Blow to Russia's European Goals

Russia has suffered two set backs to its hopes for a broader economic role in Europe. Germany's Chancellor Merkel rejected the idea that Russia should take a bigger stake in European airspace company EADS.

And both Merkel and France’s President Chirac turned down President Putin's offer to form a Russian-German energy alliance.

The European Commission’s spokesman on energy in Brussels told Russia Today that while it was quite normal for member states to enter into bilateral energy relationships with key suppliers, the Commission is hopeful that Russia will eventually ratify the Energy Charter between Russia and the EU as a whole.

There are, however, already signs of closer co-operation between Russian companies and EADS.

Russian aircraft maker Irkut is to convert the Airbus A320 airliner into cargo planes.

The crisis at Airbus – caused by delays to the delivery of its A380 SuperJumbo – has drawn pledges from the French and German leaders to support EADS, with reports the German Government may increase its stake, buying part of a holding from Daimler Chrysler.