The European Commission does not intend to impose restrictions on investments of Russia in the energy sector of Europe, said EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, presenting a new EU strategy for security of energy supplies.
“Our principle is as follows – we welcome all investors who abide by European legislation, and this is applicable to Russian investments”, – he said.
“They must meet all the standards of the EU on competition, including the requirements of the Third Energy Package, including third-party access to energy infrastructure. Moreover, it must fully comply with the European legislation on environmental protection. These rules are the same for everyone,” – Oettinger stressed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to start a meaningful dialogue between the Russian Federation and the EU on a new partnership agreement, the head of the Russian state said it at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). According to him, “there is no other way to create conditions of trust.” Putin also called for direct negotiations and the search for a compromise on this issue, “while respecting the rights and interests” of the parties.
According to the President, Europe is traditionally important trade and economic partner of Russia: “We sincerely want to keep it to create new opportunities for business cooperation. We want to remove barriers for trade and investment.”
The Russian delegation will go to the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe with all its participants. Deputy head of the delegation, State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky will also go to Strasbourg, despite the fact that he is included in the EU sanction lists.
According to him, “all members of international parliamentary organizations, including the Russian deputies have immunity.” “They are entitled to take part in meetings, in this case of PACE and stay in the EU for the time of the session,” – said Pushkov.
Earlier on Friday, Pushkov said that there’s no prospect of Russia’s withdrawal from the European Council.
Russian Foreign Ministry considers UN Assistant Secretary General Ivan Šimonović’s statements about journalists and activists who had been searched in the Ukraine, and lack of information about extremists to be double standards, says the commentary of the Information Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that “the spread of neo-Nazi slogans, the glorification of the Nazi executioners, calls for lynching Russian population in Ukraine and Russians in general (i.e., actions that have all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing) must receive clear and unequivocal condemnation.”
The European Union, despite repeated warnings about the immediate sanctions against Russia in case of annexation of the Crimea after the referendum, may waive this step, but only under one condition – if the Russian Federation and Ukraine start negotiations, said on Monday the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Frans Timmermans, after it was announced that 96.77% of the Crimean population were in favor of reunification with Russia.
In turn, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton expressed the view that the EU Council would have to make a strong signal for Russia after the Crimean referendum. She once again pointed out that Brussels considered referendum illegitimate both in terms of the Ukrainian constitution and in terms of the international law. Ashton urged Russia to start direct negotiations with Kiev and resolve the conflict through diplomacy and encouraged to deal this serious situation “very carefully”.
Russia does not rule out the introduction of mirror measures in case if U.S. and EU impose sanctions against Russia, told reporters Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev.
He noted that Russia was ready for any consequences regarding the introduction of sanctions against the country.
Earlier, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of the U.S. Congress approved a bill that would impose sanctions on Russia. The document, in particular, condemned Russian “unjustified military intervention” in Crimea.
The bill gives the U.S. administration the power to take economic measures against the Russian and Ukrainian officials involved, according to U.S. lawmakers, into corruption and human rights violations in Ukraine, as well as against those responsible for the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic.
This implies a ban on the entry of these people in the U.S. and freezing their U.S. accounts.
In addition, the European Commission launched a preliminary preparation of possible sanctions against Russia, although the decision on their introduction has not been made yet.
Russia and Ukraine should immediately sit down at the negotiating table, and the EU is ready to help them with it, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, speaking at a session of the European Parliament.
“Diplomatic, political and military situation is still developing in the wrong direction, – he stated. – Our dialogue (with Russia) on visa regime facilitation, on the conclusion of a new agreement, on preparation for the G8 summit in Sochi has already been suspended. If comprehensive negotiations do not begin in the near future and do not give tangible results, it will lead to additional measures.” However, Barroso did not tell what exactly implications and new sanctions would be.
Switzerland sees no reason for the introduction of visa restrictions for Russia soon, but if Schengen countries suddenly impose such restrictions, the country as a member of the agreement will follow such measures, said the Ambassador of Switzerland in Russia Pierre Helg.
“If we consider possible sanctions, related to visa matters, which are mentioned and referred to, if we consider the possibility that the EU will introduce some sanctions of this kind, then at the moment for us this question is not relevant, – said Helg. – We do not see the steps for the introduction of such sanctions soon.”
In a month Russia may initiate the formation of the panel of judges (WTO arbitration court) in action against energy corrections applied by the EU, Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev told Itar -Tass.
The essence of Russia’s claims is that the EU anti-dumping procedures take into account European prices, not Russian ones in the costs of Russian companies that are connected with the purchase of electricity or gas to produce the goods, and they are significantly higher, and on the basis of such assessments accuses Russia of dumping. “Application of the energy corrections in the calculation of anti-dumping margin for Russia is unacceptable, they should be eliminated,” – said the Ministry of Economic Development earlier.
At the summit Russia and the EU adopted a joint declaration on the fight against terrorism. This was announced after the summit by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
In this context, he condemned terrorism in all its manifestations and the recent terrorist acts in Volgograd, and also noted the practical cooperation of the EU and Russia in the sphere of security at Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The document, in particular, says that the parties intend to explore opportunities to further strengthen cooperation in response to the crimes committed by terrorists and organized crime.
Russia and the EU intend to expand cooperation in the area of exchanging the best practices of counter-terrorism and training the specialists on counter terrorism.