This semester the EU-Russia Summit was held exceptionally in St Petersburg, in the framework of the 300th anniversary of the city on 31 May 2003. The Summit was special also because for the first time all Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States participated in the Summit meeting (Spanish Prime Minister Aznar had to cancel his participation at the last minute due to internal events in Spain). Furthermore, the Heads of State or Government of the 10 countries, which are expected to join the EU next year, were present. The EU-Russia Summit took place at Strelna Congress Palace, and lasted for about 3 hours.
The Summit participants undertook an extensive review of EU-Russia relations, progress achieved in the implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and looked at further steps to promote the EU-Russia strategic partnership and the integration of Russia into Wider Europe.
A joint statement was adopted by the Summit participants:
300th anniversary of St. Petersburg - celebrating three centuries of common European history and culture
1. We, the leaders of the Russian Federation and the European Union, held a very fruitful meeting in conjunction with the 300th anniversary of Saint-Petersburg. We welcomed the participation in today's summit of the Heads of State and Government of countries acceding to the EU, invited as future Parties to the EU-Russia Partnership and Co-operation Agreement. Our Summit reflected the quality and intensity of EU-Russia co-operation and reconfirmed our commitment to further strengthen our strategic partnership on the basis of common values, which we pledged to respect.
2. We agreed to reinforce our co-operation with a view to creating in the long term a common economic space, a common space of freedom security and justice, a space of co-operation in the field of external security, as well as a space of research and education, including cultural aspects. The gradual development of these spaces should take place in the framework of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA). This process will be approached in a systematic way and on equal footing, with specific targets and reciprocal arrangements in each space. It will be realised gradually and methodically. Roadmaps could be elaborated to that end as appropriate.
Renewed mechanisms of co-operation and dialogue for EU-Russia partnership in the 21st century
3. Taking into consideration our common interest in further developing co-operation between Russia and the EU in the 21st century we identified ways of enhancing the efficiency of EU-Russia co-operation. Strong and efficient bodies dealing with all areas of co-operation are essential in this context. To this end we decided to strengthen the existing Co-operation Council as a "Permanent Partnership Council". It should act as a clearing house for all issues of our co-operation. It should meet more frequently and in different formats, backed up by thorough preparation and policy co-ordination on both sides. The political dialogue structures should be streamlined. We agreed to launch a focused discussion in this respect.
Towards the Common Economic Space
4. We welcomed the progress achieved on the Common European Economic Space (CEES) and the commitment of the High-Level Group to finalise the joint CEES concept by the November EU-Russia Summit, bearing in mind Russia's WTO accession. We shall work together for an early Russian accession on mutually acceptable terms. To this end we will work to resolve outstanding issues.
5. We agreed that the momentum of the energy dialogue should be maintained, with particular emphasis on promoting investments and improving the investment climate. We confirmed the commitment of EU and Russia to actively pursue regulatory convergence.
6. We welcomed the signature of the EIB/Russia Framework Agreement.
7. We underlined the importance of our co-operation in the environment field and welcomed in this regard the signing of the MNEPR Agreement on 21 May 2003. We agreed to continue discussions on nuclear safety.
8. We agreed to make every necessary effort to ensure that the Kyoto Protocol becomes a real tool for solving the problems of global warming and to this end we shall seek its entry into force as soon as possible in the spirit of President Putin's recent letter to the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. We also confirmed our readiness to co-operate closely in preparing the World Conference on climate change to be held in Russia in September 2003.
9. We agreed to enhance our co-operation on maritime safety in the framework of the International Maritime Organisation with the objective of preventing maritime accidents and consequent pollution through concrete measures, especially concerning the phasing out of single hull vessels.
10. We instructed our experts to examine the possibilities of co-operation on political and technical aspects of Galileo/Glonass.
Peoples of Russia and the European Union - neighbours and partners
11. Taking into consideration the signing on 16 April 2003 of EU Accession Treaties by 10 European States, we note that the current phase of EU enlargement has brought Russia and the EU closer together and requires a corresponding adjustment of the format and substance of EU-Russia interaction.
