Progress on a new economic and political partnership is the hope for this week’s EU/Russia summit.Sweden, which holds the EU presidency and is hosting the summit, is encouraged by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s recent calls for reform and modernisation of Russia’s economy. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt explained: “President Medvedev said a number of interesting things in his policy speech the other day. I was struck by the fact that the WTO wasn’t even mentioned. Clearly, that might mean something: that’s one of the questions that we’ll have on the table” On Monday, the EU and Russia did agreed an early warning mechanism to shield Europe from potential energy supply cuts. It is intended to protect consumers in the event of a repeat of last year’s Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. Before the summit, the Finnish Foreign Minister, Alexander Stubb, said: “We need to work closely with Russia. There is a level of mutual dependence – we depend on them for energy supplies and we are energy consumers for them.” Summit participants indicated hopes for a gradual improvement in ties, despite the differences between Brussels and Moscow over energy, trade, human rights and climate change.