President Vladimir Putin is expected to receive a European Commission delegation in the Kremlin on Thursday. The delegates are arriving in Moscow for extended talks with Russian government officials, according to a Kremlin source.
The European Commission delegation, which is being led by Romano Prodi, is made up of Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President responsible for transport and energy and European Commission members Chris Patten, in charge of foreign policy, trade commissioner Paskal Lamy, Gunter Verheugen, in charge of EU enlargement issues, Antonio Vitorino, who oversees interior policy and justice, Margot Wallstroem, in charge of environment issues, and research commissioner Philippe Busquin.
The conferees will discuss prospects for Russia-EU cooperation in creating common economic, internal security (freedom, security and justice) and foreign security, science and education zones, the latter including cultural aspects as well.
The source noted that the meeting would take place ahead of May 1, when the EU will enlarge to include 10 new members. The European Commission will, therefore, enlarge too. Besides, parliamentary elections will take place in the EU in June and the composition and structure of the European Commission will undergo changes. The restructured European Commission will emerge by November 1.
In light of the upcoming restructuring of the EU governing bodies, European partners should take care that the transitional period in the EU should not to affect successive dialogue with Russia, according to the Kremlin source.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko had a telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan