Russia to remain EU's strategic partner

Russia will remain the EU's strategic partner even after its enlargement, European Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said in his report to the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, on the EU's enlargement and its possible consequences for the EU's partners.

Russia is the core element of our new policy of good-neighbourliness. The EU's enlargement will have a positive effect on our bilateral political and economic relations with Russia, said Verheugen.

According to him, the Russia-EU strategic partnership has bright prospects. We will expand co-operation with Russia wherever the opportunity arises, the European Commissioner said.

He recalled that after the EU's enlargement in May 2004, its border with Russia would increase from 1,300 to 2,200 km. Therefore, it is important to include Russia in the Concept of Wider Europe - Neighbourhood programme, Verheugen said. In his words, this would contribute to harmonious co-operation between EU nations and Russia, including in the formation of the Pan-European economic space and the common space of security and justice.

According to Verheugen, the EU and Russia stand together on the majority of issues and the existing problems of adjustment are non-essential.

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