The EU-Russia Partnership for Modernisation (P4M) continued to be the main policy platform for EU-Russia cooperation activities, according to the new EU-Russia Common Spaces progress report for 2012, which is now available online. The report outlines progress made during 2012 under the EU-Russia Common Spaces Road Maps and sets forth the next steps expected in 2013, with a detailed section devoted to each of the four spaces.
The major bilateral developments include the following:
- The EU and Russia continue working on the Common Steps towards visa free short-term travel of Russian and EU citizens, including expert missions;
- Under the Partnership for Modernisation, projects are being implemented in the areas market access improvement and strengthening the rule of law (including a new anti-corruption project implemented by the Council of Europe);
- The Political Dialogue on Counter Terrorism was launched in November in Moscow.
Trade and Economic cooperation
- The EIB, EBRD and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the financing of P4M projects in December 2012;
- Cooperation on alignment of technical regulations, standards and institution building continued;
- The energy dialogue continued “at an intensive rate and at high level,” including through the regular meetings of the various thematic groups and the Gas Advisory Council under the EU-RU Energy Dialogue.
Freedom, Security and Justice
- There was progress on reform initiatives in the area of judiciary, penitentiary and law enforcement;
- Russia ratified the EU Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
- Research, Education and Culture
Excellent cooperationover science and technology continued, with Russia remaining the main third-country partner in the EU Framework Programme for Research (FP7).
The report also points at certain areas of concern, such as serious delays in the negotiations for a New EU/Russia Agreementto replace the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement experienced due to differences over the Trade and Investment provisions, where agreement still needs to be found on the competence issue created by the transfer of certain trade competencies from Russia to the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union level.
Source: EU Neighbourhood Info