EU Should Appoint Commissioner on Russia Says Finnish Member of EU Parliament

The EU should appoint a commissioner on Russia. This suggestion was made by Finnish Member of the EU Parliament and representative of Finnish conservatives Ilkka Suominen, speaking on Wednesday, December 18, in Strasbourg.

He said that after the wave of EU expansion and the entry of Baltic countries and Poland into the EU in 2004 Russia will become a much closer and more important neighbour and the EU border with Russia will be lengthened by hundreds of kilometres. Mr Suominen also pointed out that 10 more EU commissioners are expected to be appointed in 2004. 'In my opinion one of them should be asked to concentrate on relations with Russia and everyday problems that arise,' he added.

In his speech at the EU parliament Mr Suominen also called on the EU 'to hurry Russia on with reforms' if it becomes necessary. At the same time he mentioned that the current financial help that Russia is receiving from the EU is a miserly sum compared to that being allocated to cooperation in the Mediterranean region.

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