses on the issue of the Arctic shelf and cites a Russian expert as expressing the view that the EU is also interested to get access to Arctic resources.

 

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Beware of the WTO, by Felix Goryunov, which addresses the issue of 's WTO accession and quotes the Head of the European Commission Delegation to , Marc Franco, who has offered a sobering analysis of 's economic vulnerability. If something goes wrong, the Russian growth machine might well grind to a halt, or even reverse, he was quoted as saying.

 

In an article by Natalia Grib, Kommersant reports briefly on a report by the European Parliament's Petitions Committee on environmental aspects of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.

 

Gazeta, in an article by Alexander Trempel, cites Chairman of the Executive Board of E.ON Ruhrgas, Bernhard Reutersberg, who called on Berlin and Brussels to pay more attention to the strategic importance of the Nord Stream project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, by Viktoria Panfilova, on the signing in Ashgabat of a memorandum of understanding in the energy sphere between the EU and .

 

Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with deputy speaker of the Federation Council, Alexander Torshin, which tackles the issue of Kosovo and mentions the EU's position on Kosovo's independence.

 

 

Vremya novostei, in an article by Valery Masterov, reports on the visit on 28 May to by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The author points to competition within the EU for spheres of influence, first of all between and and mentions an 'Eastern Partnership' initiative proposed by and to the EU.

 

26.05.08.

 

Itogi weekly magazine publishes an interview with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, which addresses EU-Russia relations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU's Man in Moscow Says Hard Talks Ahead, by Nikolaus von Twickel, which cites the Head of the European Commission Delegation to , Marc Franco, on the prospects for a new EU-Russia agreement. Mr Franco pointed to the issue of 's accession to the WTO, saying that despite the EU and in 2004 bilaterally agreed on conditions for Moscow's WTO accession, there were still outstanding trade issues between Brussels and Moscow that complicated the process. He said one of these issues is 's increases in export duties on wood.

 

 

Vremya novostei, in an article by Alexander Mineyev, reports on the expected adoption by EU Foreign Ministers of a European Commission mandate for the talks with on a new agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Alexander Shokhin addresses, among other issues, bilateral agreements between and the EU on 's WTO accession.

 

Izvestia publishes an article by the head of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, which comments on the relationship between and the West.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, called A 'big agreement' with the EU is needed, by political scientist Artyom Malgin, which addresses the future talks between the EU and on a new agreement. Special attention is paid to the EU-Russia energy dialogue.

 

In an article by Valeria Sycheva, Itogi comments on the recent conference in Berlin to discuss EU-Russia energy relations.

 

In an article by Timofei Borisov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Saturday's issue) cites a report on the relationship between the EU and , released by the British House of Lords.

 

 

Dailies (Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei) comment on the Energy Summit last week in Kyiv. The EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs was among the participants of the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an article by Yevgeny Belkyakov, Gazeta mentions proposals to synchronize electricity networks of the CIS countries and the EU.

 

RBK daily reports briefly that and are expected to submit a proposal at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers today in Brussels to create an 'Eastern Partnership' which would include EU Member States, GUAM members (Georgia, , and ) and

 

23.05.08.

 

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Baltic Summit Awaits Putin's Confirmation, by Anna Smolchenko, which reports that PM Vladimir Putin has been invited to attend the Baltic Sea States Summit on 3-4 June in Riga . The summit will address ways to improve regional cooperation. However, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin's agenda did not include a trip to the summit. The author also mentions that Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves plans to participate in a Finno-Ugric congress in Khanty-Mansiysk in late June.

 

In an article, entitled Kiev Seeks $2.5 billion Gas Pipe Upgrade, The Moscow Times cites Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko as saying that is looking for $2.5 billion from the EU to upgrade its natural gas pipeline system and increase the volume of fuel that can be shipped to the region. The daily also mentions 's intention to extend the Odessa-Brody pipeline to the Polish city of Gdansk .

 

Gazeta publishes in Russian a Daily Telegraph article on a letter signed by a number of European politicians, including former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, France's Lionel Jospin and Michel Rocard, and former European Commission President Jacques Delors, calling for an EU-wide 'super regulator' of the financial market.

 

 

Vremya novostei reports briefly on the European Commission's decision to open an anti-trust probe into Gaz de France for alleged supply restrictions (Lenta.ru report).

 

22.05.08.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an interview with State Secretary for European Affairs of the French Foreign Ministry, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, which addresses the French EU Presidency's priorities.

 

Vremya novostei publishes an article by Valery Masterov, which reports on an energy summit that opens today in Kyiv with participation of the leaders of , , , and the Baltic states . The author addresses a plan, offered by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, which proposes that the EU broaden contacts with the post-Soviet states.

 

RBK daily reports on the Kyiv summit in an article by Viktor Yadukha; Novye Izvestia – in an article, entitled Bypassing Russia, by Yana Sergeyeva.

 

Kommersant mentions the conference in Berlin to discuss the EU-Russia energy dialogue in an article by Natalia Grib.

 

Tribuna, in an article by Mikhail Morozov, reports on the first visit of a South Ossetian delegation to the European Parliament in Brussels .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vremya novostei, in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, mentions briefly the EU expects that a pro-European Government be set up in .

 

In an article by Alexei Aronov, Izvestia reports on a discussion by EU Agriculture Ministers of the issue of pesticides.

 

Novye Izvestia and Vremya novostei report briefly that the European Commission will likely impose a ban on imports of Ukrainian sunflower butter.

 

21.05.08.

 

Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and RBK daily report on today's visit to Moscow of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

 

Gazeta, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on a conference in Berlin on the EU-Russia energy dialogue. Observers mention criticism voiced by representatives of Gazprom over the European Commission's third energy package and statements by Duma deputy speaker Valery Yazev on energy cooperation between the EU and (see economic headlines).

 

In an editorial by Nikolai Vardul, Gazeta comments on Gazprom's gas supplies to Europe .

