‘EU is our strategic ally’

What does Russia foresee regarding economic and political cooperation with the EU? We have a very broad network of relationships with the European Union, which we consider to be a strategic ally. By means of a dialogue and extended talks with the EU, we reached an agreement during the Greek presidency and the St Petersburg summit on common areas of cooperation on issues of domestic and foreign security, economic development, culture and science. Today, the question is to develop these common areas. Regarding enlargement of the EU, we need to reach agreements that will take into consideration the interests of both sides, including the Russian concerns regarding economic and political issues, particularly the human rights of Russian-speaking populations in certain Baltic states. How does Russia view the enlargement of NATO to its own western borders? What does NATO represent for Russia, a partner or a threat? We would like NATO to be our partner in dealing with the new threats that have appeared in recent years, particularly the threat of terrorism. So we do not agree with the expansion toward the east, because this does not deal with the problem of terrorism, but perhaps only old fears on the part of those still fixated on them, even though the situation has changed radically. That is why we believe that enlarging NATO is a mistake. In our opinion, what is needed is a continuation of the dialogue between NATO and Russia to deal with the real, and not imaginary, threats that affect all of us.

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