Russian MP: Russia and EU to Form Common European Space

Russia-EU future relations will imply the formation of a common European space. This opinion was expressed by Chairman of the Federation Council's Foreign Relations Committee Mikhail Margelov participating in the Davos World economic forum in his interview with a RIA Novosti correspondent.

"Both Moscow and Brussels understand it. But it is also important to have common ideas concerning the concept's contents," stressed the member of the Russian parliament's upper chamber. "While recognizing Russian economy as a market one, European officials continue to keep our enterprises at a distance by non-market methods".

"A common European territory can be only created along with a common security territory," according to Margelov. "We are interested in real cooperation aimed at preventing common threats. We already have legal basis for that. We must start using current joint institutions in order to estimate the risk," the senator stated.

Debates on whether or not Russia is part of Europe or if relations with Europe are more important for Russia than relations with China or the USA seem far-fetched," Mikhail Margelov continued. "Russia was playing a too important role in international affairs to reduce its policy to primitive alternatives." Russia can be neither automatically joined to Europe nor artificially separated from it, he said.

Russia's policy towards Europe is "natural", Mikhail Margelov pointed out. "Our relationship cannot be explained by territorial proximity alone, although geographical neighbourliness is an important precondition for closer integration for which conditions are yet to be created. For this purpose, both Europe and Russia will have to overcome significant disagreements, but as partners, not as adversaries," the Russian senator stressed.

No matter how many contradictions Russia and Europe might have, they still have much in common, Margelov said. He also said that Russia and Europe were in the process of intensive reforms. Economic mechanisms of Russia and the expanding Europe are going through similar difficulties in order to get adjusted to modern competitive conditions.

"Differences in the EU member-states' development levels are not fewer than ones in the Russian regions. Both Europe and Russia have structural limitations, which hold in investments. And, finally, although Russians' labour productivity yields to Europeans', Europeans, in their turn, have been recently lagging behind the USA. Accordingly, despite undoubtedly different scales of problems faced by the EU and Russia, both parts of this continent have a common challenge - to increase their growth rates to become competitive," Mikhail Margelov concluded.

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