Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Politics and Geopolitics / Present and future of Europe / Other
Disagreements between Russia and the EU again float to the surface
Material posted: Publication date: 23-12-2012

Between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his EU colleagues have any disagreement on energy cooperation during the summit, which is not brought almost any results in matters of economic ties and resolve trade conflicts.

Mr. Putin and the two EU President, Herman van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, this time tried to avoid public disputes that marred their previous meetings. Mr. Putin said that the two sides there is no conflict, and Mr. Barroso welcomed the "rich, intense" negotiations on a range of issues.

However, during the summit has not issued a single contract, and the parties are unable to settle differences, even on such simple items as a review of the visa agreement, which would simplify the process of obtaining visas for certain categories of Russian citizens, wishing to spend time in EU countries.

Over the past few years the volume of bilateral trade between the two European giants again rose, and between them there was a thaw, which was not since the Russian invasion in Georgia in 2008 and the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009.

For a long time, Russia expressed its dissatisfaction with the rules of the European Union in the field of energy, which implies splitting the shares of giant energy companies. Moscow also protested adopted in September the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of the EU to start investigation against state-owned energy company Gazprom, which is suspected of trying to fence off the market in Eastern Europe from other sellers.

For its part, the European Union has threatened to file a complaint against Russia to the Commission on the conflict resolution world trade organization in connection with the establishment of import duties and other violations of WTO rules. Russia officially became a WTO member in August 2012.

European officials have also accused Moscow that it hampered attempts to isolate the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and expressed its concern about the political processes taking place in Russia since the return of Mr. Putin to the presidency of the country, including the adoption of the law on the limitation of the right to protest and the strengthening of control over non-governmental organizations.

After an informal lunch on Thursday negotiating Friday's summit lasted only three hours. At a press conference at the end of it the leaders made no mention of trade disputes, and Mr. van Rompuy only briefly referred to the concerns of member States of the EU the situation of violation of human rights in Russia.

However, towards the end of the press conference still friction between Mr. Putin and the EU officials again floated to the surface. At that moment when one of the EU officials was ready to conclude the press conference, Mr. Putin intervened to respond to five-minute speech, Mr. Barroso concerning energy and the EU's visa policy.

Leaning towards the reporters and lightly tapping on a glass chair with a finger, Mr. Putin demanded to give him an opportunity to respond.

"One second,' he said, and his usually stone face appeared an ironic smile, - my old friend [Mr. Barroso] so long to explain here, because I knew he was wrong."

Mr. Putin said that EU energy policy in fact resulted in "the confiscation of Russian investment in some EU member States", and added that European leaders lack the "political will" to conclude with Russia the agreement on visa-free regime.

During the press conference, Mr. Putin referred to the selective approach to pricing from the European Union, which complains that "Gazprom" has tied the gas price to oil prices, and is silent when the other European companies are doing the same. According to Barroso, the problem here lies in the fact that "Gazprom" used "their dominant position in some parts of our market."

Both sides promised to achieve what Mr. Barroso has called "pragmatic solutions" to their differences.

Mr. Putin also said that he does not exclude the possibility that Russia will participate in attempts to help stabilise the economic and financial situation in Cyprus. Both sides also promised that they will continue to work on new economic and trade agreement.

Mr. van Rompuy tried to downplay the extent of disagreement between the parties about the situation in Syria. "We came to the consensus that it is urgent to put an end to the battles. We also agreed to continue to support" the UN special representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (Lakhdar Brahimi)".

Mr. Putin said that he wants to avoid chaos in Syria. However, as a hint that Russia does not cling to Mr. Assad, he added that his government wants in Syria is established "democratic regime"


Original publication: the Russia-EU Tensions Surface




RELATED MATERIALS: Politics and Geopolitics