Skip to comments.Germany: EU Wants Closer Ties With Russia
Posted on 04/11/2005 9:04:35 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
HANOVER, Germany (AP) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Sunday the European Union wants a long-term economic relationship with Russia and hopes to cement it at a summit in May.
In building ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Schroeder has favored pressing him discreetly over his increasing control over Russian business and politics as opposed to the United States' blunter approach.
``To foster security and prosperity in Europe and beyond, Russia and the European Union must work together closely and, in particular within the European Union, Germany must work closer and closer with Russia,'' Schroeder said at a trade fair in Hanover, where he greeted the Russian leader warmly. He noted that Germany is Russia's top trade partner.
Putin sought to allay investor fears, meanwhile, saying speculation that the country would revise its privatization program was ``groundless.'' He also said he was forging ahead with reforms.
``We do realize the future of growth and diversification of the whole economy directly depends on the economic freedom in the country and the government's ability to ensure transparent conditions for business,'' he said.
Schroeder said he was confident about a key Russia-EU agreement expected to be signed on May 10. The pact focuses on Russia-EU cooperation in four key areas: the economy, external security, justice matters and cultural affairs, including research and education.
``We want a stable, long-term invested cooperation,'' Schroeder said. ``I am optimistic that we can lay the foundation at the EU-Russia summit on May 10.''
Chechnya's Kremlin-backed President Alu Alkhanov also came to the event, an indication Putin is using the trip to underline his contention that the shattered region is now in a rebuilding phase.
Alkhanov it is reported will use the trip to meet representatives of German humanitarian organizations about what they can do towards rebuilding war-shattered Chechnya within the framework of EU reconstruction efforts. The idea of involving the German humanitarian organizations was raised during Putin's visit to Germany in December.
The European Union's executive commission announced on Thursday it was giving 22.5 million euros ($29.1 million)in aid to victims of the conflict in Chechnya where separatists and Islamic militants have been fighting pro-Russian forces in Chechnya for more than five years.
The funds, the first to be made available this year, come on top of 148 million euros already handed out by Brussels' humanitarian aid agency Echo since the beginning of the conflict in 1999.
Ties between Moscow and Brussels have long been strained over what the EU sees as human rights abuses by the Russian army as it tries to regain control over rebel Chechnya.
EU Mission to Chechnya
On Monday, the European Union is to send a team to Chechnya to look at ways of giving economic and reconstruction aid, the first time the bloc has tried to give such help there. The team would also visit the neighboring republics of Ingushetia and North Ossetia.
The team of around 10 officials from Brussels and the Commission's Moscow office will be in the region from April 9 to 16, and will visit the health, education and economy ministries in each of the three republics.
"The aim is to clarify the most pressing needs and identify workable options for an EU contribution," the EU's executive commission said in a statement. "The Commission is already the largest international donor of humanitarian assistance in the region, and this mission will look into how EU aid can now be extended into broader recovery activities."
Here's an idea...why doesn't Germany get Russia a tie for Father's Day?
Sorry, couldn't resist.
/British Religion of Darwinist Socialist Evolution.....?
Germany may become a poodle...
Russia ordered 60 ICE trains from Siemens and BASF will cooperate with Gazprom to drill in Siberia. Sounds good to me.
Yes, the truth came out.
"EU wants closer ties to Russia"
Usually it's a bad idea to be tied to an anchor.