Azara Blog: Russia and EU reach an agreement

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Date published: 2005/05/10

The BBC says:

Russia has reached an agreement with the European Union on closer co-operation in key policy areas including the economy and security.

The comprehensive deal was reached ahead of a Moscow summit attended by top EU and Russian officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped the pact would help create a Europe "without dividing lines".
The deal, due to published in greater detail later on Tuesday, aims to ensure Russia and the EU can build closer trade ties and improve political relations.

The pact also seeks to improve collaboration in the areas of energy, transport and regional conflict resolution, to narrow the gap between existing legal standards, and promote trade and investment between the two sides.
The EU and Russia have also agreed to hold further talks on issues on which they were not able to reach full agreement.

These include softening visa regulations to eventually allow travel without visas between the two blocs, and whether Russia should take back migrants who have entered Western Europe illegally.
The EU is Russia's biggest trading partner, while Russia supplies more than one third of Europe's gas and oil.

Russia is a tricky one to call right now, it is not exactly a shining light of democracy. Hopefully it will progress and not regress further, because good relations between the EU and Russia are essential, if nothing else as a strategic bloc to counter the US and China.

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