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28 Jun, 2008 01:15

EU solidarity used as a tool by some countries – Russia

Dmitry Medvedev has condemned attempts by some EU countries to use what he calls the solidarity of the union to solve their bilateral disputes with Russia. The President’s comments came as Moscow and the EU began talks i

Medvedev told reporters in the oil town of Khanty-Mansiysk that he was alarmed at how the EU was being used by some members.

“From our point of view, the development of European solidarity into a tool of resolving bilateral problems of certain EU member-states is a rather worrying tendency,” Medvedev said during a news conference.

The issue of ‘historical revisionism’ was also touched on during discussions.  Russia has been critical of a tendency among the EU’s newer states from Eastern Europe to rewrite history following the break-up of the Soviet Union.

For his part, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU rejected totalitarianism in all its forms.  He said that Europe’s condemnation of Soviet totalitarianism must not be interpreted as anti-Russian. 

“When the EU rejects totalitarianism, including the Soviet one, this does not mean that it is against Russia,” he said.

Hope for a ‘win-win’ pact

The main focus of the three-day summit in Siberia is to lay the groundwork for a new EU-Russia strategic partnership agreement. Both sides have agreed to start negotiations on a new pact on July 4 in Brussels.

“Today, we officially announce the start of the full-scale talks on a new agreement,” Medvedev told reporters.

Jose Manuel Barroso has said a new agreement would `open a new chapter' in EU-Russian relations, and stressed that both sides had much to gain from a new agreement.
“Our common goal, therefore, should be to make this a ‘win-win’ situation,” Barroso said.

Energy & security high on the agenda

The EU wants Moscow to open its vast oil and gas reserves to investment by Western companies, but the Kremlin firmly intends to maintain control over Russia's energy riches.

“The future agreement will be an instrument to draw Russia and the European Union closer,” Medvedev said.

On security, Medvedev said none of the existing organisations could solve Europe’s security problem. Medvedev said the deployment of U.S. missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe was a bad idea that cannot promote common European security. He said more co-operation in the area is needed.

“We acutely feel the need to coordinate our efforts with the European Union to jointly counter the menaces and challenges now typical for the international situation,” Medvedev said.

To watch the full version of the news conference, please follow the link