 

Interfax, RIA-Novosti and Vremya novostei (ITAR-TASS report) cite spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Boris Malakhov, as saying that Russia is checking reports whether the UN mission to Kosovo (UNMIK) has started to hand over its authority and property to the EU mission. If there reports are confirmed, this would be in violation of Resolution 1244, he said.

 

Vremya novostei, in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, reports that Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has called for the closure of the 's High Representative office as soon as possible and the transfer of all power from international organisations to the country's authorities. The daily recalls that in his interview with Vremya novostei last month, High Representative for Bosnia Herzegovina Miroslav Lajcak linked the closure to the signing by the EU of a Stabilization and Association Agreement with .

 

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled EU to Restructure Farm Subsidies System (AP), which reports on European Commission plans to shake up the way the EU gives billions of euro to farmers and scrap rules limiting how much farmers can grow.

 

In an article, entitled A counterfeit Europe , by Roman Kirillov, RBK daily reports on the issue of counterfeit goods entering the EU.

20.05.08.

 

Expert weekly magazine, in a special supplement ‘Expert North-West’, reports on ’s position on the start of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement.

 

In an article, entitled “A Belgrade crossroad”, by Artyom Oparin, Novye Izvestia reports on developments in after the 11 May Parliamentary elections in the context of the rivalry between the South Stream gas pipeline project and the Nabucco pipeline and ’s participation in the South Stream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vremya novostei, in an article by Pyotr Iskenderov, reports briefly that the EU mission to Kosovo will likely be delayed.

 

In an article by Vladimir Gavrilov, RBK daily reports on a cooperation deal between ’s Roskosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) to build a new spacecraft with wings that will fly people to the moon.

 

Novye Izvestia carries an article by Irina Baramidze, which reports on upcoming Parliamentary elections in and cites EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby.

 

The Moscow Times reports that the EU on Monday scrapped an 11,5% electrical-steel tariff against Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) (Bloomberg report).

 

Vremya novostei reports briefly that the European Commission has cleared the joint venture between SolVin and ’s Sibur. The JV will see the construction of a PVC complex in the Nizhny Novgorod region (Interfax report).

 

Vremya novostei mentions the European Commission’s energy package in an article by Yury Shpakov.

 

Vedomosti publishes an article by Ulyana Gorbolskaya, which addresses the European Commission’s report on 20 years of European monetary union and its proposal of structural reforms among eurozone members.

 

Vedomosti publishes a Wall Street Journal article, which mentions the approval by the European Commission of a bird-flu vaccine proposed by GlaxoSmithKline.

 

19.05.08.

 

The Moscow Times, in an article called “EU Wants Russia Treaty Before Summit” by Nadia Popova, quotes the Vice-President of the European Commission Guenter Verheugen as saying on Saturday that he was confident that talks on a new EU-Russia agreement would begin before the EU-Russia summit next month. Verheugen was also quoted by Moscow Times expressing some understanding for Russian moves to protect its domestic timber industry.

 

Interfax news agency quotes the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Marc Franco, as expressing hope that the mandate for the EU-Russia talks could be approved on 26 May.

 

Novye Izvestia carries an article by Yelena Zibrova, which mentions Russia ’s restrictions on production of food products made from imported frozen poultry and meat. Some commentators view the restrictions as pressure on the and the EU (See also economic headlines).

 

In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Novaya Gazeta reports on a conference last week in Brussels to discuss EU-Russia relations and the situation in after the Presidential elections. The conference was organised at an initiative of the European People’s Party. 

 

Vremya novostei reports on a European Commission compromise proposal on liberalization of the EU’s energy market and refers to spokesman for EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny (RIA-Novosti report).

 

Vedomosti publishes an article by political scientist Vladislav Inozemtsev, which addresses EU Member States’ military spending and European security.

 

Kommersant (Saturday’s issue) reports on the EU-LAC summit in Lima in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the summit in an article by Alexander Ignatov.

 

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled “EU Nations Arrest 10 In Uzbek Terror Probe” , by John Leicester, which reports on the arrest by police in , and the of 10 people suspected of funding al-Qaida-linked militants with roots in (AP report)

 

Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media 12-19 May 2008 

 

Lithuania still blocks the start of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement

 

The press last week provided controversial reports on Lithuania ’s position on the start of talks on a new EU-Russia deal. Initial reports indicated that had agreed not to block the start of the talks. Media referred in this regard to statements made by Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas following a meeting of the Foreign Ministers from Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden on 11 May in Vilnius. Vaitiekunas notably announced that “all Lithuanian concerns were taken into account in principle”. Therefore, the talks may start already in June at an EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk. Later reports cited a Lithuanian Foreign Ministry statement that was blocking the start of the talks. Kommersant (15/05) reported that Slovenian Foreign Minister Rupel “expressed perplexity over ’s position”, adding that “diplomats from FranceGermany, , and the UK are expected to arrive in Vilnius in the coming days for new consultations”. “Developments around the veto on the talks between the EU and show a splash of Vilnius’ political ambitions”, Vremya novostei (15/05) noted and mentioned in this context the planned for October 2008 Parliamentary elections in . Experts, cited by RBK daily (13/05), say “political and business elites in Lithuania, who have close ties with Russia, are not interested in the protraction or disruption of the talks on a strategic partnership with Moscow”.

 

Meanwhile, commenting on Vilnius’ demand that resume oil supplies to via the Druzhba pipeline, Russian Deputy PM Igor Sechin pointed out that this demand would not be satisfied. Sechin said that “does not have enough oil” to fill in the Druzhba pipeline, Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Sechin saying.

