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17 ноября 2009: Россия и перспективы европейской безопасности, 17 ноября 2009

27 Ноя 2009
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On 17th November, the EU-Russia Centre organised a conference with the Heinrich Boell Foundation on Russia and the Prospects for European Security to coincide with the publication of the Centre’s 12th Review, Russia, the OSCE and European Security.

Fraser.Cameron_Dov.Lynch_Vladimir-.Shkolnikov_Kristin.dePeyronThe First Panel Russia and the OSCE was chaired by Dr Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Russia Centre, and comprised Dov Lynch, Senior Adviser, OSCE Secretary General; Vladimir Shkolnikov, Director, Freedom House Europe and Kristin de Peyron, Head of Unit, Multilateral Relations, European Commission.

Dov Lynch spoke of the OSCE as a ‘foul weather organisation’ that had experienced difficulties in recent times, but emphasised its importance as the only organisation that brought the US, Europe and Russia together. It offered the latter a means to maintain dialogue on security issues, to get its voice heard by the US and Europe, and to put forward its concerns in face of emerging security gaps in Europe.

The OSCE had been built on principles that recognised the differences between the participating states and was built on consensus. The recognition of differences in culture and proprieties were part of the OSCE’s DNA. Russia had been critical of the OSCE since 1999 and still had wide concerns. It knew the OSCE mechanisms probably better than any other member state and believed in the OSCE as a means to maintain dialogue with an increasingly divided Europe. Both Russia and the US were very important within the OSCE despite the weight of the EU. This was a forum where Russia was listened to more. Russia was often critical of the OSCE in public, but not necessarily in policy terms.

Lynch said that it was important that the EU retained its commitment to the promotion of democracy in the face of its expansion. The OSCE had been an important support to that expansion in the ‘90s and could help the EU now. There needed to be less rhetoric about democracy and more emphasis on OSCE commitments and values. Political-military issues were back on the agenda and there had been some erosion in upholding previously made commitments. However, the OSCE was an important forum for discussion and was at its best when performing a pan–European role in the face of tensions and diverse interests.

Kristin De Peyron said that the EU was not punching its weight in the OSCE and could do much more. There was value in the OSCE in the fact that Central Asian countries which were not in the Council of Europe were members. It was also important to retain a balance of the principles of the Helsinki Accord. The political dialogue of the OSCE was often used in the formation of other institutions such as the European Partnership. Russia was worried about the development of the OSCE, NATO expansion and the expansion of the EU. The dialogue that had been initiated by the Greek chairmanship was focussed on all aspects of the OSCE and Russia had been very engaged in that dialogue.

She stated that the US & the EU have a frank dialogue and that the US had been active in discussions surrounding the European Security architecture proposal. There was a need for policy to be based on all three baskets and to focus on the areas where the OSCE could deliver, rather than areas such as climate change. However, the organisation could look at issues beyond security as long as they remained linked to it.
In considering the size of the OSCE today, De Peyron still believed that it was an easier forum for discussions than NATO. It allowed privileged dialogue for those members that were outside the Council of Europe and provided a solid base for security dialogue. Indeed she would like to see the OSCE launch formal discussions in the form of the European Security Architecture. There was still a temptation to concentrate on form rather than content and substance.

Vladimir Shkolnikov was more critical, stating that the constructs that make up the OSCE have not worked, referring to the failure and withdrawal of missions and the apparent contradictions in OSCE positive responses to apparently corrupt and flawed elections in Central Europe. He spoke of the inherent tensions between participating states which had declared in 1991 that human rights and democracy were of interest to all of the participating states, not merely at an individual level. He underlined the fact that the OSCE of today came out of the 1990s. The current rhetoric was sharp and had led to reflexive responses: the West defends the OSCE and Russia attacks it making threats of withdrawal. There was a need for a more analytical and constructive approach, especially by the US which was often inconsistent and not always supportive of the OSCE.

He believed that the OSCE was more effective than the UN on many issues and that it had an important role for Central Asian countries. We had forgotten the lessons of the past; he accused the OSCE and some participating institutions such as the ODIHR of fudging the issues by concentrating on small details rather than high ideals. There is a need to go back to basics and to focus on specific subjects; it was not a ‘buffet’. He was pessimistic for much change in the future, foreseeing continuing discussion of fragmented issues.

Fraser Cameron ended the first panel saying that he had attended the 1990 Paris CSCE summit when there was great enthusiasm for what everyone believed was a new, universally democratic Europe. The OSCE had a central position in protecting that democracy as the only European organisation that brought countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok together. It was up to its members how it develops over the coming years in order to recover some of the ground that had been lost.

The Second Panel, Russia and the Future of European Security, was chaired by Lord Ashdown and speakers were: Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform, UK; Björn Fagerberg, Senior Adviser, Policy Planning, Council of the EU and Nadia Arbatova Head of Department of European Studies, IMEMO, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow.

