Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/poland/russia : Warsaw Examining Finnish Presidency Proposal

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/poland/russia : Warsaw Examining Finnish Presidency Proposal

Article excerpt

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has failed to convince Poland to lift its veto on the EU mandate for negotiations on the new agreement with Russia. "We did not get any resolution," said Vanhanen, after a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski on 17 November in Warsaw.

The Finnish Presidency was determined to launch EU negotiations with Russia on 24 November on a new agreement to replace the current decade-old Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which expires at the end of 2007. Backed by most of member states (Germany and France in particular) the Presidency intends the EU to agree with Russia in the course of coming year on a new more comprehensive accord, which will include, inter alia, a chapter on strategically important energy ties. The launch of talks was, however, blocked by Poland which refused to give its support to the negotiation mandate unless Moscow agrees to ratify the European Energy Charter along with the Transit Protocol and lifts the year-old ban on Polish meat and agricultural products.

Although Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen'saWarsaw trip did not deliver immediate results, there were still hopes that a deal would be struck before 24 November. The offer presented by the Finnish Presidency was being thoroughly examined by the Polish government. Both sides refused, however, to reveal any details of the proposal.

Commenting on the meeting with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the Finnish prime minister said that the discussion was "constructive". …

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