 

Vice-President of European Commission Verheugen

 

On 19 May, several dailies (Gazeta, Vedomosti, Vremya novostei and The Moscow Times) report on the presentation of the new passenger jet Sukhoi Superjet 100 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur last week with participation of Minister of Industry and Trade Khristenko and Vice-President of the European Commission Verheugen. The plane is being developed jointly by Russian and European aviation companies. Verheugen said that it was a good example of industrial cooperation between the EU and . Gazeta and The Moscow Times quote Verheugen as expressing confidence that the talks on a new EU-Russia agreement would begin before the EU-Russia summit next month. Verheugen was also quoted by The Moscow Times expressing some understanding for Russian moves to protect its domestic timber industry. At the same time, Gazeta writes that energy remains the main issue in EU-Russia relations and interprets Verheugen’s statement on reasonable prices for energy sources in a way that the EU “offers Russia advanced technologies in exchange for cheap gas”.

 

Serbs vote for closer ties with the EU

 

Media commented widely on the outcome of ’s early Parliamentary elections of 11 May and the victory of President Boris Tadic’s pro-European block, which is seen as a clear choice of closer ties with the EU. Although the configuration of a new Serbian Governmental coalition remains unclear, RBK daily (13/05) said in comments that “the Serbs made it clear that the perspective for ’s membership in the EU is more important for them than the preservation of Kosovo as part of ”. In an editorial, Vedomosti (13/05) echoed that “contrary to some forecasts, a visa-free regime with the European Union, trade preferences and the perspective for joining the EU turned out to be more important factors than territorial losses and past grievances”. Some observers believe that the 11 May elections became the last ones when the Kosovo issue was raised by the Serbian nationalists as practically the only point to dispute. Kommersant (12/05) remarks that “many people regarded the Serbian elections as a referendum that is to answer the question on which way Belgrade will go – towards the EU, or towards Russia” and expresses the view that “Serbia has no other way than to have good relations with both the West and Russia”.

 

“ President threatens the EU with energy sanctions should it toughen its line toward his country” – press

 

Kommersant (15/05) and Rossiyskaya Gazeta (16/05) commented on statements made by President Alexander Lukashenko in his recent interview with Reuters. Lukashenko tackled, among other issues, EU-Belarus relations and, as Kommersant wrote, “warned the EU against following the and imposing economic sanctions on ”. “According to the President of Belarus, Kommersant reported, when trying to implant democracy in his country, “the West attempts to destroy the bridge or at least to shatter it”. “I cannot understand why you do it. Today, in a tense situation when energy resources are determining everything, you are trying to destroy the bridge along which oil and gas flow”, Lukashenko was quoted as saying. The daily commented that “the President has never before used energy blackmail during his numerous rows with Europe”, adding that “moreover, Lukashenko has been the first leader in post-Soviet space to dare use the transit location of his country”. Kommersant does not exclude that the threats made by Lukashenko “may be realized” and recalls in this regard that “the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline and the Druzhba oil pipeline cross Belarus ”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.05.08.

Gazeta, in an article by Ivan Sotnikov, and Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, report on the visit to Russia of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Moscow Times reports briefly that a senior Lithuanian diplomat voiced confidence that a deal could be reached by EU Foreign Ministers to approve this month a mandate for new partnership talks with (Reuters report).

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Loosening Russia's Grip on Gas, by Pierre Noel, a researcher at the European Pipeline Research Group and the European Council on Foreign Relations, which addresses EU-Russia energy relations and recent statements by EU officials on loosening Russia's grip on the European natural gas market.

Gazeta publishes an article by Mikhail Vinogradov, which reports on an international conference yesterday in Brussels organised by the European People's Party and dedicated to EU-Russia relations and the situation in Russia .

Rossiyskaya Gazeta carries an article, entitled Minsk defence, by Vladimir Yefanov, which addresses the recent interview by President Alexander Lukashenko with Reuters and his statements on relations with the EU.

RBK daily publishes an article, by Denis Zhuikov and Anatoly Pomortsev, which comments on the perspectives for 's accession to the EU and the WTO.

 

15.05.08.

 

Vilnius blocks EU-Russia talks again?; Brussels conference will discuss Russia: (i) Dailies report that Lithuania has again blocked the start of talks between the EU and Russia on a new agreement and cite in this regard a Lithuanian Foreign Ministry statement. Kommersant calls the Lithuanian veto “a threat to the start of the talks at the EU-Russia summit in Khanty-Mansiysk in June”. According to Kommersant, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel “expressed perplexity over Lithuania’ s position”. The daily writes that “diplomats from FranceGermany, Italy, Spain and the UK are expected to arrive in Vilnius in the coming days for new consultations”. Press quotes Russian Deputy PM Igor Sechin who said yesterday in St. Petersburg that Lithuania’s demand that Russian oil supplies be resumed via the Druzhba oil pipeline would not be satisfied. Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites Sechin as saying that “does not have enough oil” to fill in the Druzhba pipeline. (ii) Dailies report on an international conference today in Brussels to discuss the situation in and EU-Russia relations. The head of the Duma’s International Relations Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, ex-PM Mikhail Kasyanov and CEO of RAO UES, Anatoly Chubais, are invited to take part in the forum. (Gazeta, Kommersant, NG, RG, Vedomosti, VN).

Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times report on Russian-German talks in Yekaterinburg with participation of the two countries’ Foreign Ministers to discuss, among other issues, EU-Russia relations. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is quoted as expressing hope that a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in late May will pave the way for talks on a new pact between the EU and Russia. In a front-page article called “Medvedev Makes Germany a Top Priority”, by Nikolaus von Twickel, The Moscow Times reports on yesterday’s meeting in Moscow between President Dmitry Medvedev and Steinmeier.

Parlamentskaya Gazeta publishes an article by Yury Stroganov, which addresses latest developments around the start of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement, focusing on Lithuania’s position.

Kommersant publishes an article, entitled “Transit threat”, by Vladimir Solovyov, which comments on statements made by President Alexander Lukashenko in his interview with Reuters. Lukashenko notably tackled the issue of EU-Belarus relations and, as Kommersant writes, “warned the EU against following the and imposing economic sanctions on Belarus ”.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, by Yevgeny Grigoryev, on the upcoming EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit in Lima.

