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EU-Russia Summit in Khabarovsk
May 26, 2009 23:55

Traditionally the first annual  Russia-EU summit takes place in Russia. This year the European leaders decided to choose Khabarovsk – one of the cities, situated at the Far East of Russia. Perhaps Europeans wanted to see unexplored wilderness of the region.

EU top officials - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana, Czech President Vaclav Klaus (the Czech Republic now chairs the EU) and Dmitry Medvedev discussed the ways out of the world  economic crisis, energy problems, the delivery of Russian gas and a new structure of European security.

They also made some suggestions about the major international problems - Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Pakistan. The discussions were not quiet and smooth and a lot of Russians had not optimistic forecasts about the summit.

Since last August many international happenings, connected with Russia took place: Caucasian war,   Georgia, and the recognition of   Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These events were followed by Russia's gas transit crisis with Ukraine and the shutdown of gas supplies to Europe. Later, the EU signed an agreement with Kiev on refurbishing Ukraine's gas pipelines without Russia's participation. This EU behavior could be arranging as acting against Russia, although the relations between Russia and Ukraine with the EU help became rather bad.

Then the Eastern Partnership project was discussed. The Kremlin considers the Eastern Partnership project as an attempt to create another cordon around Russian borders. The project involves Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and Azerbaijan.

The main Europe goal was to discuss any Russian proposals, but only in the context of the Energy Charter, which was discussed with other countries without Russia. In other words, the EU and some neighbors are satisfied with the charter and do not want to sign any other document, although in in general Europeans understand Russia's intention to update the charter and to protect its rights in gas transit countries. Signing of new Energy Charter by Russian top is very dangerous now without the discussion of Russian rights in EU. Many people say that the Russian top should be more critical with European partners.

The EU reprehensive says that Eastern partnership is not an anti-Russian project because it does not differ from the European Neighborhood Policy that is in place since 2003. The Eastern Partnership only tries to accelerate something that was happening anyway under the neighborhood policy. “So the Russian complaints are just a rhetorical exercise, and are not grounded in an attempt to understand the Eastern Partnership. The EU wants a stable, democratic and prosperous neighbors – I don’t see anything anti-Russian in these objectives,”- said the EU reprehensive.

Thus, EU refers the non-popular   Saakashvili and   Yuschenko regimes and discriminating anti-Russian regimes in   Latvia and   Estonia to democratic ones. As usually, struggle for the resources is decorated with “democratic” speeches. Such speeches can really lead to one more cold winter in Europe without gas because of anti-Russian “neighborhood policy”.

Still Russia cannot resolve all gas problems without Europe – the main importer of Russian gas. The main Russian troubles are bad economical conditions and particularly bad government. Apparently Russia can not find a good way out from the situation without involving a third player in the game.

It became known in Khabarovsk that Russia wants to set up a new system of gas supplies to China and other countries in Asia and the Pacific. These proposals will be part of Russia's Eastern Gas Program, which will be discussed in Moscow next month.

That can help Russia to avoid the full dependence on Europe's readiness to buy Russian gas. Diversification of sales can resolvepartly Russian problems.

Ushakova Alexandra


Tags: Khabarovsk     

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