Russia is not happy about the position on the Kaliningrad problem the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union approved at its Brussels meeting on Monday. The Council's related resolution actually repeats the European Commission's proposals of September 18, which Moscow found unsatisfactory, a high-ranking Russian diplomat opined as speaking to this RIA Novosti analyst.
The Kaliningrad region, Russia's enclave on the Baltic Sea, will be cut off the rest of Russia by the Schengen zone after Poland and Lithuania join the European Union.
The resolution adopted by the EU Council of Foreign Ministers envisages the issuing of simplified transit papers for Russian nationals and mentions the fast train problem. The prospect of talks on visa free relations between Russia and the EU is to be addressed as a separate long-term problem which is not connected with Kaliningrad.
The simplified transit papers scheme is conditional on Moscow's cooperativeness in this area, with the papers to be effective for a limited period of time.
As to the non-stop train prospect, it will be subject to talks between the EU and Lithuania. A decision will be adopted after looking into related political and legal aspects and when technological obstacles are removed, according to the resolution.
Russia has not altered its position on the above issues - its residents must have the right to an unimpeded transit to the Kaliningrad region and back. Russia is not happy about the need, it is being imposed on, to obtain permits for receiving visas.
Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov voiced Russia's stance very clearly the other day. "This is actually the multiple visa proposal under different cover. This means the EU is in for issuing passports for residents of Russia's Kaliningrad region. These are not the proposals Russia could accept, they are by no means helpful," the Russian premier said when on a visit to Finland.
Yet, we must not abandon hope that Moscow and the European Union will eventually meet halfway on Kaliningrad. Too many things depend on this problem - Russia's geopolitical choice, and forms and content of Moscow-EU cooperation. Otherwise, "a thick layer of dust will cover Russia's and the EU's strategic partnership proclamations," according to Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian president's envoy for the Kaliningrad problem.
It goes without saying that Russia will not leave this resolution unanswered. Moscow is going to voice its position in the nearest future, according to a diplomatic source. A lot is yet to be done by Russia and the EU within their dialogue on the Kaliningrad problem.
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