Nadia Arbatova said that the recent proposals by President Medvedev regarding a new European security architecture was not a PR move, but a serious proposal to restore Russia’s status in the future of European security. She was critical of the West’s treatment of Russia after the Cold War. She saw Medvedev’s proposal as rooted in Putin’s Munich speech of 2007 which sought to change the model of East West relations. She denied any differences between the two men, and suggested that Putin offered an additional channel of communication between Russia and the West. While the US was important to Russia in global issues, its priority in Europe was the EU and NATO. However, it was true that any rapprochement in US-Russia relations would provide a positive environment for EU-Russia relations.

17 ноября 2009: Доклад о завтраке с Делегацией России Европейского Парламента: “Полученные уроки 6й парламентской сессии”

27 Ноя 2009
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At a breakfast briefing in Brussels on November 17th, EU-Russia Centre President, Paddy Ashdown, and Director, Fraser Cameron, presented Members of the European Parliament with the results of the Centre’s recent report on the lessons learnt from the activities of the Parliament’s Russia Delegation during the previous term (2004-2009). There followed a discussion about the key outcomes from the report, and the implications for the work of the Delegation going forward.

The report consisted of background research into the core activities of the Delegation, as well as interviews with ten of its members. It included conclusions and a list of policy priorities for the next Delegation, as suggested by the members themselves.

The principle conclusion of the report was that the Delegation had played an important role in EU-Russia relations, providing a constant opportunity for dialogue and continuity – even during difficult times, whilst it also encouraged Members to better understand Russia.

The accession of new Member States had led to changes in the stance of the Delegation, but also brought valuable knowledge and direct experience of dealing with Russia. It exemplified the importance of Europe speaking with one voice towards Russia, in a manner that is frank, open and respectful. The Delegation should focus on a range of issues including energy, the rule of law and human rights, European security and a common neighbourhood.

During the discussions that followed, the report was welcomed by MEPs as the only one of its kind carried out for a Delegation. They were keen to emphasise the positive outcomes from the Delegation in recent years, including impactful meetings with Ministers and NGOs.

There was clearly room for improvement when it came to talks with their Duma equivalents, however, which often consisted “more of statements than dialogue, with a great deal of moralising”, although the financial crisis had given the Russians a new meaning of “what is meant by inter-dependence”.

Among the future policy priorities, Foreign Direct Investment was identified as a potential lever for the EU in its discussions with Russia, and the merits of a common legislative framework for achieving this was discussed. It was agreed that this would be a useful topic to discuss with the business community.

The report was scheduled to be presented to Members of the new Delegation by its Chairman Knut Fleckenstein.

Доклад об экспертной дискуссии “Восточное Партнерство: риск появления новых разделительных линий в Европе?”, 15 октября 2009

03 Ноя 2009
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15_October_WarsawOn 15th October Olena Prystayko, research fellow of the EU-Russia Centre and Arkady Moshes, Programme Director of the Research programme on Russia in region and global context at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, took part in an expert discussion organised by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Warsaw, “Eastern Partnership and Russia: a Risk of a New Division Line in Europe?”. The discussion was attended by 35 Polish experts, representing official and research institutions, media and universities.

Opening the discussion, Mr. Moshes stressed that fragmentation of the post-Soviet space and Eastern Partnership (EaP) region had increased recently. Both Russia and the EU had a restricted set of instruments at their disposal to control this process. They also had limited influence in the region. Russia had a generally negative attitude towards the Eastern Partnership of the EU for two reasons: Instrumental – Russia was trapped in a “double refusal gap”. Having rejected the European Neighbourhood Policy, Russia could no longer participate in the EaP. The second reason was systemic – Russia did not like policies which it had not lead or participated in. Additionally, EU and Russia interests did not coincide in this region. The main question was over the readiness of the EU and Russia to face conflict in the region. Both players had the resources to participate in conflict, but were not ready to use them. The EU should raise its presence in the region through the implementation of a number of projects; an increased level of EU presence would mean a reduced potential for conflict with Russia.

Ms. Prystayko gave an overview of the EaP region in terms of democratic development. In “Nations in Transit 2009” (published by Freedom House), only two countries,– Georgia and Ukraine, were classified as having “transitional governance or hybrid regime”. Armenia and Moldova were considered as “semi-consolidated authoritarian regimes”, while Azerbaijan and Belarus were already “consolidated authoritarian regimes”. Russia also had been put into the category of consolidated authoritarian regimes. Different political systems determined the attitudes that the partners have towards EU: EaP policy. Ways to engage Russia in the implementation of the EaP and general cooperation with the EU in the regions were restricted. There was little hope that Russia would be cooperative in the region under the current political system. The EU, nevertheless, should continue its current policy and dialogue with Russia. EU policy should be twofold: continuing efforts in promoting democracy in the region, and strengthening cooperation with Russia.

The discussion which followed focused on seeking options of engaging Russia in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership, different dimensions of the policy and its implementation, such as energy, security, as well as financial mechanisms. Summing up the discussion, moderator Maria Przelomiec, a journalist from TVP Info, said that the topics were important and it made sense to continue discussions in the future.

