According to Professor Katlijn Malfliet of the University of Leuven in Belgium, cooperation between Russia and the EU should be built on a cultural foundation. Professor Malfliet made this announcement yesterday in St. Petersburg. The professor believes that relations between the EU and Russia should not be restricted to questions of security because 'the two sides are close to one another and may be able to bring something useful into one another's lives'. Malfliet said that one of the most important problems complicating relations between the EU and Russia was 'the hesitant approach to forming Russian and European identities', which is most clearly visible in the Kaliningrad Region.
An international conference entitled Russia and the European Union in a Wider Europe: New Opportunities and Old Barriers began yesterday at St. Petersburg State University. The conference concludes today. Participants are discussing political relations between Russia and the EU, economic cooperation, problems related to the EU's expansion, Russia's role in European security, and questions of cooperation in the energy sector. Russian and foreign academics and diplomats, including ambassadors and consul generals, are taking part in the conference.