In an article by Alexei Vedernikov, Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on the outcome of Serbia’s Parliamentary elections and recalls the recent signing by the EU of a SAA with Serbia .

 

14.05.08.

The Moscow Times publishes an article, entitled Serbian Parties Jockey for Position (Reuters), which reports on developments in after the 11 May Parliamentary elections and mentions 's direction towards the EU.

In an article by Yury Shpakov, Vremya novostei reports on Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Latin America and her upcoming participation in the EU-LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) summit on 16-17 May in Lima.

 

Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media 28 April – 8 May 2008

In the past weeks, the media commented on the EU’s failure to agree on a mandate for the start of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement over Lithuania’s demands and on the signing of a deal in Moscow on joining the South Stream gas pipeline project. The 29 April signing by the EU of a Stabilization and Association Agreement with also received media coverage.

 

Lithuania blocks EU talks with on a new agreement.

Observers described as “complete failure” the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg last week after Lithuania pledged to continue blocking negotiations for a strategic deal between the EU and Russia due to unresolved disputes with Moscow, the stoppage of Russian oil supplies to Lithuania via the Druzhba pipeline among them. The European Union had hoped the meeting would produce a green light for the talks with Russia. The situation, as Kommersant wrote (30/04), “was an exact replica of the one that happened two years ago” when ahead of the EU-Russia summit in in November 2006, vetoed the start of the talks. The daily pointed to “one difference from the 2006 situation”: “at that time, the Russian Government paid much attention to the signing of a new agreement with the EU. Moscow regarded Brussels as its key partner and expected that the successful talks on the agreement would be proof of good relations with Europe. The Kremlin, however, has lost a desire to demonstrate its excellent relations with the EU”.

Meanwhile, EU officials, including Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, promised that the EU would reach a consensus on issuing the mandate in a couple of weeks. The Russian side did not dramatize the situation: diplomats said Moscow can wait. Itogi notes that by blocking the negotiations, will not achieve “the super-goals” but will definitely mar relations with Russia . “It means that there will be no oil. As far as the new agreement with the EU is concerned, Moscow does not expect its quick conclusion”, the magazine concludes.

Some dailies (Kommersant, Vedomosti) reported on the decision by Presidential aide in charge of Russian-EU relations, Sergey Yastrzhembsky, to step down. Vedomosti (08/05) does not exclude that this post might be abolished. Chief editor of ‘Russia in Global Affairs’, Fyodor Lukyanov, said in comments that “the post was set up in the beginning of the 2000s when there were big hopes for a qualitative breakthrough in Russian-EU relations”, while now “neither the EU nor Russia have new ideas of how to develop the relationship between Moscow and Brussels”.

 

Greece joins South Stream; Prodi declines offer to head South Stream AG.

The signing on 29 April by and of a deal on the construction of a section of the South Stream gas pipeline across during the visit to Moscow by Greek PM Kostas Karamanlis was high in the news last week. According to Kommersant (30/04), Gazprom “was forced to promise to prolong a long-term contract for gas supplies with growing volume through 2013, while Athens retained the right to diversify supplies by gas from Algeria and Turkey ”.

Dailies also reported on Romano Prodi’s refusal to accept Vladimir Putin's offer to head South Stream AG. Some analysts suggest that for the former President of the European Commission it would be a “serious geopolitical risk” to accept this post, saying that as a result Prodi would damage his image in the EU.

 

Piebalgs-Khristenko meeting.

Commenting on an informal meeting on 4 May in Moscow between EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko in an article, entitled “A memorandum of incomprehension”, Vremya novostei (06/05) laments that following the meeting, the sides released “completely different press releases in terms of their content”. “The Industry and Energy Ministry, writes the daily, mentioned that Brussels still insists on discriminatory measures toward third countries in the framework of the proposals to liberalize electricity and gas markets in Europe”, while the Piebalgs office “argued that the main issue on the agenda was a discussion of Moscow’s position on the establishment of an International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). “Russia and the European Commission are still far from mutual understanding”, Vremya novostei writes. The daily argues that the Piebalgs-Khristenko meeting “has shown that Moscow is still worried about the European Commission third energy package proposals”. In the daily's view, the fact that the European Commission is promoting this package so “zealously” allows to think that “at least part of its provisions will come into force”.

Signing of a SAA with Serbia.

Commenting on the signing by the EU of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia, Expert weekly magazine suggests that Brussels is doing all it can so that to “support the party of the pro-European President Boris Tadic” at Parliamentary elections scheduled for 11 May, adding that the accelerated signing of the SAA “could be viewed as a hint to the Serbian electorate that if Tadic stays in power, could become a member of the EU in the near future”. Latest public opinion polls show that some 34% of Serbians are ready to vote for the Radical Party of Tomislav Nikolic, while 31% of respondents said they backed the “For European Serbia - Boris Tadic” list (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 08.05). Kommersant (06/05) reports that Serbian PM Vojislav Kostunica has promised that the new Government will annul the agreement as “anti-state”, saying that the agreement with the EU “has sharply polarized the Serbian political scene”. Russian expert Alla Yazkova told Vremya novostei (30/04) that the SAA could become an award to those politicians in Belgrade who hamper the ratification of an agreement with on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. “There is an ongoing dispute between and European structures over economic and energy influence in Serbia”, she was quoted as saying.

24.04.08.

Gazeta publishes an interview with Vice-President of the European Commission, Jaques Barrot, which addresses EU-Russia cooperation in the area of Security, Freedom and Justice. The interview is published in the run-up to the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council on Security, Freedom and Justice today in St. Petersburg. Special attention is paid to the visa issue, including the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement.

In an article by Natalia Portyakova, Kommersant reports on the appointment of Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of justice and security Franco Frattini as Italia’s new Foreign Minister and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s announcement that Vice-President Jaques Barrot will replace him. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the same issue in an article by Andrey Terekhov.

Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on upcoming talks in Moscow between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Finnish counterpart Alexander Stubb in an article by Anatoly Anisimov. The issue of EU-Russia relations will also be discussed at the meeting.

In a front-page article, by Alexei Aronov, Izvestia reports on EU plant and vegetable exports to and mentions an EU-Russia memorandum on plant products safety.

Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “A gas ticket”, by Alexander Trempel, which addresses Azerbaijan’s energy supplies to Europe.

Interfax news agency reports on the European Commission’s decision to allocate 5 million euro for projects in the field of the development of civil society in Russia.

Novye Izvestia, in an article by Alexander Mineyev, addresses discussions in some EU Member States and in the European Parliament of rising food prices. A proposal to stop biofuels production is mentioned.

 

 

23.04.08.

Profil weekly magazine published an article by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which addresses the global system of international relations. On the EU, Lavrov mentioned inter alia the impact of Kosovo's sovereignty on internal European developments and an unwieldy process of decision-taking in Brussels.

Gazeta, Kommersant and Nezavisimaya Gazeta report on the discussion in the UN Security Council of the issue of Kosovo with participation of Serbian President Boris Tadic and Kosovo's PM Hashim Thaci.

Gazeta, in an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, reports on rising food prices in the world and cites PM Gordon Brown as saying that the EU biofuels targets need to be reviewed. The author recalls the EU's target of getting 10% of its road transport fuel from crops and biomass by 2020.

Vremya novostei reports briefly on a latest European Commission proposal on EU gas reserves (RIA-Novosti report).

Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Alexander Mineyev, which reports on the European Commission's decision which stipulates that in 2009 all foreign airlines operating into the EU will have to pass a the safety audit based on the International Civil Aviation Organisation http://www.icao.int/icao/en/m_about.html standards. A statement in this regard was made by executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency http://www.easa.europa.eu/ws_prod/g/g_about.php (EASA), Patrick Goudou.

In an article by Alexei Vasilivetsky, Izvestia mentions calls of the leaders of some EU Member States to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games.

 

Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media 14-21 April 2008

Energy projects in the context of EU efforts to diversify gas supplies to lower dependence on received broad media coverage. Dailies (Kommersant, Vedomosti, The Moscow Times) continued to report on the EU Troika’s visit to , focusing on a statement by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner that agreed to reserve annually 10bn cubic meters of its gas for the EU starting 2009. Kommersant (15/04) said in comments that the European Union “had reached its first success in negotiations with Central Asian countries on natural gas supplies” but noted that “even if the Europeans manage to obtain this gas, its transportation to the EU will be extremely difficult. However, Europe views it as a significant achievement and plans to reach similar agreements with and so as to reduce the energy dependence on Russia”. In the view of an expert at the Russian Institute of Strategic Research, cited by Vedomosti (15/04), the Europeans “may exaggerate Turkmenistan ’s readiness to participate in gas supplies to the EU so that to underline the good perspectives for the Nabucco gas pipeline”. Kommersant does not exclude that “if the EU-Turkmenistan agreement is fixed by long-term contracts, the country may become one of the resource bases for the future Nabucco gas pipeline from Turkey to Europe”. Vremya novostei (21/04) writes, with a reference to EU Special Representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel, that the European Commission has already drafted a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with in the energy sector.

In an article, entitled “Azerbaijan is ready to pump Turkmen gas to Europe”, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (16/04) mentioned Azeri President Ilkham Aliyev’s statement that his country is ready to participate in European projects. Azeri political scientist Alpai Akhmed told the daily that ’s President has made it clear that Baku “is not going to interfere into competition between the EU and in ensuring energy security for Europe”.

Also in the context of the EU-backed Nabucco, Vremya novostei (18/04) reported on energy talks last week between European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs with Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki and ’s Energy Minister Hussain al-Shahristani.

Addressing development around the South Stream gas pipeline, the media reported on ’ plans to join the project. Kommersant (14/04) reported on talks in Ljubljana held by Gazprom CEO Miller with Slovenian President Turk and PM Jansa to discuss ’s possible participation in the South Stream. According to the daily, Gazprom considers Slovenia as an alternative to Austria for its future gas route, as it is dissatisfied with the Austrian gas trader OMV’s uncompromising stance on Gazprom’s access to European end-users of gas. As Kommersant wrote, thus the final transit country for the South Stream’s northern branch “remains in question”, and added that “neither nor has signed an agreement on their joining the project”.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta (15/04) and Kommersant (17/04) published interviews with Vice-President of the European Parliament Marek Siwiec who visited Moscow last week. In the interview with Kommersant, Siwiec addressed, among other issues, the energy security aspect in EU-Russia relations. Having described energy security as “the key issue for the EU”, he recalled “permanent difficulties with gas supplies to Ukraine or to Georgia”. In his view, Gazprom “cannot act as a partner in this issue as it is not a commercial company but a political force. That is why a dialogue can be conducted with the Russian state only”. Answering a question on Nabucco, Siwiec said the existence of alternative supply routes is “profitable both for the EU and Russia”, highlighting that the EU “wants timely gas supplies without any political games”.

On 15 April, Vremya novostei published an interview with EU Special Representative for Miroslav Lajcak on EU policy in the region. He notably said that the country’s main task remains the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU. Lajcak also dismissed attempts to link the situation in with the situation in Kosovo.

 

17.04.08.

Kommersant publishes an interview with Vice-President of the European Parliament Marek Siwiec, which addresses EU-Russia relations.

Kommersant carries an article by Sergey Strokan, which reports on an international conference on global stability, security and development in Doha. Representatives of the European Parliament were among the participants in the forum.

Vremya novostei reports on Greece ’ readiness to join the South Stream gas pipeline project (RIA-Novosti report).

Vremya novostei (Interfax) and The Moscow Times (Bloomberg) report briefly on a meeting between Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller, and Hungarian Finance Minister Janos Veres yesterday in Moscow to discuss cooperation in the gas sector and the construction of the South Stream pipeline.

