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EU Russia Critical Milestones

22 December 2009 Green light from the Council for the Commission to negotiate a broad Nuclear Partnership Agreement with Russia

The Council of the European Union adopts a mandate authorising the Commission to negotiate a partnership agreement for the peaceful use of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the Russian Federation. Russia is one of the main global suppliers of nuclear materials and equipment. It is also a key supplier of nuclear fuel and related nuclear fuel cycle services to nuclear power plant operators in the EU.

16 December 2009 Sakharov Prize 2009 awarded to Memorial

The European Parliament’s 2009 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded to Russian civil rights defence organisation Memorial, and their three representatives Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, as well as all other human rights defenders in Russia. The winner was announced by EP President Jerzy Buzek in Strasbourg on 22nd October. The prize ceremony took place in Strasbourg on 16th December.

During the Ceremony it was stressed that the EU should support and put pressure on Russia, particularly as risks to the work of human rights activists not only comes from neo-fascist organisations, but from the Government itself.

8 December 2009 Council conclusions on Arctic issues

The Council welcomes the gradual formulation of a policy on Arctic issues to address EU interests and responsibilities, while recognising Member States’ legitimate interests and rights in the Arctic.

18 November 2009 EU-Russia Summit

The Swedish Presidency of the EU hosts the 24th EU-Russia Summit. Main themes are climate change, WTO, and the on-going negotiations for a new EU-Russia agreement. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt speaks of the human rights situation in Russia as of “increasing cause for concern.” A webcast of the press conference given by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, EU High Representative Javier Solana and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

17 November 2009 Russia and the Prospects for European Security

EU-Russia Centre President, Lord Paddy Ashdown, and Director, Dr Fraser Cameron, host panel discussions on Russia and the Prospects for European Security as the Centre’s 12th Review, Russia, the OSCE and European Security was published.

The First Panel Russia and the OSCE is chaired by Fraser Cameron and is made up of Dov Lynch, Senior Adviser to the OSCE Secretary General, Vladimir Shkolnikov, Director of Freedom House Europe, and Kristin de Peyron, Acting Head of Unit, Multilateral Relations, European Commission. The Second Panel, Russia and the Future of European Security, is chaired by Lord Ashdown and speakers are: Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform, 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.

16 November 2009 The EU and Russia reinforce the Early Warning Mechanism to improve prevention and management in case of an energy crisis

The European Union and Russia agree to establish an ‘early warning’ mechanism to shield Europe from potential energy supply cuts and protect consumers in the event of a repeat of last year’s Russia-Ukraine gas dispute.

The agreement requires both sides to notify the other of any likely disruption to supplies of oil, natural gas or electricity and to work together to resolve the problem.

12 November 2009 The European Parliament adopts a resolution on the preparations for the EU-Russia Summit in Stockholm on 18 November 2009

The Parliament reaffirms its belief that Russia remains one of the EU’s most important partners in building sustainable cooperation, sharing not only economic and trade interests but also the objective of acting closely together on the basis of international law. It reiterates its strong support for a new agreement going beyond purely economic cooperation and also encompassing the areas of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human and fundamental rights.

5 November 2009 Human rights consultations between the EU and Russia

At the consultations the EU and Russia continue to address the human rights situation and developments in their respective countries, with a particular focus on cooperation in international human rights fora including the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, the functioning of civil society, rule of law and judiciary reform, protection of human rights in the fight against terrorism and the fight against racism and discrimination.

