Summit Russia-EU, which is to be held in Mafra, Portugal, is rather a habit than a real necessity. Though Russia and EU were planning to sign an agreement on partnership a year ago, now this question is not on the agenda at all, because EU can’t help noticing the conflict between Russia on the one side and Poland and the Baltic states on the other.
The autumn summit is traditionally held in Europe (while the spring one in Russia) in the territory of the country which runs the EU presidency for the year. That’s why Russian authorities have arrived to a small Portuguese town Mafra.
Coming back to the events of the last year, Russia and EU were about to announce the start of negotiations on the new agreement on partnership and cooperation. Russia had really big expectations and event offered to call it a strategic partnership agreement. Russia intended to work out the mechanism of establishing a joint economic space with the EU and later a free trade zone.
The present framework agreement runs out on December, 1. All the year the both sides have tried to prepare the new one but Poland put a veto on the start of the negotiations, demanding to ratify the European Energy Charter and to withdraw the ban for importing Polish meat to Russia.
For this year Russia and EU not only have failed to persuade Poland to withdraw its veto, more than new discords between Russia and other European countries have appeared. So Moscow and Brussels are just to prolong the effective period of the old agreement and they haven’t moved to a new advanced level.
At the moment Moscow and UN have more differences than common interests. The conflict with the Baltic States, for example, escalated in spring, when Russia condemned the removal of the monument to the Bronze Soldier in Estonia and Estonia in its turn has accused Russia of cyber attack to Estonian government servers.
The Russian president is to pay EU attention once again to the impairment of rights of Russian-speaking population in Estonia and Latvia. Still the EU hasn’t managed to improve the situation there. On the one hand, the Russian president has accused the authorities of these two countries of Nazism revival. On the other hand Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have insisted on the organizing the International Conference on considering totalitarian regime crimes during and after the WWII, which is to be held in the first half of 2008. This try to condemn not only fascism but also Soviet communism was judged as an insult by Russia.
Another stumble block between Russia and Estonia is the gas pipe Nord Stream. Estonia has rejected the Russian Gazprom offer to lay the gas pipe on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Except these private differences with the countries, Russia has some problems with European Union in the whole. According to the European draft of EU electric energy and gas market liberalization the third countries cant control EU transport nets till its set in the agreements between EU and the third country. This document can prevent Gazprom from getting access to the European distributing nets. At that before coming to the European market Gazprom has to be divided into mining and transport company. The two sides are expected to sign an agreement on mutual concessions in Mafra. But energy is the only common interest for Russia and EU.
There is no chance to agree on the questions of Kosovo, Georgia and Moldavia as well.