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ЕС-Россия » Новости Центра ЕС-Россия » 6 октября 2009: Центр ЕС-Россия и Шведский институт международных отношений провели круглый стол по вопросам отношений ЕС-Россия

6 октября 2009: Центр ЕС-Россия и Шведский институт международных отношений провели круглый стол по вопросам отношений ЕС-Россия

12 Окт 2009
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yurgens_and_cameronThe roundtable, held in Stockholm on 6 October, featured four panellists: Mr Vygaudas Usackas, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Mr Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Development, Mr Rene Nyborg, former Finnish ambassador to Russia and Mr Ingmar Oldberg, Senior Research Associate at the SIIA. Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU Russia Centre, chaired the discussion.

Opening the discussion, Mr Usackas stressed the importance of the EU-Russia relationship for both parties. While the focus was on shared interests, one should not forget the question of values. This was essential for a long-lasting partnership. Mr Yurgens considered that Russia and Europe shared a common heritage on which a partnership could be built. He did not rule out eventual Russian membership in the EU, and even NATO. Mr Oldberg doubted this would happen in the foreseeable future. He pointed to rival approaches on security issues, including the CIS and CSTO. The EU could not accept any spheres of influence.

Mr Nyberg outlined the huge gains to be made if the EU and Russia could resolve their differences on energy, trade and visas. He considered Nordstream was pushing Russia towards greater transparency – and was a safer project than continuing to rely on increased tanker traffic in the Baltic Sea. He hoped Russia would reconsider its hasty decision on joining the WTO only as part of a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. He doubted whether complete visa liberalisation was feasible in the near future because of continuing fears in some member states about immigration. But he thought that there was scope for much greater liberalisation. Mr Usackas said that there should be a special regime for residents of Kaliningrad.

In the discussion, the issue of Russia’s commitment to multilateralism was raised. Mr Yurgens said that Russia wanted to join the WTO but not at any price. It was not obvious to Moscow that Russia stood to gain much from entry into the WTO. He admitted climate change was not a top priority in Russia but thought that Moscow would adopt a cooperative approach at Copenhagen.

On internal developments in Russia, Mr Yurgens thought that President Medvedev was right to highlight the urgency of diversifying and modernising the economy. An inward-looking and protectionist Russia could not guarantee rising living standards. Mr Nyberg agreed, stating that education, innovation and connectivity were key concerns. Mr Usackas stressed the importance of the rule of law, both for foreign investment and for internal reform. Separation of powers, a strong civil society and a free media were essential if Russia wanted to go down the reform path.

Panellists agreed there was a need for more engagement at all levels between the EU and Russia. Summing up, Fraser Cameron said that this was a principal goal of the EU Russia Centre. A strong, stable, democratic and prosperous Russia was very much in the long-term interest of the EU.

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