MOSCOW, January 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Brussels to participate in the 32nd Russia-EU summit on January 28, the Russian presidential press service reported on Friday.
“At the summit key issues on bilateral agenda will be discussed with the focus on trade and economic cooperation, prospects of visa-free rules for short-term trips of citizens from Russia and the EU states, energy cooperation and intensification of talks on a new basic treaty,” the Kremlin press service said. “The summiteers also plan to discuss ways to make Russia-EU strategic partnership stronger and possible links between Eurasian and European integration processes,” the Kremlin said.
“The summiteers also plan to debate a scope of topical international issues, including Iranian nuclear program, situation in Syria, including the results of the international peace conference Geneva II,” the press service said.
“The summiteers plan to discuss in detail prospects of development of Russia-EU relations, share views on several steps for making these relations truly strategic and for giving them a boost to broader cooperation in all trends, including economic, political, scientific and humanitarian spheres,” Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Friday.
Notably, the summiteers are expected to raise energy cooperation and problems of discriminatory use of the Third Energy Package to Russian companies within construction of South Stream gas pipeline as well as several other unsettled issues, including persistent EU attempts to impose a trans-Caspian gas pipeline despite ecological risks and lack of consensus among Caspian littoral states, European Commission’s ongoing unfair anti-monopoly probe against Russian gas giant Gazprom and other issues.
Meanwhile, the summiteers are expected to review progress of talks on a new basic Russia-EU treaty, particularly with due account of modern realities - Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Eurasian integration processes gaining momentum, the Russian presidential aide said. The agreement should set long-term priorities in Russia-EU cooperation and promote broader cooperation.
“It is planned to discuss implementation of the joint Partnership for Modernisation initiative that seeks to promote economic growth with the emphasis on innovative path of development. Within the initiative, 180 concrete projects are being implemented in energy efficiency, transport, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, science at a total cost of 15 billion euro,” the Russian presidential aide noted.
He also raised transition to visa-free regime for short-term trips. “Cancellation of visas would give a strong impetus to further Russia-EU rapprochement and would promote stronger and vaster economic and humanitarian ties. At talks the summiteers will also touch upon renovating the Russia-EU agreement on easier visa rules,” the Kremlin official said.
In his words, the interlocutors will also debate topical issues of world economy with due account of Russia’s G20 presidency in 2013, priorities of Russia’s G8 presidency this year. The summiteers are expected to discuss possible links between Eurasian and European integration processes, taking into account the interests of all sides concerned.
The European Union is a strategic and largest trade and economic partner of Russia. The EU states account for around 50 percent of Russian foreign trade. Meanwhile, Russia is among the top three main export-import markets for the EU states (after the United States and China). In 2012 Russia-EU trade turnover has reached 410.3 billion dollars (4.1 percent year-on-year growth), including export - 277.9 billion dollars (4.2 percent year-on-year growth), import - 132.4 billion dollars (3.7 percent year-on-year growth). In January-November 2013 countertrades went up 1.7 percent to 378 billion dollars on 2012. Russia’s surplus in trade with the EU states has reached 122.3 billion dollars.
Russian export mainly is made of mineral products (83.3 percent), metals and metallic products (7.3 percent), chemical products (3.8 percent). The country’s import comprises cars, equipment and transport vehicles (52.6 percent), chemical products (21.2 percent), food products and agricultural raw materials (10.8 percent).
The amount of investment accrued from the EU states in Russian economy makes 287 billion dollars, Russian investment in the EU states - around 80 billion dollars.
Russia and the European Union are maintaining active political ties. The previous Russia-EU summit was held in Russia’s Urals Yekaterinburg on June 3-4, 2013. The Russian government and the European Commission have regular talks. The sides are stepping up inter-parliamentary ties (the committee of inter-parliamentary cooperation had a meeting in Strasbourg on January 15-16, 2014). Russian and EU ministries and agencies expand cooperation (within 16 industrial dialogues). Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton who will also participate in a coming summit (their previous meeting was held on December 16, 2013) have established close relations.