News

    Russia, EU Meet for Mending Relations

    Russia, EU Meet for Mending Relations
    Russia, EU Meet for Mending Relations
    Lisa Bryant

    <!-- IMAGE -->

    Russian and European Union leaders are meeting in Stockholm Wednesday in an effort to mend relations damaged last year by Russia's war with Georgia and a gas cut off.  The two sides remain at odds on many issues.

    During the one-day meeting in Stockholm, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and European Union leaders are expected to discuss a number of issues, including energy security, climate, trade and human rights. The meeting is being hosted by Sweden, the current EU president.  It aims to build a new partnership between the two sides.

    They moved forward on that Monday, when the EU and Russia signed an energy early-warning agreement to avoid a possible disruption in supplies of oil, gas and electricity.  The deal aims to avoid the kind of cut off that took place last January, when some European countries were left without enough heat because of a dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

    But analysts like Tomas Valasek believe that, although ties have improved since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, Europe and Russia remain far apart on many substantive issues.  Valasek is head of foreign and defense policy at the Center for European Reform in London.

    "They are moving away from the August 2008 situation [the Russia-Georgia war], when the EU, as a whole, condemned Russia for its behavior and ties were really frozen and tense. But they're not moving back to what they were before - to the status quo ante," he said.   "We're not moving back to any hope of a gradual rapprochement or a gradual alignment or strategic partnership."

    Valasek says, before 2008, there was hope Russia and the EU would grow into strategic partners and form a relationship that might balance American influence in the world.  He says today,  the two sides are at odds about basic issues like democracy, human rights and transparency.

    Still, they do share economic and energy interests.  Europe depends on Russia's natural gas for heating and the EU is Russia's biggest trading partner . Germany, for one, is eyeing closer business ties with Russia.

    "The economic relationship will continue to be the bond. Europe's relationship with Russia's energy exports will increase, in the short run.  Europe will certainly depend [more] on Russia in the coming years than it does currently," said Valasek.

    The EU will also be pushing Russia to make a stronger commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses before a December climate change summit in Copenhagen.  Europe also wants clarity from Moscow about whether or not it intends to join the World Trade Organization.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora