The Summit has been introduced
as an opportunity or the EU and Russia to discuss how best
responses to the financial and economic crisis. Climate
change and energy security are also high on the agenda..
International issues to be tackled at the Summit
range from efforts to promote greater stability in the
common neighbourhood and in Europe more generally, through
to the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan/Pakistan,
Iran and Sri Lanka among others.
On the eve of the Summit, EU
Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: “Russia
and the EU are interdependent. The global financial and
crisis stresses the need to develop the potential of our
relationship, remove obstacles and coordinate our efforts.
Regular and frank political dialogue is the right way to
manage our relationship and it must prevail in all times,
no matter how difficult the issues at stake are.”
For the longer-term the EU and Russia are negotiating
a New Agreement to replace the existing Partnership and
Cooperation Agreement which should set out reinforced legally-binding
provisions for the whole range of EU/Russia relations;
in the field of energy it should be based on a relationship
of interdependence and mutual benefits, enshrining the
principles of the Energy Charter Treaty. The Summit is
an opportunity to take stock of the progress made on the
New Agreement negotiations.