1 October 2009 European Parliament Public Hearing on Human Rights in Russia

The European Parliament Sub Committee on Human Rights, chaired by EU-RC founder member Heidi Hautala MEP, holds a public hearing on Human Rights in Russia. Around 200 people hear Stanislav Dimitryevski, editor-in-chief of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society newspaper, «Pravozashchita», Sergei Kovalev, Human rights defender and Mr Khazbiev, journalist from Ingushetia, speak in a hearing which concludes that specific measures should be taken to assist human rights activists in Russia:

  • easier access to travel visas, more opportunities for Russians to come to the EU (eg, student exchanges, invitations to Russian scientists to attend conference and other such exchanges);
  • provision for better information to Russia about the outside world and information on human rights;
  • access to funds for NGOs and human rights activists.
30 September 2009 European Parliamentary hearing on the human rights situation in Russia’s North Caucasus

Members of the European Parliament are joined by journalists and human rights activists from the region who paint a grim picture of human rights abuses and impunity for those who commit them. They call on the EU to use a planned Partnership Agreement with Russia to exert more pressure of the Kremlin.

Committee Chair ,Heidi Hautala (Green/EFA) MEP (EU-Russia Centre Founding Member). Speakers: Jan Nordlander Sweden’s Human Rights Ambassador, Stanislav Dmitrievsky, editor-in-chief of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society newspaper, “Pravozashchita” Sergei Kovalev, former Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, Magomed Khazbiev, a representative of the Ingushetian opposition, Thijs Berman (S&D), a former correspondent of Dutch radio in Moscow.

24 September 2009 EU-RC Legal Forum Inaugural Event: The Rule of Law in Russia – The Implications for Foreign Investors

Yuri Liubimov, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, outlines Russia’s priorities for creating a society based on the rule of law.

Liubimov speaks at a seminar, The Rule of Law in Russia – The Implications for Foreign Investors, which was hosted by The British-Russian Law Association, The Bar Council International Committee and the EU-Russia Centre. In his speech to legal and academic experts, he speaks about the challenges facing a country that has a legacy of over 300,000 laws and by-laws that has been created against a changing political backdrop and at national and regional levels across a vast geographical expanse.

The event is chaired by James Dingemans QC, Chairman of the Bar Council International Committee. He is joined by a panel of experts comprising: Professor Alena Ledeneva, reader in Russian Politics and Society, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, Khristofor Ivanyan, Ivanyan & Partners, Attorneys-at-law, Moscow, Dr Fraser Cameron, Director, EU-Russia Centre, and Rupert D’Cruz, Secretary of the British-Russian Law Association and Bar Council International Committee representative for Russia.

17 September 2009 European Parliament resolution on the murder of human rights activists in Russia

European Parliament resolution on the murder of human rights activists in Russia calls for a stepping-up of the EU-Russia human rights consultations. It condemns and strongly deplores the harassment and attacks on the lives of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in Russia. It urges the Russian authorities to do everything in their power to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, as affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It calls in particular on the responsible authorities to create circumstances that allow Memorial and other human rights organisations to resume their activities in Chechnya in a safe environment.

17 September 2009 Energy security

MEPs tell the European Commission in a resolution that “More needs to be done to prevent future disruption and early-warning mechanisms (which proved ineffective in the 2009 Russia-Ukraine energy crisis) need to be reviewed, They state that gas storage capacity needed to be expanded and interconnections improved. The Parliament also reiterates its call for a common European external energy security policy. The resolution lays out that improving the Network of Energy Security Correspondents (NESCO) could help avoid future disruptions. MEPs welcomed the agreement on the financing of infrastructure projects as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan (€250 million) and the idea of giving Europe a new European “supergrid” for electricity and gas.

30 August 2009 Bled Strategic Forum

Speakers include Dmitry Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, Helga Schmid, Director of Policy Planning for Javier Solana, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, the Secretary General of the OSCE, Geoff Hoon, former UK Minister for Defence, Peter Balazs, Foreign Minister of Hungary and Misoslav Lajcak, Foreign Minister of Slovakia.

