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Kremlin doesn’t expect shifts in facilitation of visa regime with EU

June 03, 2012, 3:41 UTC+3

“This visa issue is vital for the Russians,” the Kremlin spokesman said

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MOSCOW, June 3 (Itar-Tass) — A Russia-EU summit which’s kicking off in St. Petersburg on Sunday is unlikely to make any progress in facilitation of visa regime between Russia and the European Union.

“It’s hardly likely that anything positive is going to happen these days. Let’s wait and see,” Yuri Ushakov, the Russian president’s spokesperson, told journalists.

Ushakov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would try to convince his European colleagues in the expediency of cancelling visas for citizens of Russia and the EU countries. He will give them examples of how it’s going to contribute to trade and economic relations.

“This visa issue is vital for the Russians,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

“Transition to a visa-free regime for citizens going on short trips will certainly be an item on the agenda. The sides have got down to practical implementation of earlier agreed ‘joint steps’. If Russia and the European Union agree to give up visas, that will give a powerful impetus to their further rapprochement and expansion of mutually-beneficial and multi-faceted dialogue,” Ushakov went on to say.

Energy cooperation will be another key topic at the forthcoming summit.

“On the whole, it’s developing progressively. The first line of the Nord Stream pipeline was launched in November 2011. The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline is to get under way by the end of 2012.

Ushakov also noted some problems in the Russia-EU relations which are related, first and foremost, to the implementation of the EU Third Energy Package and the European Union’s plans to build a Tran-Caspian gas pipeline.

“The sides are expected to re-emphasize their intention to develop mutually beneficial energy partnership for the purpose of creating a single energy complex in Europe, by seeking strict observation of bilateral and multilateral contractual commitments,” Ushakov stressed.

He said that the sides would also discuss prospects of trade and economic cooperation in the context of Russia’s accession to the WTO and development of Eurasian integration.

“These aspects are closely linked to further work over a new base agreement which Russia and the European Union agreed to conclude in 2005. The current stage of the talks is brought down to a set of trade and investment issues,” the Kremlin spokesman emphasized.

He added that both sides had accumulated good experience of practical cooperation in crisis management. They are expected to analyze joint work over a Russia-EU agreement on cooperation in crisis management.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the European Union leaders will meet at the 29th Russia-EU summit in St. Petersburg on June 3-4.

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