EU has great hopes about EU-Russian summit in St.Petersburg

Leaders of the European Union are sure that the forthcoming EU-Russian summit in St.Petersburg will be a success, as the Union and Russia have already established close and efficient regular contacts. However, it will hardly see any concrete initiatives, as visa-free exchange, announced.

This opinion was voiced in response to RIA Novosti's question by acting chairman of the EU Foreign Ministers' Council Georgis Papandereu and EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Javier Solana at a press conference in Brussels after the Monday session of the EU Council.

"On the occasion of the St.Petersburg summit we want to confirm the strategic character of our relations with Russia and to define major directions for their development," Papandreu said.

"At the present Council we had a lengthy discussion about relations with Russia, and we determined our proposals for a joint statement to be adopted together with Vladimir Putin in St.Petersburg", he pointed out.

At the same time, the summit will hardly decide to begin a transfer to the visa-free exchange between the EU and Russia, he believes. "This issue should first of all be discussed and settled within the EU, which will take time," he explained. "It is a long-term perspective and I do not think any significant breakthrough will be made before the St.Petersburg summit".

The summit will be very important, Javier Solana confirmed. St.Petersburg will see the meeting of leaders from Russia, the EU member states and candidates, as well as from many other countries. "We view this summit is a part of celebration on the occasion of St.Petersburg's 300th anniversary. For us it is especially important, because relations between Russia and the EU is improving day after day," Solana said.

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