Security issues arising as a result of EU's expansion should not be settled at someone's expense

President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation believes that various security issues connected with the EU's expansion should not be settled at someone's expense.

We perceive the EU's forthcoming expansion as an expression of the sovereignty of countries joining the EU, as well as that of EU member-states, the Russian head of state noted here today, as he addressed the Russia-EU summit. At the same time, security-and-integration issues can't be settled at someone's expense, Putin added.

Moreover, the admission of new EU members will create pre-requisites for expanded Russia-EU cooperation, the Russian leader went on to say.

We'll have to work together for the sake of minimizing various negative aspects being entailed by the EU-expansion process; this will make it possible to completely utilize all emergent opportunities, Putin told his audience. According to Putin, the danger of such negative aspects does exist.

Putin called on all present to exert every effort for the sake of solving all problems prior to the admission of new EU members in May 2004. Among other things, legal vacuum in relations between Russia and the EU has to be eliminated, Putin stressed.

Successful results in this field would make it easier to involve new EU countries in the Russia-EU partnership-and-cooperation agreement some time later, Putin stressed.

I'm sure that the leaders of future EU countries will agree with me that their countries and Russia are linked by long-standing ties of cooperation and interaction, Putin said. The economies of our countries also have a lot to do with this, the Russian leader said.

The EU-admission procedure should not wreck various ties that had evolved over the decades, all the more so as this procedure doesn't stipulate any automatic involvement in the Russia-EU agreement, Putin believes. The relevant decisions will be made, after we settle all remaining problems and issues, including humanitarian issues, Putin went on to say.

A study of our interaction highlights the correct nature of the Russia-EU line aiming to establish strategic partnership and to expand the range of tasks being tackled jointly in the interests of all European nations and citizens, Putin told the summit.

This is confirmed by our joint work to finalize the concept of a common European economic infrastructure, the expanding energy dialogue, more active interaction between law-enforcement agencies and justice bodies, as well as that in the field of the European security-and-defense policy, Putin said in conclusion.

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