Russian Economic Development Ministry: EU Demands for Higher Russian Energy Prices Represent Interference in Russia's Administrative Affairs

The EU's demand that Russia raise its energy prices to world levels is interference in a state's administrative matters. This declaration was made today at a press conference in Moscow by Elena Danilova, the head of the Department of Trade Policy and Multilateral Talks of the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade.

She admitted that the issue of lower energy prices in Russia was 'one of the most contradictory and highly disputed questions, especially when taking into account that on November 7, 2002 the EU conferred market economy status on Russia.' According to Danilova, the EU believes that 'energy prices in Russia are still subject to government controls and not subject to market mechanisms, which means that they do not reflect the true market price. This leads to a double pricing system.'

Nevertheless, said Danilova, the last talks on Russia's entry into the WTO, which were held at the end of October, revealed that the organisation's representatives could not find any arguments to support the belief that a double pricing system was contrary to the WTO's rules. She also stressed that both sides have 'the same philosophy for regulating this sector' and that it is 'a question for the next round of talks.'

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