Gazeta reports on the settlement process in an article by Ivan Sotnikov.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Vadim Radionov and Oksana Antonenko, reports on the new wording of Latvia ’s law on education “banning the use of a non-state language as a language of teaching in private institutes”.

Gazeta reports briefly on the speech delivered by Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki at the European Parliament yesterday in Brussels in which he called for closer ties between the European Union and Iraq .

Vremya novostei reports briefly on the eurozone’s inflation (ITAR-TASS report).

 

 

16.04.08.

Novye Izvestia publishes an article by Maya Kvaskova, which mentions the European Commission’s reaction to an increase in Russian round timber export duties.

Vremya novostei publishes an article by James Sherr, a research fellow at the British Defence Academy , which addresses, among other issues, EU-Russia relations.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article, entitled “Azerbaijan is ready to pump Turkmen gas to Europe”, by Sokhbet Mamedov, which addresses the issue of diversification of energy supply routes and Azeri President Ilkham Aliyev’s statement that his country is ready to participate in European projects. The author points in this context to a recent statement by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner on ’s readiness to supply gas to Europe.

Kommersant reports briefly on a new edition of the Latvian law on education “banning the use of a non-state language as a language of teaching in private institutes. Only the official languages of the EU Member States are permissible as teaching languages” (RIA-Novosti report).

In an article by Alexei Yekimovsky and Seda Yegikyan, Kommersant reports that the European Commission may ban the operation by European airlines of Soviet-built aircraft following a recommendation from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The Moscow Times publishes an article called “Greek Minister Backs South Stream Project” (Reuters), which cites Greek Development Minister Christos Folias as saying that has agreed to join the South Stream gas pipeline project.

RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on the use of biofuels in the EU.

 

15.04.08.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta publishes an interview with Vice-President of the European Parliament Marek Siwiec in the run-up to his visit to Moscow . The interview addresses issues such as the recent NATO summit in Bucharest and 's and 's NATO bids, missile defence, Kosovo and the prospects for the start of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement.

Vremya novostei publishes an interview with EU Special Representative for Miroslav Lajcak on EU policy in the region.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Sergey Kulikov, which reports on a number of energy projects, including the EU-backed Nabucco.

Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta, in an article by Alexei Chichkin, reports on a White Stream pipeline proposal to pump gas to the EU bypassing . The EU's position on the project is also mentioned.

Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Vedomosti report on the Parliamentary elections in Italy.

RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy's proposals for more transparency in credit rating agencies.

In an article by Alina Lyubimskaya, RBK daily addresses the issue of biofuels and mentions the EU's target of ensuring 10% of fuel come from renewable sources by 2020.

 

Weekly review of articles on the EU in Russian media 7-14 April 2008

The media last week commented on statements made in an interview with Reuters last Wednesday by Polish President Lech Kaczynski who said that before the partnership talks between the EU and start, would like to see agreement within the EU to put and on a clear path to join NATO. On a visit to Helsinki on 10 April, Kaczynski denied linking ’s decision on lifting its veto on the EU-Russia talks with Ukraine’s and Georgia’s NATO bids. “There was not such a formulation… I would first like to know how the issue of MAP for and is going to be resolved”, he was quoted as saying. Vedomosti (11/04) said Kaczynski’s statements were perceived as “Warsaw’s new ultimatum to and the European Union”. At the same time, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski told Kommersant that “claims that Poland is putting forward any ultimatums toward Russia and linking the lifting of its veto with Ukraine’s and Georgia’s possible NATO membership reflect neither Warsaw’s position nor the President’s personal opinion”. Vremya novostei quoted European Commission spokesman, Amadeu Altafaj, as saying that “we do not mix up NATO with EU affairs”. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in comments that Kaczynski’s statement is “a question that first and foremost should be dealt with by EU members”. According to RBK daily (11/04), the Polish President’s statements are another “proof” that Poland’s veto on the start of the talks was linked not with the embargo on Polish meat exports to Russia but with “geopolitical issues”. A source in the Polish PM secretariat was quoted by Vedomosti as saying that Warsaw expects the European Commission to take into account ’s proposal to include in the negotiating mandate with energy security issues. After that, the talks can start”, the source said.

Media last week (Interfax, Kommersant, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei) reported on a joint letter sent by EU embassies in complaining to Russian officials that many Europeans find it impossible to collect all the paperwork necessary to live in . Kommersant (10/04) wrote that “the Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledged receiving the latter but pointed out that it was a routine document and did not have a confrontational character”. In an interview with Vremya novostei (10/04), the head of the Political Section of the European Commission Delegation to , Taneli Lahti, said the EU did not intend to criticise Russian visa rules; he admitted that Russians, who want to work in the EU for more than 90 days, also face bureaucratic procrastination. Meanwhile, spokesman for the European Commission Delegation to , Denis Daniilidis, told Kommersant that the EU and “have been conducting a dialogue on visa issues”, and that on 8-9 April there were EU-Russia talks at the expert level in the framework of the visa dialogue. An unnamed diplomatic source has expressed the view that a progress on the visa issue could be expected from negotiations on justice and security with participation of Vice-President of the European Commission Franco Frattini and Presidential aide Viktor Ivanov. The negotiations are scheduled for end-April in St. Petersburg.

The media (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Vremya novostei, The Moscow Times) addressed the EU Troika’s visit to to discuss cooperation, including in the energy sector. Vremya novostei (10/04) quoted EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as saying in an interview with Austrian media that Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov expressed his country’s readiness to supply gas to Europe. At the same time, the daily pointed out that the Turkmen President mentioned neither Nabucco nor the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

Several dailies (Gazeta, Kommersant, Vedomosti and Vremya novostei) reported on latest developments around the Nord Stream gas pipeline, namely the refusal by Nord Stream AG to build a service platform off the coast of Gotland in the Swedish exclusive economic zone. As Vremya novostei (09/04) wrote, “ does not have any economic benefits from the implementation of the Nord Stream project and is sceptical about the expediency of the pipeline”. The daily highlighted suggestions expressed during public debates in that “the Russians could use the platform for intelligence purposes”. Kommersant (09/04), in this context, recalled “a statement made in 2006 by the then-Vice-PM and Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov who announced ’s plans to use its Baltic Fleet to protect Nord Stream.

