A solution for the Kaliningrad region to become a Russian exclave in the European Union after its coming expansion by Poland and Lithuania, is on the point of being shaped up.
The Russian president's special envoy to Kaliningrad Region, Dmitry Rogozin, now completing his tour of European countries, has made it clear for local politicians that if no mutually-acceptable solution has been found by November 11, the opening date in Copenhagen of another Russia-EU summit, the latter might be disrupted.
One can expect however a still earlier decision as the European Commission is to formulate a EU position on this score in its report on September 18.
Among Russia's ever new relevant initiatives is Vladimir Putin's special address delivered by Dmitry Rogozin to European capitals, with proposals to advance together toward a common visa-free environment "for the sake of a peaceful Europe without division lines". Russia's proposal on the Kaliningrad problem allows not to violate the European Union's laws, according to Dmitry Rogozin who spoke yesterday evening after talks with the EU leadership in Brussels.
The president suggests regarding the Kalinigrad problem within a wide context of Russia's European choice, general European security and cooperation, with a resultant full freedom of movement across the common borders of Russia and the EU.
Naturally, it is a long-term prospect but as a strategic approach shared by all the sides, the visa-free Europe goal may help resolve many specific problems, including that of the Kaliningrad region.
Russia is to furnish ultimate proposals on the Copenhagen summit within several weeks, though a certain balance of Europe's aspirations, Russia's offers and a future result can be observed already now.
With tens of millions of immigrants in a united Europe, this phenomenon being both beneficial and provocative, has been recently among the key items on the European Union agenda.
On the one hand, immigration in Europe means additional workforce, services, knowledge and experience of law-abiding foreigners without whom the leaders of European integration would have failed to sustain the economic indices achieved. But on the other hand, this is drug trafficking, crime and inter-ethnic and inter-confessional discrepancy.
The recent years are evidence of many cases when the Schengen zone received not only legal, respectable and law-abiding immigrants but was invaded by those who penetrated it with short-term tourist visas to settle there for years and engage in criminal activities. Unfortunately, immigration has been increasingly mentioned in connection with international terrorism.
The end of last June was marked by a European Union summit in Seville where the immigration problem reigned supreme. Kaliningrad was also reviewed and the conclusions made can be hardly ambiguous: the Europeans declared in favour of visas.
Moscow wonders why the Schengen barriers we have never voted for should divide this country?
Illegal immigration and secure borders bother Russia no less than its Western neighbours. So, why not stop all the squabbling and unite our efforts-if it is really true that we are strategic partners and moving in the same civilized direction?
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