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Euro crisis and visas on EU-Russia agenda

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Euro crisis and visas on EU-Russia agenda


President Dimitry Medvedev will hold top level talks today with European Union presidents in Brussels against the backdrop of Russian electoral fraud allegations and the crisis in the eurozone.

Galvanised by the EU parliament passing a resolution calling for a re-run of the poll which has sparked so many protests, Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy will be expected to talk tough.

But according to Vladimir Chizhov who is Russian ambassador to the EU, Medvedev is more likely to want to focus on other issues.

“I don’t see there is any time to discuss the elections, they are already in the past. We will talk about the current issues affecting the strategic partnership between Russia and EU. Firstly that means negotiation on a new framework agreement and secondly, progress on visa-free travel.”

A road map for the abolition of visas between the EU and Russia has already been agreed and is set to be signed later this month. But with it only being a declaration of intent, Moscow is likely to urge a speedy resolution of the complex negotiations.

To encourage EU cooperation is the promise the Kremlin will consider requests to provide help via the IMF to bolster the eurozone’s bailout fund.

But with Russia holding about 40 per cent of its reserves in euros, there are obvious benefits to both sides.

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