Kommersant and Vremya novostei last week reported on the signing in Pristina of Kosovo’s Constitution and cite EU Special Representative to Kosovo Peter Feith as having welcomed the Constitution.

 

14.04.08.

In a special supplement, titled ‘NG-Dipkurier’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov, which addresses the issue of interaction between the EU and in the Black Sea region.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) addresses EU-Russia relations in an article by Ekaterina Kuznetsova.

In an article by Madina Shavlokhova, Gazeta reports on a video-link discussion of the situation around the talks on a new EU-Russia agreement between the head of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, and the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag, Ruprecht Polenz.

Gazeta mentions EU duties on some products exported by Russian entreprises. 

In an article by Lidia Kosikova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) mentions ’s relations with the EU and NATO.

The Moscow Times publishes an article entitled “EU makes Human Rights Priority With Central Asia” (AP), which cites Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel as saying at a press conference in Ashgabat that human rights will conduct a “structured dialogue on human rights” with Central Asia.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) carries an article by Yevgeny Grigoryev, which reports on the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty in EU Member States.

Gazeta, Kommersant, RBK daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times and Vremya novostei report on early Parliamentary elections in Italy.

Kommersant (Saturday’s issue) published an article by Grigory Plakhotnikov, which reported on the approval by the Parliament of Bosnia and of the police reform regulation that is considered as a precondition for signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU.

In an article by Pavel Sarkisyan, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (‘NG-Dipkurier’) mentions ’s EU bid.

Novye Izvestia, in an article by Sergey Zolovkin, reports on the resignation of Bulgarian Interior Minister Rumen Petkov amid corruption accusations and mentions the EU’s criticism over ’s criminal situation.

Vremya novostei reports briefly on the imposition by the EU of a ban on operations of Ukrainian Cargo Airways. This company has become the third Ukrainian airline added to the EU’s ‘blacklist’ (Interfax report).  

 

10.04.08.

The Moscow Times, in an article entitled “Poland Hesitant to Lift Russia Veto” (Reuters), and ITAR-TASS news agency report that will hesitate to lift its veto on the EU’s partnership talks with “until big EU powers agree to put and on a clear path to join NATO”. The statement was made by Polish President Lech Kaczynski yesterday.

Kommersant, in an article by Mikhail Zygar, and Vremya novostei, in an article by Katerina Labetskaya, report on the EU’s letter to Russian authorities over problems experienced by European citizens with getting Russian visas. Vremya novostei publishes an interview on this issue with the head of the Political Section of the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Taneli Lahti.

Kommersant (Interfax report) and Vremya novostei (AK&M report) report briefly on the approval by the European Commission of the proposed acquisition of AvtoVaz by Renault and Russian Technology.

Vremya novostei reports on the visit to of the EU Troika in an article by Arkady Dubnov. The daily cites EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as saying in an interview with Austrian media that Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov expressed his country’s readiness to supply gas to Europe.

Kommersant and Vremya novostei report on the approval by Kosovo’s Parliament of Kosovo’s new Constitution. Kommersant cites statements on the Constitution made by EU Special Representative to Kosovo Peter Feith.

Izvestia, in an article by Viktor Zozulya, and Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Vadim Radionov and Oksana Antonenko, report on the documentary film, ‘The Soviet Story’, directed by Edvins Snore. The film was shown to Members of the European Parliament yesterday in Brussels.

In an article by Yulia Morochenko, Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on an upcoming visit of Duma members from the Fair Russia faction to Brussels for meetings with Members of the European Parliament‘s Socialist Group.

 

9.04.08.

The Moscow Times publishes an article called “EU Slams Russia Over Visa Red Tape”, by Conor Sweeney, which reports on a joint letter sent by EU embassies in complaining to Russian officials that many Europeans find it impossible to collect all the paperwork necessary to live in (Reuters). Interfax news agency cites spokesman for the European Commission Delegation to Russia, Denis Daniilidis, who has confirmed the sending of the letter of the European Commission and the Slovenian Presidency of the EU.

Trud reports briefly on the extension by the EU of travel restriction against certain officials until 10 April 2009 (ITAR-TASS).

The Moscow Times reports on the visit to of senior EU officials to discuss cooperation with Central Asia , including in the energy sector (Reuters report).

Gazeta, in an article by Alexander Trempel, Kommersant, in an article by Natalia Grib, Vedomosti, in an article by Alexander Tutushkin, and Vremya novostei, in an article by Alexei Grivach, report on developments around the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

 

3.04.08.

In an article by Konstantin Smirnov, Gazeta addresses the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan and mentions the EU's Tacis programme in Russia.

Vremya novostei reports briefly on talks between Deputy CEO of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, and Greek Minister of Development Christos Folias on 's possible participation in the South Stream gas pipeline (Interfax report).

Novye Izvestia publishes an interview with mayor of Brussels Freddy Thielemans, which addresses his activities in the capital of the EU and NATO.

RBK daily reports briefly on a probe launched by the European Commission into possible unlawful aid by the UK Government for Northern Rock (Handelsblatt report).

 

28.03.08.

Gazeta, Kommersant, RBK daily and Vremya novostei report on the visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy to Britain .

The Moscow Times (Reuters) reports on an upcoming EU Foreign Ministers' meeting in and points out that the EU will try to overcome sharp differences over dealing with rising powers and .

