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Common economic space draws EU, Russia together – Alexei Pushkov

March 12, 2013, 9:18 UTC+3

“The European Union still remains our largest foreign economic partner,” the legislator said

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BERLIN, March 12 (Itar-Tass) – The creation of a common economic space draws Europe and Russia together, the head of the State Duma international affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, said during his working visit to Berlin on Monday.

The creation of such space “is the fact” and Germany serves as the best example. It ranks second by the volume of investments in Russia. Last year the trade turnover between Russia and Germany exceeded $102 billion, he said.

“We have a few countries, with which we register such bilateral trade,” Pushkov said.

“The European Union still remains our largest foreign economic partner,” the legislator said expressing the hope that “this will remain as such.” “In fact, a common economic space exists already” and this is confirmed by the fact that several thousands of German companies and leading banks operate in Russia.

“Now the task is more likely for Russian businesses to start gradually adjusting in Europe, as we see evident misbalance here. It is the fact and the key fact that Russia turned into the most important market for European goods, to the most significant environment, where European money is invested,” Pushkov said.

“Russia is not a part of the European Union and this is a principal moment,” he said. “Russia’s non-membership of the EU rules out an opportunity to agree with the EU on all positions. Russia, of course, cannot become a EU member,” it is “a partner, not participant.”

However, the legislator admitted that “it can be expected that Russia will attentively listen to the EU wishes and try to meet them to such a degree, where our national interests permit us.”

The second organization of which Russia is not a member and “will not enter it in the foreseeable future” is NATO, he continued. “We cannot have identical security policy: we should search for a compromise,” Pushkov said. “Russia can agree with NATO on issues where our interests coincide, which our cooperation on Afghanistan proves, but we do not need to automatically agree with NATO.”

“The policy targeted at expansion of the alliance hampers our further rapprochement,” he said. “Of course, the creation of a European missile defence system, where Russia does not participate, is also an obstacle.”

“It is necessary to search for a formula of joint participation in the creation of a European missile defence system,” Pushkov said.

Europe and Russia are also linked by a value system and “although while discussing these values we sometimes disagree on evaluations, but it is important that we discuss the same values.” “This is a very important moment that proves that the progress reached is extremely big,” Pushkov concluded.


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