Доклад о совместном семинаре “Вовлечение гражданского общества в отношения ЕС-Россия”, 14-15 октября 2009

03 Ноя 2009
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On 14-15th October the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) together Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (CCRF) organised a joint workshop, “Involving Civil Society in the EU-Russia Relations”. The first workshop took place in Moscow and Olena Prystayko, research fellow at the EU-Russia Centre spoke in one of the sessions.

The overall objective of the workshop was to foster an exchange of information and experiences in order to have better understanding of the political, economic and social situations in the EU and Russia. In addition, both institutions are seeking to work closer together in order to monitor jointly the negotiation of the new EU-Russia agreement and to ensure that the positions of civil society organisations are taken into account throughout these negotiations and in future relations.

Around 50 participants took part in the workshop: members of the EESC and CCRF, representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament, representatives of the Permanent Mission the Russian Federation to the EU and experts from a number of institutions and organisations.

The Workshop was opened by Mario Sepi, President of the EESC and Evgeniy Velikhov, President of the CCRF, who both spoke about the importance of incorporating civil society structures from both sides into official EU-Russia relations. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the EC, said that he was pleased to participate in this event which was focused on consultations regarding civil society. He drew special attention to Russia’s steps in tackling the financial crisis. According to Mr Chizhov, the future lay in transparent politics, based, among other things, on expert independent opinion. Newly appointed Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, Knut Fleckenstein noted that it was crucial to improve the quality of the relationship between Russia and the EU during the current negotiations on the new agreement.

Michael Webb, Deputy Head of Unit Russia and Northern Dimension (DG RELEX, European Commission) and Alexander Krestiyanov, Deputy Head of the Mission, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the EU were key speakers in the first session. They both spoke about the process of negotiation of the new agreement and the results so far. Mr Webb reported steady progress on understanding between the parties, though noted that much still was to be done. He especially noted that any extension of the negotiations would not lead to any legal vacuum in the relationship, as it had been agreed that the existing PCA would remain in force until the new agreement came into force. He outlined main points of the EU’s negotiating position and noted that most work needed to be done in the areas of trade and economic relations, energy (despite Russia’s withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty), horizontal issues and adherence to international commitments in the sphere of human rights. The EU, according to Mr Webb was open for cooperation for the civil society. He ended saying that the agreement would not be reached in the near future. Mr Krestiyanov, outlined the Russian position in the negotiations and listed some problematic issues. Some of these were simple, such as translation problems, but also deep-rooted misunderstandings. In the energy sphere, Russia questioned EU’s reciprocity. Mr Krestiyanov echoed Mr Webb saying that the biggest problems lay in the trade and economic area. After the formation of the custom union with Belarus and Kazakhstan on 1st January 2010 Russia will not be able to hold negotiations with the EU on the creation of the Free Trade Area any longer. Therefore, it was crucial to find a new appropriate form of negotiations. The EU and Russia should expect lengthy negotiations in the months ahead.

The second part of the first session was devoted to the role of the civil society in the new EU-Russia agreement. Ivan Voleš, President of the EESC Eastern Neighbours Contact Group and member of the Employers Group, EESC outlined the EESC position regarding the options to integrate civil society into official EU-Russia relations, like involvement into the negotiation process, elaborating joint positions on important issues in the negotiations and the future creation of a joint consultative body within the institutional structure of the EU-Russia official dialogue. Vyacheslav Nikonov, Chairman of the Inter-Commission Working Group on International Affairs, CCRF stated that the current PCA did not contain any reference to the civil society. He outlined the main principles of civil society which could be included in the new agreement. They included commitment to democracy (but with the understanding that there is no ideal democracy), support of a civil society, legislation on the free development of NGOs etc. He echoed Mr Voleš’s idea of the creation of a joint consultative body, based on the EESC and CCRF. Mr Nikonov concluded that civil society ties between the parties should be enforced even without the current negotiation process. Olena Prystayko, Research fellow, EU-Russia Centre spoke of the importance of including independent NGOs and think-tanks in the EU-Russia dialogue. She noted that the EU and Russia had not yet agreed their positions regarding the inclusion of civil society structures in the negotiation process, and their future role in EU-Russia official dialogue. Ms Prystayko outlined possible options for including provisions on civil society into the new agreement and the grounds for it. She supported the idea of the creation of a joint civil society body which could be integrated into the institutional structure of EU-Russia official dialogue. The EU-Russia Centre provided the organisers of the workshop with a briefing document, “What Role for Civil Society in the Sew EU-Russia Agreement?”.

The second day of the workshop was devoted to the social consequences of the economic crisis.

The workshop programme can be found at the EESC’s website:

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.

14 мая 2009: Семинар Центра ЕС-Россия “Роль России в переговорах об изменении климата в Копенгагене”

30 июля 2009
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14th May, 2009, 13.00 – 14.30

«Stanhope» Hotel, Rue du Commerce 9, 1000 Brussels

The EU-Russia Forum is kindly supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung


On 14 May, the EU-Russia Forum and the Heinrich Boell Foundation held a roundtable discussion on Russia’s attitude to the Copenhagen review conference on Climate Change1. »

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