Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 94

The EU approved May 12 an "action plan" aimed at promoting economic and political reform in Russia. It pledges the EU to step up efforts to develop trade links and economic cooperation with Moscow, promises to aid Moscow in modernizing production and manufacturing, and commits the EU to working for Russian admission to the World Trade Organization. At a time of growing confrontation between Russia and the West over NATO enlargement, the plan aims at developing increased contacts with Moscow and pledges cooperation in areas ranging from arms export controls to disarmament. It also calls for greater cooperation in combating crime and drug trafficking, as well as in dealing with refugees and halting illegal immigration. Cooperation in the field of nuclear security and environmental protection and in the conversion of defense-related industries is also envisioned.

While the EU said publicly that the plan is "about policies, not personalities," one government official admitted that the timing of the plan’s release "is designed to coincide" with Russia’s June presidential elections. European leaders were said to be anxious over the possibility that Boris Yeltsin would fail in his bid for reelection, and the plan is aimed at supporting him and convincing the Russian people that the West stands behind Russian reform. (Reuter, UPI, Itar-Tass, May 12)

WEU Ponders Russia’s Place in Europe…