In an article by Malika Salakhitdinova, Trud addresses the issue of an initiative to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games and mentions a statement by President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who stressed that he did not see the Olympic Games as a political event and disagreed with the idea of a boycott.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article entitled speculates at the EU's Russophobia, by Sergey Kulikov, which reports on developments between 's Sonatrach and 's Gazprom in the context of natural gas supplies to the EU.

Kommersant carries an article, by Grigory Plakhotnikov, on developments in over a new press law and mentions the Slovak opposition's threat to block the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in protest against the new law.

Trud publishes an article entitled Russian citizenship becomes fashionable, by Gennady Petrov, which reports on the growing number of Russian-speaking residents of who wish to acquire Russian citizenship. The Russian Embassy in Tallinn explains the move by a number of factors, including 's joining the Schengen agreement.

The Moscow Times publishes an article entitled More Options for Trans-Atlantic Flights, by John Wilen (AP), which reports on options for nonstop flights between the US and Europe.

 

27.03.08.

Vremya novostei publishes an interview with Russian envoy to the European Communities, Vladimir Chizhov, who answers questions on Kosovo and EU policy towards Kosovo.

In a special insert dedicated to Sweden, Expert weekly magazine publishes an interview with Swedish Ambassador Johan Molander, which addresses 's EU membership and EU-Russia relations.

In a commentary by Maxim Sokolov, Expert reports on some EU issues, including the discussion by the EU summit of Sovereign Wealth Fund proposals. The author comments that the latter issue was discussed in the context of the EU's refusal from free movement of capital.

Gazeta, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei report on President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Britain.

Kommersant cites a statement on 's EU bid made by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Sarajevo.

Kommersant, in an article by Vyacheslav Leonov, reports on developments between Athens and Skopje over the name of the . The daily recalls recent statements in an interview with Kommersant by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis on 's EU aspirations.

In an article by Alexander Mineyev, Novaya Gazeta reports on EU road safety rules.

Kommersant carries an article by Yevgeny Khvostik, which reports that EU antitrust regulators have launched an investigation into cross border fees charged by Visa Europe Ltd. and cites EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes who warned Visa last year of the possible reopening of a probe into its multilateral interchange fees.

Vremya novostei reports briefly on the same issue (RIA-Novosti report).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.03.08.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article entitled “ is ready to lift a veto”, by Yevgeny Grigoryev, which addresses the prospects for the start of talks on a new EU-Russia framework agreement and cites latest statements on the issue by Polish and EU officials.

Expert weekly magazine, in an article by Yekaterina Kudashkina, reports on developments in and the recent anti-Government meeting organised by the opposition party Fidesz, including in the context of the EU.

Novye Izvestia publishes an interview with former Yugoslav Ambassador to Russia, Borislav Milosevic, which addresses the Kosovo issue and ’s EU aspirations.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by Andrey Terekhov, which reports on an upcoming visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy to the in the context of ’s EU Presidency in the second half of 2008.

Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta reports on the EU’s Sovereign Wealth Funds proposals in an article by Tatiana Konishcheva.

In an article by Yevgeny Arsyukhin, Rossiyskaya biznes-gazeta mentions European plans to replace natural gas, oil and coal by alternative energy sources and the idea of passive houses. ’s gas supplies to the EU are also addressed.

The issue of the settlement is addressed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vremya novostei.

Vremya novostei reports briefly on OMV’s plans to become a “serious competitor’ to Gazprom on the European market and to build the Nabucco gas pipeline (Lenta.ru report).

The Moscow Times publishes an article entitled “Where Europe Draws the Line”, by Jackson Diehl, a columnist for The Washington Post, which tackles European issues.

14.03.08.

Gazeta, in an article by Ivan Sotnikov, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, report on the EU summit in Brussels.

In an article by Vladimir Belousov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Serbian President Boris Tadic's decree dissolving Parliament and slating early Parliamentary elections for 11 May. 's relations with the EU against the background of recognition of Kosovo by a majority of EU Member States are also addressed. RBK daily reports on this issue in an article by Kirill Zubkov.

Gazeta carries an article by Polina Khimshiashvili, which deals with the signing by some EU Member States of deals with the on visa-free travel and the EU's position on this issue.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in an article by Anton Khodasevich, reports on diplomatic tensions between the and and the recalling of the Ambassador in Minsk to Washington for consultations. The author mentions President Alexander Lukashenko's statement on relations with the EU.

RBK daily publishes in Russian a Handelsblatt article on 's stance on the European Commission's 'ownership unbundling' proposals.

 

13.03.08.

RBK daily and Vedomosti report on the agenda of an EU summit which opens today in Brussels.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article by EU High Representative Javier Solana, which addresses climate change and international security.

Izvestia, in an article by Yury Politov, deals with a report by EU High Representative Solana and EU External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on climate change and international security.

Kommersant reports on the discussion in the UN Security Council of the Kosovo issue in an article by Dmitry Gornostayev. Parlamentskaya Gazeta addresses the Kosovo issue in an article by Alexei Vedernikov.

Vremya novostei publishes an interview with First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov, which tackles, among other issues, the EU- and the US-backed Nabucco gas pipeline, the Nord Stream project and EU-Russia energy relations in general.

The Moscow Times carries an article called “Barriers Going Up All Over Europe”, by Nikolaus von Twickel, which writes that “both and Europe are preparing to raise barriers for foreign investors”.

In an article by Katerina Labetskaya, Vremya novostei reports on the signing yesterday by and of bilateral deals with the on cooperation in the field of visa-free travel.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta carries an article, by Fyodor Lukyanov, on an audit report uncovering abuses by some Members of the European Parliament.

In an article by Yury Stroganov, Parlamentskaya Gazeta reports on chances of EU Financial Programming and Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite at presidential elections in planned for 2009.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on the protection of consumer rights in the EU. 

 

Moscow

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. 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.
Дополнительная информация (на английском языке): http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/russia/intro/index.htm; http://ec.europa.eurostat
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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