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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04BRUSSELS4915
2004-11-18 16:01:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

EU-RUSSIA SUMMIT: TWO-WEEK DELAY UNLIKELY TO BRIDGE DIFFERENCES

Tags:   BRUSSELS  ECON  ETRD  EUN  PGOV  PREL  RS  USEU 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 004915 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS AND EUR/ERA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2009
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, ETRD, RS, EUN, USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EU-RUSSIA SUMMIT: TWO-WEEK DELAY UNLIKELY TO
BRIDGE DIFFERENCES

REF: STATE 04629

Classified By: USEU POLOFF LEE LITZENBERGER; REASONS 1.4 (B,D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 004915

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS AND EUR/ERA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2009
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, ETRD, RS, EUN, USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EU-RUSSIA SUMMIT: TWO-WEEK DELAY UNLIKELY TO
BRIDGE DIFFERENCES

REF: STATE 04629

Classified By: USEU POLOFF LEE LITZENBERGER; REASONS 1.4 (B,D)

1. (C) Summary. The EU-Russia summit will take place
November 25, a two-week delay at Russia's request. Moscow
said it wanted to allow the EU's new Barrosso Commission to
participate, but many here believe that the EU's insistence
on a simultaneous agreement on roadmaps for all four "spaces"
of EU-Russian relations was the true motivation and Moscow
wanted time to undermine the EU consensus for a package deal.
The delay provides opportunity for progress, but there is
little mood for compromise on either side and there will be
no joint declaration, merely a joint press statement. Only
the roadmap on cultural issues is nearly agreed. In the
economic space, Russia refuses to include May 2004
commitments to phase out Siberian overflight fees and
increase domestic energy prices. In the internal security
space, Russia is unwilling to discuss Chechnya or human
rights, but wants references to Russian minority rights in
the Baltic states and a visa-free travel regime for Russian
citizens. In the external security space, Russia rejects the
EU's "common neighborhood" concept, emphasizing that its
unique connection to the CIS is unlike that of the EU.
Instead, Moscow wants to highlight joint efforts against
terrorism and seeks to participate in EU crisis management
decision-making. The EU will also seek Russian support in
organizing an EU mission to the Northern Caucuses and holding
regular consultations on human and minority rights. End
Summary

Delay Buys Time, but for what?
--------------
2. (C) Moscow's surprise request to postpone the planned
November 11 EU-Russia summit, which has now been re-scheduled
for November 25, provides the two sides with a small window
of opportunity to make further headway in the negotiations
over the "Four Common Spaces" -- the EU's headline documents
for EU-Russia relations. (The four spaces are Internal
Security, External Security, Economics and Trade, and Culture
and Research.) At present, texts on two spaces * Economics
and Culture * are close to agreement; the other two are
problematic. The EU is insisting that texts for all four

areas be agreed simultaneously; Russia wants to move ahead
and announce agreement on the first two at the Summit. EU
officials, however, say that the EU has already reached its
redlines, and progress will only be possible with concessions
from Russia. According to Commission Russia Desk Officer
Michael Miller, this will require the engagement of Russia's
Presidential Administration to overrule the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. Russia has so far rejected the EU's
approach, which Moscow considers an excessive intrusion in
Russia's foreign and economic policies that betrays a lack of
respect for Russia as an independent power. EU-Russia
negotiations are expected to continue right up to the summit.


Why the Delay?
--------------
3. (C) The EU accepted Moscow's request to delay the summit
until after the new Commission is approved (Parliament
approved the Barroso Commission on November 18), but
unofficially some in Brussels doubt that Putin's desire to
meet Barrosso was the true motivation. Some EU officials
suspect that Moscow simply wanted more time to press its case
bilaterally with countries with which it enjoys close
relations, such as Germany, Italy, and France. Moscow's
goal, these officials suspect, is to undermine the EU 25
resolve to insist on a package deal on the four roadmaps.
Moscow, they said, may also hope to dangle the prospect of
significant summit deliverables in front of the Dutch, who
hold the EU presidency, if the Hague agrees to a partial
agreement, dividing the four spaces. Negotiations on the
roadmaps continue, but EU officials say there is little time
or mood to compromise on the part of Brussels, and they do
not anticipate significant breakthroughs.

4. (C) There appears to be little disposition to compromise
on Russia's side either. Moscow insists its recent
ratification of the Kyoto and PCA (Partnership and
Cooperation Agreements) treaties should suffice as
concessions on its part. Moscow expects to resolve the
outstanding issues at the political and not technical level.
To facilitate a political breakthrough, Moscow appointed
high-level coordinators responsible for each roadmap, and
appears disappointed at the lack of reciprocation on the part
of the EU. According to Russian Embassy officials here, two
out of four coordinators are close Putin aides: Sergei
Yastrzhembskiy (responsible for the cultural space) and
Victor Ivanov (internal security space). The other two
coordinators are Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov
(external security space) and Victor Khristenko, Minister of
Industry and Energy and until recently Deputy Prime Minister
(economic space).

5. (C) The tactic of appealing bilaterally to the political
will of its friends within the EU may benefit Moscow.
Council Secretariat's Carl Hartzell admitted that there would
be pressure in EU circles to make more progress. He said
that the EU suffered from a certain "psychological effect"
that inevitably leads some members to call for compromise
when no deal with Russia appears possible. Possibly taking
advantage of this EU weakness, Yastrzhembskiy told Brussels
on November 11 that Prime Minister Fradkov would replace
Putin at the summit if no agreement on the four spaces was
made.