26 May 2009 Council Consultations on Human Rights

The European Union and the Russian Federation hold the ninth round of human rights consultations in Brussels. The EU and Russia address the human rights situations and developments in their respective countries, with a particular focus on the functioning of civil society, rule of law and judiciary reform, protection of human rights in the fight against terrorism and the fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination. The EU raises a number of concerns related to specific human rights issues in the Russian Federation. These include freedom of media, expression and assembly, the rights of persons belonging to minorities, situation of human rights defenders, the rule of law and the need to respect human rights while countering terrorism.

The EU responds to Russia’s concerns about human rights issues in the EU including the fight against racism and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

26 May 2009 Russian NGO Briefing

Leaders of Russian NGOs visiting Brussels for Human Rights consultations with the EU criticise the current structure of consultations when speaking at the EU-Russia Centre. They object to the current system of a selection of activist groups meeting EU officials in the first instance, followed by a separate meeting between those officials and their Russian counterparts. This means that opposing points of view were put across in isolation, leading to potential confusion and misunderstanding. Lev Ponomarev of For Human Rights, All Russia Public Movement calls for an alternative meeting of all parties around a table. Mara Polyakova, Director of the Independent Council for Legal Expertise gives an account of the judicial system in Russia and is critical of the failings in the jury system and Valery Borshev of Social Partnership reviews recent progress in the area of penitential reform.

22 May 2009 EU-Russia Summit, Khabarovsk, CzechRep

At the 23rd EU-Russia Summit the EU and Russia seek to overcome differences on security, trade and energyf supplies in the Siberian city of Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border. They also discuss the EU’s new Eastern partnership plan to aid six former Soviet republics. The two sides try to improve ties strained by Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia and its January gas dispute with Ukraine, which left many EU customers without gas in the dead of winter. Russia pressed for its rapid admittance into the World Trade Organization.

2 April 2009 Recommendation to the Council on the new EU-Russia agreement

Janusz Onyszkiewicz, EU-Russia Centre advisory board member, introduces recommendations regarding the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement to the European Council on behalf of the ALDE Group on relations between the EU and Russia.

The recommendations cover a wide range of issues to be taken into account in ‘a broad, wide-ranging and legally binding agreement based on a shared commitment to human rights, covering the whole range of cooperation between the parties and representing a step up from the current PCA, both in terms of the depth of the commitments and the subjects covered.’ They note that the ‘violation by Russia of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and its role in the gas dispute at the beginning of 2009 had seriously endangered relations between the EU and Russia and the negotiations on the new agreement.’ The recommendations also seek ‘that the EU’s relationship with Russia must be based on respect for the rule of international law and all binding agreements and treaties to which Russia and EU Member States adhere,’ seeking, ‘a close partnership, enhanced cooperation and good neighbourly relations between the European Union and Russia.’

9 March 2009 The Economic Crisis – An Opportunity for EU-Russia Co-operation?

Speaking at a seminar organised by EU-Russia Centre in Brussels, Dr Yegor Gaidar, former acting Prime Minister of Russia and architect of Russia’s market reforms in the 1990s, calls on Russia and the EU to work together in the face of the economic crisis. Dr Gaidar says that Russia had been both prepared and unprepared for the current crisis due to a belief in permanent high oil prices. The Kremlin was now looking for a Russian way out of the crisis involving some stimulus measures and a devaluation of the rouble. This would lead to increased inflation and rising import prices as well as a sharp rise in unemployment and poverty. He states that Russia and the EU needed to find a common approach and make an effort to overcome misunderstandings and seek “practical solutions to key problems.” As a result of the crisis Russia could move towards a more democratic model, but this could not be imposed on Russia from the outside.

19 February 2009 Council of the European Union Human Rights Consultations

Presentation to representatives from the Czech Presidency, European Commission and European Parliament of EU-RC work. Discussion on human rights in Russia, in particular Professor Bill Bowring papers on Russian Penitentiary System. Amnesty International and Frontline Human Rights Defenders.

12 February 2009 European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Public Hearing on EU-Russia Relations

Chaired by: Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, MEP, and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Two panels: “Russian Foreign and Near Abroad Policies” and “The Future of EU-Russia Relations: More than Just Energy?”

