Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
October 5, 2005

4 October 2005, the UK Presidency of the EU hosted the sixteenth EU-Russia Summit in London, during which the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, met with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

At the summit, the discussion was devoted to EU-Russia relations, security and regional issues and global issues of current concern.

At the meeting, the state leaders assessed the EU-Russia partnership within the so-called four common spaces or areas of co-operation, namely the common economic space, the common space of freedom, security and justice, the common space of external security and the common space of research, education and culture. A package of road maps on four common spaces was adopted at the previous EU-Russia Summit held in Moscow in May of 2005.

During the meeting, agreement was reached on the visa regime liberalization agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation scheduled to be signed by the end of the year. The agreement is due to take effect within about two years after being ratified at the parliaments of the EU countries and Russia and it is expected to contribute to the liberalization of movement by the EU individuals, enhance the growth of entrepreneurship and improve cultural and other contacts. Latvia advocates the signing of this agreement, as it will also facilitate the travelling of Latvian nationals and foster the development of relations between Latvia and Russia.

The state leaders also exchanged views about fostering co-operation in the areas of trade, energy, nature protection (enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol), transit to and from Kaliningrad, and other economic fields. At Latvia’s initiative, the European Union repeated its request for Russia to review the discriminatory railway tariffs imposed by Russia on the rail cargo transported to the Baltic ports.

Among other agenda items were the issues pertaining to the fight against international terrorism, the strengthening of the rule of law in Russia and the control of borders. In the context of human rights and regional security, the EU analysed the sensitive issues of Chechnya and the North Caucasus. The European Commission has allocated 20 million euros for the implementation of a social and economic development programme in the North Caucasus.

At the summit, views were exchanged on the potential legal framework for the EU-Russia relations after 2007, when the EU–Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement expires. The parties attested that they have a mutual interest in developing a strategic partnership. The EU emphasized that this can only happen on the basis of democratic values.

During the summit, the parties also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the European Studies Institute in Moscow.