During talks in Moscow March 18, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek, met with Russian deputy prime ministers Oleg Davydov and Vladimir Kadannikov. The talks resulted in an agreement to provide Russia with a 900 million ECU grant under the TACIS program that will be directed toward the reorganization and modernization of Russian industry and the training of staff at Russian governmental institutions. (Interfax, March 18)
Van den Broek’s two-day visit to Moscow comes in response to rising tensions between the EU and Russia on several trade issues. European leaders have been especially unhappy over a series of unilateral Russian declarations on trade, including a February 19 threat to introduce quotas on textile imports from the EU, a February 29 announcement that import tariffs would be raised by up to 20 percent, and a March 13 statement that the Kremlin intended to raise the minimum import prices of European vodka. (See Monitor, March 4 & 14) Moreover, all of Moscow’s actions came after a new interim trade agreement between Russia and the EU had come into effect February 1.
According to a statement issued by Van den Broek, nearly half of Russia’s total trade is directed toward the EU, which is also the source of almost half the foreign investment in Russia. Trade with the EU has brought Russia an annual surplus of more than six billion ECU, the statement said. (European Commission Press Release, March 18)
Russia, United States to Cooperate on Supersonic Airliner.