EU-Russian Talks May Be Blocked

Azerbaijan, Baku, 31 October /corr. Trend E.Ostepenko / The talks between the European Union and Russia with regards to agreement on co-operation can be interrupted because of the resistance of Great Britain, Poland and Lithuania.

"If Lithuania says "no" and other want these talks, then no talks will take place," Dimitri Kochenov, Doctor on European Law, told Trend by telephone from Groningen.   

The summit in Nice on 13-14 November is planned to discuss Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's initiative on new agreement on European security.

Experts consider it probable that the talks between the EU and Russia regarding the new agreement on European security will not be continued at the upcoming summit. Great Britain, Poland and Lithuania legally have the possibility not to allow resumption of negotiations, since the decisions of the EU are made on the basis of consensus.

"There is no consensus, so the talks can't continue," Neil Mac Farlane, British specialist on the international relations and former Soviet Union, told Trend by telephone. 

This is not the first case, when small European country attempts to block the beginning of talks between the EU countries and Russia. Already in November 2005 the scandal between Poland and Russia because of the import of poor quality meat from Poland led to the political problem.  

Attempting to confirm its political weight in the European Union in response to the Russian disagreement to buy Polish foodstuffs, Poland put veto on the beginning of negotiations on the prolongation of the basic document, which determines the relations between Moscow and Brussels, agreements on partnership and co-operation. For continuing the negotiations, Warsaw required Moscow to remove embargo.

Although the dialogue between the sides can be blocked, it is necessary for both sides.

New agreements are necessary for the EU and Russia, Kochenov said. "Therefore, those countries, which are interested in the negotiations, make all efforts in order to convince partners in the EU of their necessity. But everything depends on those countries, which oppose this," he added.

When you are having problems with Russia, it's particularly important to have an opportunity talk to Russia, said Professor Neil Mac Farlane, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations of University of Oxford. He stated that this is exactly the wrong time to top the dialog.

This summit had long ago been planned, and the majority of the EU countries consider that they should use in order "to paint over" the wounds in the relations  of Russia and EU, inflicted by war in South Ossetia, Russian MP Markov told Trend . Markov thinks that these countries want to resume the negotiations regarding the agreement on strategic partnership and co-operation.

It is possible to expect serious advancements from the summit in Nice, exactly direct dialog, and this will be very useful, Markov said. However, Markov considers premature to predict the political-legal results of these negotiations.

The first round of talks between the EU and Russia, restrained firstly by Poland, and then by Lithuania, on the new base document, which must replace the obsolete agreement on partnership and co-operation, took place on 4 July in Brussels. The second round of official talks had to take place in mid September.

However, after the Georgian-South-Ossetian conflict, which occurred in August as a result of the military actions of Georgia in the territory of South Osetia and Abkhazia and armed response of Russia, the extraordinary summit of the EU on 1 September made a decision to put off the talks with Russia in support of the Georgian side. The EU caused the resumption of negotiations with Russia through the requirement of withdrawal of Russian troops from the security zones near South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

V.Zhavoronkova (Baku) and R.Agayev (Moscow) participated in preparation of material.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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