Speakers: Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the publication “Russia in Global Affairs”, Arkady Moshes, Programme Director – Russia in the Regional and Global Context Research, Programme, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee at the Russian State Duma, Anders Aslund, Senior Fellow at the Peter G.Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington DC, Nicu Popescu, Senior Policy Fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

6 February 2009 President Barroso and nine members of the Commission head to Moscow for meetings with the Russian Government

A high-level meeting addresses important bilateral issues and sets out the strategic direction for EU-Russia relations in the coming years. In addition to pressing common concerns such as the current global economic crisis and the international climate change negotiations, the Commission and the Russian Government discuss a wide array of bilateral topics, including security of energy supplies, trade and border crossing issues.

14 January 2009 Gas supplies by Russia to Ukraine and the EU

The presidency outlines areas where it requires work to be speeded up and given the highest priority.
The Commission confirms its intentions regarding interconnection and infrastructure projects to be proposed for EU funding under the economic recovery plan approved in December by the European Council.
The presidency identifies four areas where it intends to focus:

  1. internal energy market: reaching an agreement by the end of March on a proposed package, including on market transparency;
  2. interconnection and infrastructure projects: reaching an early agreement on the Commission’s proposals;
  3. supply crisis response mechanisms: adjustments to directives on the security of supply of oil and gas, and measures to improve access to and investment in gas storage;
  4. external energy policy: developing policy so as to reduce the EU’s vulnerability and avoid new disruptions of supply.
12 January 2009 Council Conclusions on Energy Security in relation with the Russia/Ukraine gas dispute

The Energy Council of the European Union meets in order to discuss the problems caused by the unprecedented interruption of gas supplies from Russia via Ukraine to the EU.

10 December 2008 PACE committee calls for investigation and prosecution of human rights violations

Focus: Adopting a draft resolution on the humanitarian consequences of the war between Georgia and the Russian Federation, PACE´s Committee on Migrations, Refugees and Population called on both states and the de facto authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to investigate and where appropriate prosecute all human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law.

9 December 2008 EU-Georgia Cooperation Council Ninth meeting in Brussels

(Attendees: Mr Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Secretary of State for European Affairs of France represented the EU Presidency, Mr Javier Solana, High Representative for CFSP, Ms Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Mr Tomas Pojar, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.)

Focus: Crisis in Georgia. The plenary meeting of the Cooperation Council was followed by a joint ministerial working lunch between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to discuss matters of regional interest, as well as conflicts in the Southern Caucasus.

14 November 2008 EU-Russia Summit in Nice

(Attendees: Nicolas Sarkozy, the current President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, Dmitri Medvedev, the President of the Russian Federation, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and foreign affairs ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Bernard Kouchner.)

Focus: The discussions focused mainly on Georgia, pan-European security and the international financial crisis.

7 November 2008 Before Eu-Russia Summit

(Attendees: Tunne Kelam MEP, Member of the European Parliament’s EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, the EU’s High Representative, Javier Solana.)

Focus: EU values must be upheld in EU-Russia relationship.

21 October 2008 European Parliament Plenary Debate

(Attendees: Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Tatjana Zdanoka, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Jana Bobošíková, Vittorio Agnoletto,…)

Focus: EU-Russia cooperation in the energy sectorFocus: European Parliament Plenary Debate on EU-Russia Relations: exchange of views with the Council and the Commission on EU–Russia. Main topics of the discussion were related to Georgia and the possibility for the EU to re-launch negotiations for a strategic partnership with Russia.

