Russia-EU summit to examine topical and contentious issues

The Russia - European Union summit, due to take place here May 31, will make it possible to clarify specific cooperation prospects and to discuss the most important issues, contentious ones included.

Talking to RIA Novosti, deputy presidential-administration chief Sergei Prikhodko noted that, instead of adopting historic and landmark decisions, the St. Petersburg summit was called on to provide a real-life impulse to practical work along new directions.

In his words, Russia and the EU are now attaining present cooperation vectors in real earnest.

The summit is to involve 15 EU-country leaders, as well as the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi and the EU Council's Secretary-General Javier Solana.

Moreover, the leaders of 10 prospective EU member-countries were invited to St. Petersburg at the request of the EU leadership in connection with the EU's projected expansion next year. The leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Cyprus will be attending the summit as observers.

Moscow is worried about some rather serious issues, Prikhodko stressed. The EU will expand less than a year from now; consequently, we'll have to conduct busy, intensive and difficult work, he added.

The new 10 member-countries would be expected to revise approximately 100 different documents that were signed by them and Russia. Some of these documents must be either revised or renounced, Prikhodko went on to say.

According to Prikhodko, new candidate states won't automatically join the Russia-EU partnership-and-cooperation agreement. The decision of each new EU member to join this document will be formalized by a special protocol; and the latter will have to be ratified accordingly.

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