Uutinen 27.5.2008

EU to launch negotiations for a new cooperation agreement with Russia

Press release 180/2008
27 May, 2008

The European Union has approved a mandate on the basis of which negotiations for a new cooperation agreement with Russia will be launched. Decision on the matter was made at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on Monday. Finland’s representatives in the meeting were Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen and Minister of Defence Jyri Häkämies.

The intention is to agree on the launch of the negotiations at the EU-Russia Summit, which will be held in Hanti-Mansiisk, Russia, on 26-27 June. The aim is to reach a comprehensive framework agreement that would define the areas of EU-Russia cooperation.

At the moment, the cooperation is based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the PCA, between the European Union and Russia that entered into force in 1997. In 2006, the parties came to the conclusion that the PCA would need to be replaced with an agreement that would better meet the altered circumstances and the needs of strategic partnership.

The new framework agreement and Russia’s possible WTO membership would pave the way for the launch of free trade negotiations. This would enhance the conditions for trade and investments between the parties.

Russia is EU’s third biggest trading partner after United States and China, and the EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner. The strategic partnership becomes emphasised in the energy sector in particular. More than 40 per cent of the gas and more than 30 per cent of the oil imported by the EU comes from Russia.

Additional information: Counsellor Antti Vänskä, Unit for Russia tel. +358 9 1605 5616