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Russia-EU summit results

According to the tradition established over the past few years, Russia-EU summits held once in half a year do not yield concrete agreements or really important joint documents. The process of developing a new accord between the sides instead of the old agreement on partnership and cooperation signed back in 1997 but drafted three years earlier is stalling. Four "Road Maps" on cooperation in different spheres signed in 2005 in fact have remained declarative as they are not binding.

And this time again optimists, who expected some breakthrough, lost to pessimists. The EU and Russia have again "agreed to agree" on gradual easing of the visa regime and just declared their readiness to work on a number of joint integration projects to the benefit of modernization (a tribute to new rhetoric of Russia's state authorities).

The reason for problems in Russian-EU relations is quite understandable. The sides do not trust each other - Russia suspects the EU of its intention to interfere in Russia's domestic affairs, while the Europeans (at least EU institutions) perceive such constant complaints by Moscow as evidence of the lack of democracy in Russia, which is the reason not to trust the latter. Besides, there is a number of capitals in Europe that will not be ready for pragmatic cooperation with Moscow for many more years because of "phantom pains" of a historical character.

Meanwhile, real interests of Russia and the EU require overcoming the above-mentioned problems. No matter how many Russian politicians are trying to give themselves airs, citing Dmitry Medvedev, objectively speaking modern Russia squeezed between the economic giants (EU and China) is not able to implement its own fully autonomous geopolitical and modernization project.

Thus, it is necessary to look for a key ally and Europe can become one due to a number of reasons (from cultural to energy ones). The latter's positions in the world also provide ground for skepticism (especially given rising powers of new big economies - China, India and Brazil) and objectively require searching for a strategic partner next to its borders that still has a substantial resource and scientific potential, as well as a similar culture.

By Stanislav Mitrakhovich, NESF leading expert

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