A plenary meeting was held in Brussels on May 19 to sum up the work done within the framework of the ninth round of negotiations on a New Russia-EU Framework Agreement. Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU, headed the Russian delegation, and Joao Vale de Almeida, Director General for External Relations, European Commission, led the EU delegation.
The parties were generally appreciative of the current negotiation phase in terms of the momentum of the negotiation process and with regard to the overall focus on the results which should fully reflect the interests of both Russia and the EU.
In the section devoted to collaboration in the sphere of political dialogue and external security, two articles are fully coordinated – on cooperation in civil protection and on the fight against illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. There is progress on other articles of the section as well.
Regarding the section on cooperation in the spheres of freedom, security and justice, we believe that all these questions should be reflected in a future agreement without any artificial exceptions. It is primarily about the need to fix in the agreement the goal of transition to a visa-free regime for mutual travel of citizens of Russia and the EU.
In the part of the economic section concerning sector interaction, an article on public health has been tentatively agreed on and some progress has been achieved on a number of other articles.
Issues of a trade and economic nature were discussed in the context of the prospects of Russia joining the WTO and the development of the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
In the fourth section an article on cooperation on the issues of education, professional training, sports and youth has been finalized.
Evaluation of the negotiations on a New Russia-EU Framework Agreement is included in the agenda of the Russia-EU summit in Rostov-on-Don (31 May - 1 June this year).
Agreement was reached to hold the next, tenth round of negotiations in June and July this year.