At the EU-Russia Summit of 10 May 2005, a new framework for EU-Russian relations was agreed in the form of four Common Spaces (the Common Economic Space, the Common Space for Security, Freedom and Justice, the Common Space for External Security, and the Common Space for Research and Education). The Common Economic Space (CES) foresees, among other things, closer co-operation and dialogue on regulatory, industrial and enterprise matters.
The Common Spaces have breathed new life into the EU-Russian relationship by setting out a more up-to-date programme for co-operation and dialogue. Although a new agreement is being negotiated with Russia to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), this will in part be based on the Common Spaces. In the meantime the CES roadmap [71 KB] is being implemented, mainly through a series of EU-Russia dialogues.
On 7 December 2005 the terms of reference which established two permanent mechanisms for dialogue between the Commission and the Russian Government were signed:
- A regulatory dialogue on industrial products [18 KB] , with the main objective to promote the harmonisation of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures.
- A dialogue on industrial and enterprise policy [19 KB] . This is a more strategic dialogue that aims to improve the business environment for companies operating in Russia.
A third dialogue, the EU-Russia Space Dialogue [324 KB] , was established in March 2006, between DG Enterprise and Industry, ESA and Roscosmos. Subsequently, 7 working groups have been established covering all fields of space activity.
On 4 March 2010, the co-chairs for the EU-Russia industrial and regulatory dialogue met in Moscow to review progress and difficulties, and to plan ahead for the future. On the pictures, Mr J. Farnell, Director of Coordination, planning and international affairs in DG Enterprise and Industry and the two Russian co-chairs: Mr V. Semenov (Director at the Ministry of Industry and Trade) and Mr V. Boitsov (Deputy Director, Ministry of Industry and Trade) are signing the new set of conclusions and recommendations [252 KB] .
Meetings at political, senior official and technical levels
The Regulatory and Industrial and Enterprise Policy dialogues meet twice a year in Brussels and Moscow. In practice the dialogues are managed by DG Enterprise and Industry for the European Commission, and by the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the Russian Federation. However, a number of other Ministries are involved on the Russian side (Telecom, Health etc.).
In order to give the dialogues the necessary political impetus and direction, Vice President Verheugen regularly met his Russian counterpart, Mr Viktor Khristenko, the Russian Minister for Industry. On 19/20 November 2009 both met in Italy, for a visit to the "mechatronics" region in the Emilio Romagna region, organised in co-operation with the Italian national business association CONFINDUSTRIA. The visit included company visits, on this picture to the Marchesini group (a leading company in the supply of complete packaging lines and machines), with the CEO, Maurizio Marchesini. From left to right in the picture:Mr Marchesini, Vice President Verheugen, Minister Khristenko.
A total of 10 sectoral subgroups have been established, these are:
- conformity assessment and standardisation
- forestry and wood-based products
- ICT, radio and telecom
- metals and mining
- machinery and electrical equipment
The subgroups vary considerably in the frequency at which they meet. All of them except two have met - in some cases 4 or 5 times already. Only the machinery and electrical equipment subgroup has not yet started its work.
The inauguration of the construction group took place on 3 March 2010. On the picture: Mr V. Leoz-Arquelles (Head of Construction Unit in DG Enterprise and Industry) and Mr S.V. Pugachev (Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology) signing the Terms of Reference of the new group. Russia, although rich with many marvels of architecture, has a need to modernise and better regulate construction rules and standards, particularly with the Olympic Winter Games in Sotchi (2014) on the horizon, where many facilities will need to be build in accordance with the highest standards of safety and energy efficiency.
So far the main focus has been on exchange of information. We now understand each others' legislation and policies better than before and we have contact points to approach if problems occur. We have exchanged a great deal of information, and confidence has grown so that both sides are now able to share draft legislative texts with each other and comment on them. This is important as Russia is still outside the WTO and there are few other formal ways of communicating such information. We have also been able to explain our industrial and enterprise policies to a Russian audience in some detail. There is great interest in our policies in Russia, both in the administration and among industry, and yet at the same time it is not easy for Russians to find out about what we do in the EU, or to contact experts. It is clear that there is a high level of interest in and commitment to the dialogues on the Russian side.
As the system beds down, and the two sides get to know each other, the likelihood of trade disputes arising in the sectors concerned is reduced. In the Regulatory Dialogue, the Russian side has frequently expressed its wish to move its system of technical regulations and standards closer to the EU system, although progress is slow.
Both EU and Russian industry support the dialogues. BusinessEurope, the appropriate European trade associations, RSPP (the Russian industry and entrepreneurs' association) and the EU-Russia Industrialists Round Table (IRT) are all supportive and involved in the work of the subgroups to different degrees.
The Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Moscow is also supportive. EU and Russian industry have participated in most of the subgroup meetings held so far.
On 5 March 2010, a first exploratory discussion took place in Moscow on the possible launch of an innovation policy dialogue with Russia. As this was the last working day before international women's day, our Russian hosts presented flowers to the female members of the Commission's delegation, a tradition in Russia on this day. On the picture Mrs Alice Wu of the Commission's innovation department, and Mrs Barbara Stacher of the EU Delegation in Moscow.
State of play
In 2010, the EU and Russia have commited to the Partnership for Modernisation (P4M), which, amongst other things, will function as an acceleration pedal for the dialogue. Regulatory convergence and co-operation on innovation and business environment issues is high on the agenda of P4M.
In the context of the Partnership for Modernisation, Vice President Tajani met Minister Khristenko in Rome on 23 October to relaunch and accelerate th dialogue. The joint statement [221 KB] they signed in Rome confirms these intentions.