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BRUSSELS, March 12, 3:17 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia-European Union (EU) consultations on the situation with the Eastern Partnership program are to open here on Wednesday. "The talks will be held, just as was planned. They will be of technical nature," European Commission official Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen confirmed.
Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's Permanent Representative at the EU, said earlier that the consultations would be held on March 12-13. Russia at the consultations would be represented by Maxim Medvedkov, Director of the Economic Development Ministry's Department for Trade Talks, and the EC by Peter Balasz, Deputy General Director of the Commission on Trade.
A decision to hold such consultations was taken at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels in January. Their purpose is to achieve a better understanding by the sides of the goals of the Eastern Partnership program and to determine whether they contradict in principle to Russia's interests. Most analysts here are of the opinion that the decision was a "tardy one, five years behind schedule", because ever since the start of the implementation of the EP program in Prague on May 7, 2009, the initiators Poland, Sweden, and the three Baltic States presented the program as a way to counteract an enhancement of Russia's influence in the post-Soviet countries.