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Russia-EU Presidency meeting on closer relations

Meeting of Russia-EU Presidency Special Working Group Held

A meeting of the Russia-EU Presidency special working group took place in Athens. The consultations were held in a three-sided format - the representatives of the Greek Presidency, which is concluding, and the Italian Presidency of the European Union, which is beginning on July 1, took part. The delegations were headed by Vladimir Chizhov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Dimitrios Kondoumas, Director General for the EU at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Deputy Director General for European Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Discussions centered on the tasks arising from the results of the Russia-EU summit held in St. Petersburg on May 31. There were noted the good prospects for achieving, in time for the next summit meeting in Rome in November 2003, real progress in the key areas of cooperation, including the completion of the elaboration of a concept of the Common European Economic Space and the enhancement of the efficacy of the mechanisms for cooperation between Russia and the European Union.

Special attention was devoted to the launching of an intensive dialogue regarding the implications of the EU enlargement for Russian interests and to the start of substantive work on a gradual simplification of visa procedures and on phase-by-phase advancement towards a visa-free regime for trips of citizens of Russia and of the countries of the enlarging European Union.

The next meeting of the Russia-Italian EU Presidency working group will be held in Moscow on July 24.

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