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EU-Russia Summit.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 6 October 2005

Thursday, 6 October 2005

Questions (28)

Michael Ring


17 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the matters which will be discussed during the upcoming EU-Russia summit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26904/05]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

The EU-Russia Summit which took place in London on 4 October reviewed progress in implementation of what are known as the four "Common Spaces", which relate to economic issues, freedom, security and justice, external security and research and education. By focusing summit preparations on a small number of specific areas and pressing these strongly, the Union was able to achieve some good results.

On the eve of the summit, a first permanent partnership council involving Energy Ministers on both sides was held. In view of Russia's growing role in assuring security of energy supplies to the EU, the raising of the energy dialogue to ministerial level is a significant development. Issues in this energy dialogue include energy efficiency, trade, investment and infrastructure, as well as climate change and co-operation in respect of the Kyoto Protocol which Russia ratified last year.

The summit welcomed two linked agreements between the EU and Russia on visa facilitation and readmission. Russia's agreement to take back Russian nationals illegally in the EU, under conditions set out in the readmission agreement, breaks new ground. Despite some limitations, these agreements significantly advance the common space on freedom, security and justice between the EU and Russia and constitute a real achievement. As a non-Schengen country, Ireland is not covered by either agreement but would intend to negotiate bilateral agreements with Russia on the matters they cover.

A €20 million programme of EU assistance for socio-economic recovery in the north Caucasus was also announced at the summit. Pursuant to the commitment to work together in the regions adjacent to the EU and to Russia in building the common space of external security, the summit discussed a number of regional issues including Moldova, Belarus and Uzbekistan. While full agreement between the EU and Russia on these issues is not to be expected, consultation is important in building mutual trust.

President Putin raised the question of institutional arrangements to follow the EU-Russia Partnership and Co-operation Agreement which is scheduled to expire at the end of 2007. Internal EU discussion on this subject will be stepped up in the period ahead.