Good relations between the EU and Russia are of increasing importance to the EU, Member States and Russia itself:
- The forthcoming enlargement of the EU will result in a geographical shift to the east, with consequent potential problems.
- The global threat of terrorism to all nations encourages even closer working relations between governments.
- Russia has changed significantly over the past decade. The EU and Russia will both benefit from working more closely together on matters such as energy supply, the environment and trade.
The Committee has investigated the EU institutional framework concerning Russia and Russian domestic developments.
The EU should encourage the development of a more systematic and productive relationship with Russia for the decades ahead.
The Committee's main conclusions are that:
- The institutional framework for EU/Russia relations requires renovation. There should be a single office within the Commission co-ordinating all matters relevant to Russia.
- The current EU/Russia agreements are out of date and no longer reflect the possibilities offered to both sides.
- The EU should embark on a major programme of educational assistance which would assist Russians on matters related to the EU and also develop a better understanding of the new Russia within the EU.