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ST. PETERSBURG, June 3 (Itar-Tass) —— President Vladimir Putin has come to St. Petersburg to attend a Russia-EU summit.
He will have an informal dinner with European Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso tonight. The main events of the summit will take place on June 4. The summit results will be presented at a press conference.
This is the 29th summit of Russia and the European Union. The summits are held twice a year.
“Traditionally, Russia-EU summits have four events,” Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters. The negotiations start with an informal dinner and highlight global economic affairs and Russia-EU trade and economic relations, including ways to recover from the world financial crisis. “Integration processes on the former Soviet space to which the EU gives much attention may be discussed at the dinner, too,” Ushakov said.
There will be a plenary meeting on Monday morning to continue the discussion of Russia-EU cooperation, such as the formation of common spaces and the drafting of a new fundamental agreement. There will be a working lunch, which is traditionally dedicated to international issues. Ushakov expects the summit participants to touch upon North Africa, the Middle East, Syria, Libya, the Iranian nuclear program, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. “We intend to reaffirm our positions in the settlement of international conflicts, among them the rule of international law and the central coordinating role of the United Nations and its Security Council,” he said.
In the opinion of the Kremlin, “Russia-EU relations are rather dynamic and have the nature of a strategic partnership.” “The European Union is the largest Russian trade and economic partner, which accounts to approximately 50% of Russia’s total foreign trade. Last year Russia-EU trade exceeded the pre-crisis level of 2008 and reached about $394 billion. Russia is the third biggest trade partner of the EU, after the United States and China, with the share of about 9% in total EU trade,” Ushakov said.
“Russia and the European Union are actively participating in the elaboration of common approaches to the strategy and tactics of the settlement of the global economic crisis both in the bilateral dialog and at international organizations. They are actively cooperating within the roadmaps set up in 2009 to form four common spaces [economic; freedom, security and justice; external security; research and education, including culture],” Ushakov said.