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Cablegate: Energy, Immigration, and Innovation: Eu Heads Of

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHHE #1088 2991122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261122Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2653

UNCLAS HELSINKI 001088

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG ETRD EUN FI MOPS PGOV PHUM PREL SU
SUBJECT: ENERGY, IMMIGRATION, AND INNOVATION: EU HEADS OF
STATE OR GOVERNMENT MEET IN LAHTI


1. (U) The EU Heads of State or Government on 20 October met
in Lahti, Finland to discuss external energy relations,
immigration, and technological innovation. In press
statements throughout the day, the Finnish EU presidency
sought to portray the EU as united on these difficult issues,
but public comments by other attending officials cast doubt
on the Finnish assessments.

EXTERNAL ENERGY RELATIONS: DEALING WITH RUSSIA
--------------------------------------------- -
2. (U) The issue of the day, despite an agenda full of other
items, was energy security probably due to the impending
dinner with Russian President Putin (septel). Finnish PM
Vanhanen, speaking for the Presidency, announced that it was
time for the EU to negotiate a legally-binding document to
spell out EU-Russia energy relations based in the principles
of market rules, non-discriminatory access, reciprocity, and
transparency. The EU, at the same time, must also begin
energy conservation initiatives to reduce consumption in the
near future. Commission President Barroso, both in the
formal press conference and in an informal session afterward,
stressed that Russia is not the long-term energy answer for
the EU and that home-grown and renewable sources must be
developed hand-in-hand with better conservation.

3. (U) The first fissures in EU unity appeared in the energy
discussion. While Vanhanen and Solana noted the links
between energy and foreign policy, Barroso and French PM
Chirac separately stated that the EU's energy relationship
with Russia had become too politicized. Chirac went as far
as saying that the EU does not mix business and values.
Vanhanen also mentioned the possibility of a single price for
EU energy while Barroso and others stressed the need for
market principles to be applied. While it is clear that the
leaders endorsed the broad outline of an agreement suggested
by the Finnish presidency, it is also clear they are still
far apart on the necessary details of that arrangement.

AFRICA AND MIGRATION
--------------------
4. (U) EU immigration policy was also discussed over the
working lunch and subsequent meetings. Vanhanen stated that
immigration is not just a southern European problem, but an
EU wide issue. He continued that the solution to immigration
problems lay in a cooperative relationship with African
nations to address the roots of illegal immigration. In
separate statements, Chirac went further, opining that
immigration anywhere in the Schengen countries is an issue
for every other Schengen country. He called on the EU to
develop a comprehensive policy for African development,
noting that the African continent's population is growing but
its industrial and agricultural capacity is not keeping pace,
making immigration (whether legal or illegal) more
attractive. British Prime Minister Tony Blair did give a
presentation on the situation in Sudan, but it was not
extensively discussed in press conferences or with local
interlocutors.

INNOVATION: ADDRESSING EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
---------------------------------------------
5. (U) The EU Presidency had earlier announced plans for a
European Institute of Technology, a network of programs to
stimulate scientific research and improve standards for
research and development in an effort to close the gap with
the US. In addition, Vanhanen stressed the need to adopt a
comprehensive IPR strategy and harmonized patent applications
across the EU; however, the patent plan in particular was
announced and agreed to in 1997 with little forward action
since. Barroso echoed the Presidency's concerns, noting that
the EU is losing innovative possibilities to the US because
of the time and cost necessary to apply for EU patents.
WARE

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