Javier Solana on Russia's integration into the EU

Javier Solana, the Secretary-General of the European Union Council, thinks the prospects for the Russia-EU relationship look very optimistic indeed. Russia's fuller integration into political and economic structures of the European Union, as well as expansion of cooperation in the security sphere, are "not just plans but reality," said Solana, who is taking part in a Washington-based regional conference held as part of the World Economic Forum, in an exclusive RIA Novosti interview. That's what we'll be discussing at the Moscow [Russia-EU] summit on May 29. Speaking about the relationship between the EU and Russia, whom he identified as "an integral part of common European processes," he said it was "developing very smoothly." "This goes for the economic sphere as well as the security sphere and the effort to achieve a common vision," stressed the head of the EU Council. "I'm happy to see that President Putin is getting on well with other Russian representatives on the one hand and with leaders of EU countries on the other." Touching on the possibility of Russia becoming a full-fledged member of the EU, Solana observed that certain practical measures must be taken before this issue is placed on the agenda. In the first place, the Russian Federation must join the World Trade Organization, he said. "In my opinion, this is the current priority," he added.

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