12. We have agreed to have intensive discussions on the impact of the enlargement on the relations between Russia, the EU and acceding countries. We look forward to the timely extension of the EU-Russia Partnership and Co-operation Agreement to the new EU members, thus bringing the quality of EU-Russia interaction to the level of the challenges of today.
A united Europe for all Europeans
13. We agreed to finalise the agreement between Europol and the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation as soon as possible. We also agreed to explore ways to enhance judicial criminal co-operation.
14. We reiterated our common view that enhanced co-operation in the field of Justice and Home Affairs between Russia and the EU, including on border management and migration issues, will serve the objective of building a new Europe without dividing lines, thus facilitating travel and contacts between all Europeans.
15. The EU and Russia agreed to examine the conditions for visa-free travel as a long term perspective. The EU and Russia agreed to conclude timely the negotiations on a readmission agreement. We also agreed to promote the better use of existing flexibilities in the Schengen agreement. We want to facilitate to the greatest possible extend cooperation along the border between the Russia and the enlarged EU.
16. We remain convinced that several aspects of JHA co-operation still merit further and more detailed analysis. To this effect we instructed our experts, within the appropriate PCA structures, to continue their reflection with a view to submitting, at an appropriate moment, their views on important pending questions such as the implementation of the EU-Russia Action Plan on Combating Organised Crime.
17. We welcomed the commitment from all parties to fully implement the package on Kaliningrad transit agreed in November 2002, the ratification of the Russia-Lithuania border agreements and the conclusion of a Russia-Lithuania readmission agreement. We noted that full implementation of the November 2002 package will constitute a major step forward in addressing Russian concerns regarding Kaliningrad Oblast in the context of EU enlargement.
Common Response to the Threat of Drugs and Terrorism
18. We noted with particular concern the threat of poppy and cannabis cultivation in Afghanistan and drug trafficking from Afghanistan and other countries through Central Asia. Taking into account that this acute problem has spread far beyond the region and acquired a global nature, Russia and the EU reiterated their commitment to playing their part in international efforts to combat poppy and cannabis cultivation and drug production both on the territory of Afghanistan and in its neighbouring States.
19. We are resolved to intensify our work with the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the national drug policy, including the proclaimed ban on opium poppy cultivation, promotion of alternative livelihoods and reduction of drug use. We instructed our experts and competent authorities to redouble their contribution to efforts to tackle the drugs threat in the region and dismantle the international organised crime networks, which support it. We are committed to co-operating closely with the ATA, the UN and key international partners to implement the anti-drugs strategy developed by the ATA and the UK in consultation with the EU, G8, UN and other donors.
20. We also agreed to work together to combat terrorism, in accordance with the joint statements on international terrorism adopted at the EU-Russia Summits in October 2001 and November 2002. We shall further improve the mechanism of EU-Russia consultations on these issues and seek a unified approach to terrorists and their sponsors.
21. We took note of the recent referendum in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation. We expressed the hope that the recently started political process as well as the economic and social reconstruction will lead to the restoration of the rule of law, thus promoting the protection of human rights and to a genuine reconciliation in Chechnya. We condemned any kind of violence, in particular terrorist acts, which could endanger the prospects for a political solution. We agreed that international organisations could make a substantial contribution in close co-operation with Russian authorities.
Partners in the field of international relations, security and crisis management
22. We noted with satisfaction the launch of practical co-operation in the framework of European security and defence policy, notably in crisis management, and express our wish to work towards a joint approach in this field. The planned Russian participation in the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be a positive contribution in this field. We also expressed our common interest in taking forward discussions on the use of Russian long-haul aircraft for EU-led crisis management operations.
23. We welcomed the offer from Russia to interact in the field of civil protection, inter alia in search and rescue operations, mitigating the consequences of natural and man-made disasters and terrorist acts as a promising new avenue of EU-Russia co-operation in the field of ESDP
24. We agreed to reinforce our co-operation in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and related technology. We are committed to work together in the multilateral framework in order to strengthen the disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation regimes and to promote their universalisation.
25. We addressed a number of international issues.
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Anniversary news archive for 31 May' 2003.
Anniversary news archive for May' 2003.
Anniversary news archive for 2003 year.