3 September 2008 European Parliament resolution of 3 September 2008 on the situation in Georgia

Focus: The European Parliament: calls on Russia to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia and the inviolability of its internationally recognised borders, and therefore strongly condemns the recognition by the Russian Federation of the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as contrary to international law; demands that an independent international investigation be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to establish the facts and bring greater clarity to certain allegations; strongly urges Russia to honour all its commitments under the ceasefire agreement reached and signed through the diplomatic efforts of the EU; calls on the EU and NATO and its members to use, on the basis of a common position, all possibilities to persuade the Russian Government to abide by international law, which is the necessary condition for playing a responsible role in the international community; reminds Russia of its responsibility as a UN veto power for a global order of peace.

21 August 2008 Georgia: EU continues to deploy assistance to the conflict-stricken area

Focus: The European Union, through its Civil Protection Mechanism, is providing on-the-ground support around 100,000 civilians in the conflict-stricken area. Following a green light given by the French Presidency EU support is being sent via Member States and coordinated by the European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC). This civil protection assistance comes in addition to the Commission humanitarian aid already provided right after the start of the conflict.

3 July 2008 First round of talks on the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in Brussels

(Attendees: EU delegation [Directorate General for External Relations, Director General Eneko Landaburu]. The Russian delegation [Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov].)

Focus: definition of the overall scope of the negotiations, of their agenda and calendar.

27 June 2008 EU-Russia Summit

(Attendees: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov and the Minister for Economic Development Elvira Sahipzadovna Nabiullina. President of the European Council, Janez Janša, President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Peter Mandelson. The President of the European Council was assisted by the Council Secretary-General/EU High Representative Javier Solana and Slovenian Minister of the Economy, Andrej Vizjak.)

Focus: PCA negotiations, four common spaces, current global economic challenges, energy cooperation, climate change, human rights, Europe’s external security, frozen conflicts in Russian neighborhood.

3 June 2008 Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner in Russia for bilateral talks

(Attendees: European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and Foreign Minister Sergeij Lavrov. The Commissioner also addressed Members of the Duma and representatives of the European business community.)

Focus: preparation of the EU-Russia summit with particular reference to trade, energy and developments, world financial situation, international stability, and climate change. See here the agreement reached by the EU Member States on the PCA negotiating positions.

25 April 2008 EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council (PPC) on Justice and Home Affairs

(Attendees: Slovenian Presidency of the EU – Dr Lovro Šturm, Minister of Justice, and Dragutin Mate, Minister of the Interior and various representatives of EU and Russia)

Focus: Judicial cooperation – future cooperation in civil and commercial law, criminal matters, extradition – security – EU-Russia visa facilitation and readmission agreements, fight against cyber crime, cooperation between the European Police College (Cepol) and Russia, further cooperation between Europol and Russia and data protection.

14 April 2008 EU/Russian Federation human rights consultations

Focus: freedom of media, expression and assembly, especially in the light of the recent parliamentary and presidential elections, functioning of the civil society, the rights of persons belonging to minorities and combating racism and xenophobia and the rights of children. Both sides also discussed human rights in the Northern Caucasus

26 October 2007 Eu-Russia Summit, EU-Russia Summit, Mafra

(Attendees: the EU was represented by the President of the European Council Mr. José Sócrates, President of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, Secretary-General/High Representative, Dr. Javier Solana, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Mr. Luís AMADO, and the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Mr. Manuel Lobo Antunes, Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations, and Mr. Peter Mandelson, Commissioner for Trade.
The Russian Federation was represented by Mr. Vladimir PUTIN, President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey LAVROV, Foreign Minister, Mrs. Elvira NABIULLINA, Minister for Economic Development and Trade and Mr. Sergey YASTRZHEMBSKIY, Special Representative for development of relations with the European Union.)

Focus: Common Economic Space – investment dialogue and of the energy early warning mechanism – Russian WTO accession, Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice, EU-Russia Human Rights consultations and international issues – the situation in Burma, Kosovo, Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East Peace Process.

25 October 2007 EU-Russia Energy Dialogue

(European Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs and Minister if industry nad Energy of the Russian Federation Victor Khristenko)

Focus: EU-Russia cooperation in the energy sector.

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