(Interfax – February 8, 2013)
Half of Russia’s trade turnover is with the EU, and EU countries are the main sources of foreign investment in the Russian economy despite the crisis, Russia’s permanent envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told reporters before Diplomats’ Day, which is marked on Feb. 10.
“Russian-EU relations can’t stagnate because the Russian economy and the EU economy are closely connected in the modern global world, in the modern global economy,” Chizhov said.
“Oil and gas pipelines are not the only things that connect us. There is industrial cooperation and technical cooperation. Our partners have recently made a proposal, which we back to declare year 2014 a year of science and technology in Russian-EU relations,” the diplomat said.
The meeting between Russian government officials and European Commission officials, which is scheduled to take place in Moscow in the second half of March, “will give a powerful impetus because the program will comprise meetings between industry European Commission officials with Russian ministers, in addition to the plenary session,” he said.
“We are now conducting some 15 sectoral dialogues. We have a partnership for modernization, which is being implemented. At the past Russia-EU summit in December, coordinators from both sides reported on progress on this track,” Chizhov said.
Chizhov admitted that some dialogues are proceding more actively than others, adding that some problems have recently arisen in the transport dialogue. The possibility of beginning dialogue in the sphere of consumer protection is now being discussed, he said.
“Of course, problems exist. Specifically, the ‘third energy package’ contradicts the EU obligations under the current 1994 agreement on partnership and cooperation. The fact that it has been given retroactive force, that is, that its provisions now apply to the existing infrastructure networks, does not fit into the universally accepted practice in the sphere of international treaties and law enforcement,” Chizhov said.