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MOSCOW, June 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The 29th Russia-EU summit will take place in St. Petersburg on June 3-4. President Vladimir Putin will lead the Russian delegation, while European Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will lead the EU delegation. The summit will center on the EU situation and bilateral relations, among them the modernization partnership program and the drafting of a new fundamental agreement.
Russia-EU relations are based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in 1994 and entered into force in December 1997. The agreement relates to the development of a political dialog, trade, business, investments, capitals, competition, protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property and deterrence of illegal activity. The agreement expired on December 1, 2007. Although it is possible to extend it automatically for one year, the sides acknowledge the need for drafting a new document. The negotiations started in July 2008 and were suspended several times. Thirteen rounds have been held by now, the latest in February 2011.
The European Union is an important partner of Russia. It has 27 member countries with the total population exceeding 490 million. About 25 million companies are producing commodities by unified rules and standards in the EU. The Russia-EU border is almost 2,000 kilometers long. Almost 52% of Russian trade and three-quarters of foreign investments (92 billion euros) fall on the European Union. In turn, Russia ranks third (after the United States and China) in Europe’s trade. It accounts for 7% of European exports and 9.6% of European imports. Russia mostly exports resources (70% of total exports), chemicals and agricultural products, and buys machines and equipment (over 40% of imports), as well as food and textile goods. Russia-EU trade stood at $394 billion in 2011. The euro holds 41% in the Russian foreign currency reserves.
Being the biggest fuel supplier to the EU, Russia tops the list of gas exporters (the share of Russian gas in the EU gas demand amounted to 31% in 2011. Russia met 27% of EU crude needs and 24% of coal needs). A total of 5,000 European enterprises have been certified in Russia, 8% of them in absentia, on the basis of statements of national veterinarian services. Four hundred Russian enterprises are certified in the European Union, mostly fisheries, as well as nine dairy factories and one venison producer.
The European Union and Russia are developing common approaches to the strategic settlement of the global economic crisis in the bilateral dialog and within international structures, such as the G20.
Traditionally, EU-Russia summits take place twice a year, on the Russian territory in the first half of the year and in the EU chair-in-office country in the second half of the year. Regularly, the first day starts with informal communication and a walk in the host city. The second day presents a working meeting, a breakfast and a press conference. Russia seeks to broaden the geography of such meetings in order to give the Europeans a better impression of its territory and to display the cultural and economic potential of not only Moscow and St. Petersburg but also of other cities. EU-Russia summits have taken place in Khabarovsk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Tomsk and Nizhny Novgorod.