Mr. Putin effectively uses those weaknesses of the EU while carefully developing new political strategies
Tough requirements announced by the EU representatives’ right before the summit in Rome have showed that EU officials are simply not ready for any constructive talks with Russia. According to political analyst Vladimir Golishev, the situation will remain the same until a new European Constitution will be adopted. It is only with the increase of those in favor of Russia that the number of the Russian supporters will increase. Until then the existing "Cold War" will have to go on.
If we are to label Russian relationship with the European Union as "partnership", its political tie with Europe might then appear as quite ineffective. Strange isn’t it? Both accept the existence of mutual interests in terms of trade and economic development. However, no negations have been held on such matters at all. Sure enough, it appears rather difficult to grasp the essence of such an anomaly at first. We need to forget about the existence of the partnership for a moment and concentrate on the problem itself.
Another weakness of the European Union is its strong tie with the US. American administration does not waste its chance to use such dependency to suppress its’ own political and militaristic activities of the EU.
Russia in turn, has its own plan concerning Europe. First of all, we tend to take into account both our own interests as well as those of the Western Europe. Therefore, Russia cannot possibly be pleased with the existing situation when those countries of the former gulag are being separated by the European barrier and Ukraine along with Moldavia cherish the thought of joining the union.
The same applies to the existing trade related problems between the countries mainly due to the absence of demand of Russian products on the European market. The so-called "Shengen barrier" has attributed Russia a status of a "shady periphery" instead of a lawful right to become a self-sufficient European power. It is mainly due to such differences in opinions that the existing "Cold War" appears to be rather logical.
Mr. Putin effectively uses all of these weaknesses while carefully developing new political strategies. First of all, Russia searches and eventually finds several allies among powerful European nations. Today those allies are Italy and Great Britain. Secondly, the EU's attacks on the Russian gas production branch simply demonstrate Russian superiority in such matters. Finally, the Russian-American strategic tie guarantees Russian partnership with American allies in Europe.
So it seems like Mr. Putin already has a rather strong support European support. This does not indicate however the effectiveness of the Russian-European negotiations. One of the key aspects has to do with the present-day staff of the Euro commission, an independent, self-governing political organization.
It seems like today's summit will most likely ignore the Russia's proposal concerning minimization of negative consequences from joining the EU. The same will probably happen to another Russia’s proposal regarding free travel between the countries requiring no visas.
The EU has its own strategies. Some of them have recently been revealed. The union wants Russia to sign an agreement with Baltic countries solving the border issue as well as provide explanations about the UKOS case. Taking into account the overall gloomy mood of this approach, Russia will most likely fail to have a constructive dialog.
So after a warm meeting with the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and a visit to the papal residency, Mr. Putin will still have to undergo tough negotiations during summit. This appears to be inevitable until the adoption of the European Constitution. Also, several of the key vacancies in the Union have to be filled with those candidates who are loyal to Russia.