The EU and Russia are strategic partners with shared environmental concerns and interests at the cross-border, European regional and global levels. The EU and Russia cooperate in regional environmental frameworks such as HELCOM for the Baltic Sea and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. They are also partners in global multilateral environmental agreements and forums including the G8/G20. The EU and Russia are working together to improve resource efficiency, eliminate unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and advance compatibility of environmental policy, with the aim of high levels of environmental protection through transparent, consistent and where possible the application of legislation and regulations.
The cornerstone of EU-Russia relations is the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) signed in 1994 and in force from 1997-2007 (extended pending New Agreement). The PCA established an institutional framework for dialogue between the EU and Russia. Summits are held twice a year.
Negotiations on the New EU-Russia Agreement to replace the PCA were launched in June 2008 and are continuing. The New Agreement will include provisions on environment.
Since 2005 ongoing cooperation between the EU and Russia has been conducted under four 'common spaces'. One of these common spaces covers economic issues and the environment.
A formal EU-Russia environmental dialogue under this common space was launched in 2006 with high-level meetings (Permanent Partnership Council – PPC on Environment) held approximately every two years. The first PPC was held in Helsinki in October 2006 and the second in Moscow in November 2009. The dialogue is conducted by DG Environment for the EU and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology (MNRE) for the Russian Federation.
Five expert EU-Russia sub-groups (overseen by a Director-level Working Group) were established to drive forward the Environmental Dialogue: biodiversity and nature; climate change; forestry law enforcement governance and conservation; monitoring and convergence; and water and marine issues.
The Summit held in Rostov in June 2010 launched the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernisation (P4M) as a flexible framework for promoting reform, enhancing growth and raising competitiveness. P4M will be implemented through the environmental and other sectoral dialogues. Priority actions planned within the environment field are:
creation of unified standards for environmental impact assessments for transboundary projects.
Russia participates in ongoing cross-border co-operation and some regional projects funded by the EU through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). From 2014 onwards, it is eligible for the new Partnership Intrument. It is also a co-funder of the Northern Dimension Environment Partnership (NDEP) which since 2001 has leveraged over €3 billion of investment for environmental infrastructure projects in NW Russia through grants for project preparation etc.