Four Spaces: Status of the Roadmaps
--------------
6. (C) The EU and Russia have essentially agreed to the
roadmap text on the cultural space and, according to Miller,
cooperation in this area will continue regardless of the
outcome of negotiations on the remaining three spaces --
economic, external and internal security. Even in the
cultural space, however, Russia appears to be backtracking
from its earlier proposal to establish a European studies
institute at a Russian university.

7. (C) According to Miller, the economic space, which until
recently appeared largely agreed, now poses problems. For
example, Russia refuses to include its May 2004 commitments
to phase out by 2013 Siberian overflight fees and increase
domestic energy prices. The EU aims to reinforce these
commitments by including them in the economic roadmap, but,
according to Miller, the corrupt Russian Ministry of
Transport is reluctant to forego the slush fund that
overflight fees generates. The EU has made progress with
Russia on other economic issues, however. For example,
Russia no longer blocks EU-wide meat exports, imposing only
regional restrictions that are dealt with at the technical
rather than political level.

8. (C) The near agreement of the cultural and economic spaces
contrasts with the "extremely problematic" external and
internal security spaces, according to Commission Deputy
Director General Michael Leigh. In the internal security
roadmap, Russia continues to object to discussion of Chechnya
or human rights, lobbies for mention of Russian minority
rights in Latvia and Estonia, and harbors unrealistic hopes
that the EU will grant visa free travel to Russian citizens.
Viewing visa free travel as a long-term goal, the EU is
willing instead to discuss visa facilitation when linked to a
readmission agreement that Russia rejects. Russia has only
one readmission agreement (with Tajikistan), and refuses to
be responsible for other third country citizens who transit
Russia and seek asylum in Europe.

9. (C) In the external security roadmap, Russia is "not
ready" to discuss issues related to the "near abroad."
Moscow objects to the EU's "common neighborhood" concept, and
refuses any mention of it in the roadmap. According to
Miller, the EU wants a "big leap forward" in cooperation with
Russia to advance what the EU sees as "shared interests" in
Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and Southern Caucuses. The EU
wants a stable, prosperous neighborhood, but it encounters
difficulty overcoming Russia's belief in exclusive spheres of
influence that views the EU's interest as a zero-sum threat.
Russia is adamant about its unique relationship with the
neighborhood countries, which is a much older, deeper and
more privileged one than the EU enjoys with these countries.
Our Russian embassy contacts told us that the EU must
understand Russia's exceptional connection to the CIS. These
diplomats argued that the countries of the "near abroad" are
"relatives" who are "very near to our heart," while to the EU
they are merely neighbors, and new ones at that.

10. (C) In the external security roadmap, Russia wants to
stress the need to fight terrorism, but rejects EU attempts
to link these efforts to the need to respect human and civil
rights. Mirroring debates in NATO, Moscow also seeks to
participate in EU crisis management decision-making, while
the EU offers to facilitate Russian participation in future
ESDP (European Security and Defense Policy) missions only on
the basis of an invitation. In effect, Russia is seeking a
de facto veto over potential EU peacekeeping operations in
the CIS.

Possible Summit Deliverables
--------------
11. (C) The EU has nixed Russian proposals for a joint
political statement at the summit, and there is agreement at
present only for a joint press statement. The statement may
emphasize the progress in "practical implementation" in the
roadmaps on the economic and cultural spheres, and will
likely include a pledge to continue working on the remaining
two spaces, external and internal security.

12. (C) Additionally, the EU seeks Russian support in
organizing an EU post-conflict assistance exploratory mission
to the Northern Caucuses, and would like to hold regular
consultations on human and minority rights. According to
Miller, the EU is hopeful that Moscow will reciprocate with a
dialogue on human rights in Chechnya in return for the EU's
recent flexibility in agreeing to discuss Russian minority
rights in Latvia and Estonia.

COMMENT
--------------
13. (C) The EU complains it is getting mixed messages from
Moscow. On the one hand, Moscow says it wants a successful
summit and seeks political deliverables that would show that
Moscow is not isolated internationally. Russia wants a
demonstration of EU solidarity in the fight against
terrorism, but also seeks to limit EU criticism of political
developments in Russia. Some here think that Russia decided
to postpone the summit because it failed to get the
concessions it expected on the roadmaps, underlying Russia's
apparent frustration with the EU's insistence that all four
roadmaps go forward together.

14. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: Beyond the planning for the
current summit, EU officials say that policy toward Russia
shifted substantially after the 2003 EU-Russia summit, when
Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's statements in support of
Putin were out of step with the general EU policy toward
Russia. For Brussels, this highlighted the need for the EU
to have a more coherent and disciplined policy that could
withstand Russian attempts to undermine consensus by
exploiting its bilateral relationships with individual EU
countries. Additionally, the 1 May EU enlargement brought in
former Soviet states and satellites that have a strong
interest in pursuing a tough policy with Russia. Some in
Brussels suggest that a more assertive EU policy that views
Russia as just another Eastern European state*a view that
contrasts sharply with Moscow's image of itself as uniquely
important*may have motivated Moscow to demonstrate its
weight by postponing the summit. The tension between
hard-nosed new members and the EU's larger veteran states,
who often prefer a more moderate approach to Russia, is not
fully resolved. As the new member states find their voice
within the EU, they will continue to influence the EU's
approach to Russia. How Russia chooses to engage the EU as
this process is underway will also affect the outcome. At
present, Moscow is not winning many friends.

MCKINLEY