Source Pravda.Ru

Javier Solana interviewed on Russia-EU relations

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, answered questions of a RIA Novosti correspondent.

- Dear Mr. Secretary-General, how do you estimate the level of EU- Russia relations?

- The relations between the EU and Russia are good. The recent agreement on the extension of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and the diffusion of Russian concerns about EU enlargement showed that the EU and Russia can also solve difficult issues in a friendly and productive manner. We also cooperate effectively on many international issues, not least the Middle East, where we are both members of the Quartet. And although there are issues where we disagree or have different concerns, we address these issues in an open fashion and through healthy dialogue to try to find satisfactory solutions.

- What decisions can be expected after the EU-Russia summit in Moscow on the 21st of May?

- At the Summit we will try to take further steps to establish the so- called 'four common spaces' on economy, on freedom, security and justice and on external security, that we agreed on in St. Petersburg in March last year, not least in the field of foreign and security policy. On the EU side we have been working hard to make real progress in making this a solid basis for enhancing our cooperation and we hope that we will be able to agree with Russia on these issues.

- What do you think of the EU-Russia cooperation on the international arena?

- The EU and Russia cooperate well on the international scene. I already mentioned the Middle East, but I can add also the Balkans, non- proliferation, and the fight against terrorism, all of which are clear strategic priorities for us. There is no shortage of issues where we have common interests. From our side, we would like to cooperate more closely with Russia on promoting stability and democracy in countries like Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and in the South Caucasus region, which after EU enlargement are clearly in our common neighborhood.

- According to your opinion, when is the EU enlargement to be considered as completed?

- The EU is currently negotiating with Bulgaria and Romania, and will in December this year decide when to open negotiations with Turkey. We have also offered the perspective of EU membership to the countries in South Eastern Europe, of which Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have already applied for membership. At the moment, there are no plans for any further enlargement of the Union after that.

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