Russia and EU talked on partnership in Helsinki

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with EU leaders in the Finnish capital Helsinki. Though Poland has vetoed talks on the new partnership agreement Russia and the EU are ready to continue dialogue.

One of the most significant documents  signed in Helsinki is a treaty on reducing charges paid by European airlines for flying over Siberia. The sides agreed to fully cancel the charges by 2013.

A deal on renewing the EU-Russia Partnership and cooperation agreement, which is due to expire next year, was supposed to top the summit's agenda. Though Poland has vetoed talks on the new deal demanding Russia to lift a ban on Polish meat's import. However, the two sides say they are ready to continue talks.

“Our aim has been to concentrate on issues with direct impact on the lives of our citizens. We have today emphasised the promotion of people to people contacts, direct contacts between the citizens and communities are important in deepening mutual understanding. Particular attention has been paid to exchange of students and young people. We have been looking for the ways to provide more funding to encourage students from Russia to study in Europe,” Matti Vanhanen, Finnish Prime Minister, said at the press conference.

“I’m quite happy to say that today’s summit has opened opportunities for not just discussing the key co-operation issues, but also for some important decisions. We believe that we have achieved some positive results in the implementation of the roadmaps. We also talked about economic freedom, external security and culture. Moreover, we have discussed the new statement of the EU enlargement in the relations between EU and Russia. This document comes especially important today because, as we know, next year Bulgaria and Romania will join European Union and Russia believes that these countries should also assume commitments on this agreements we call upon our partners to expedite the solution on this issue,” Russian president Putin said. 

“We also talked about human rights; we discussed the humanitarian component of the co-operation. We paid attention to the strange situation with Russian-speaking people who live in the Baltic countries, so we believe that there will be some changes. We haven’t forgotten about major crimes, like the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya,” he added.

Putin also emphasised that “the specific feature of this summit is a four-side meeting, including Norway and Iceland. That was a very important event. We will start launching a new project in this region that will include the implementation of the key roadmaps on the four spaces on the co-operation with Russia and European Union. We will also run our own programs contributing to the implementation of the capacity available to the Northern countries and Russia. And we have also proposed a number of mutually beneficial initiatives and in the future we will pay special attention to these projects”.

Vladimir Putin thanked the hosts of the EU-Russia summit on the Finland side.