Press statement following Russia-EU summit 4 June 2012

Text of "Press statement following Russia-EU summit 4 June 2012", published in English on the Russian presidential website on 4 June

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

The 29th Russia-European Union summit has just ended. Our meeting was certainly useful. Russia and the EU face common challenges, especially in the economy and the financial sector, and this requires us to take timely action to coordinate our approaches to the similar tasks we must address.

I think my colleagues will agree that this summit has reaffirmed the priority nature of the Russia-EU strategic partnership and our common understanding of the need to move forward so that people in both Russia and the EU feel the tangible benefits our partnership brings.

We updated our colleagues on developments in the integration processes under way in the CIS area, including with regard to their prospective impact on shaping relations between Russia and the EU. We are sure that the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space, and in the future perhaps the Eurasian Economic Union too, are entirely compatible with the objectives of strengthening Russia’s relations with the EU.

It was important of course to discuss work on the new basic agreement between Russia and the EU. Both sides reiterated their interest in drafting a document that will set out strategic goals that meet today’s needs.

The new basic agreement’s trade and economic section is the main stumbling block at the moment. We agreed to continue informal consultations to find mutually acceptable solutions to the issues involved. We examined together the trade and economic cooperation opportunities that Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization opens up and discussed how we can use these opportunities to develop our trade and economic ties and settle the remaining problems.

I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the EU and the European Commission for consistently supporting the Russian Federation in its accession to the World Trade Organization.

We also discussed the matter of introducing visa-free travel between Russia and the EU countries. The existing visa barriers are clearly putting a brake on development of our humanitarian contacts and economic ties.

We analysed the progress made so far in implementing the Partnership for Modernization joint initiative. We will continue this work so as to carry out a number of big joint projects involving the Russian and EU business communities and our financial institutions. Our big financial institutions have already concluded agreements in this area.

Energy cooperation was one of the main subjects of discussion at the plenary session and is one of the main areas of our economic cooperation. There are still some matters that require additional examination and regulation, but I hope that, given the proven importance of Russia-EU cooperation in energy sector, we will find solutions acceptable to both sides.

We drew our partners’ attention to what we consider a sore point – the unilateral EU decision to extend the European emission quota system to cover third-party countries’ civil aviation starting from 1 January 2012.

We discussed the humanitarian dialogue between Russia and the EU and examined the main issues on the international agenda, the situation in Syria, Iran, the Middle East and a number of other regions.

Summing up, I want to say that today’s discussion was productive. Of course, our views do not coincide on all issues, but I think we succeeded in reaffirming our commitment to our chosen course and have sent a clear political signal in favour of intensifying our cooperation. Now we must keep up the pace and keep moving forward.

I thank our partners and the experts who worked hard to prepare today’s meeting.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Source: President of the Russian Federation website, Moscow, in English 1510 gmt 4 Jun 12

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