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Summit initiates discussions between Russia and Europe

24 July 2008

The EU-Russia summit in July 2008 has initiated long-awaited discussions regarding future relations between the EU and Russia, and the possibility of formal links between the economies being made.
Currently, Russia is the EU’s number three trading partner, after the US and China.

For Russia, the EU is both import and export partner number one. Last year’s flow of EU investments into Russia – €17bn. Russia’s direct investments into the EU in 2007 approximated €5bn. Integration of both economies will accelerate investment growth, in addition to providing more jobs in the EU and Russia.
Globalisation is becoming increasingly apparent. The need to integrate economies is necessary to maximise profits and reduce costs of raw materials and trading. A formal business link between the EU and Russia would be mutually beneficial for all those involved. The opportunities presented are vast.

Recommendations at the recent summit in Khanty-Mansyisk suggest that a strong emphasis be put on innovation – a policy priority in the EU as well as in Russia. An EU-Russia relationship would allow both countries to draw upon each other’s expertise. Russia’s full association in the seventh EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development and the participation of European organisations in Russian programmes would accelerate technological development in both areas.

Despite the obvious benefits, such a link is difficult to establish, since Russia is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia’s accession to the WTO is crucial so that EU-Russia talks can progress.

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