Despite existing disputes, the European Union (EU) should continue to seek cooperation with Russia in an atmosphere “not of influence, but of trust,” Romanian President Traian Basescu said here on Tuesday.
Russia is the biggest and the most important neighbor of the EU, but a long list of disagreements exist between the two sides, Basescu said in the opening speech of the Europe-Russia Economic Forum held in the Romanian capital.
Russia is the EU’s third-biggest trade partner, with gas and oil being the main trading commodities, the president said.
“The bilateral cooperation is structured by four big chapters that contain economic and environmental issues, international security issues, research and education as well as justice and home affairs,” he said.
Cooperation in issues such as Iran, the Middle East peace process, nuclear non-proliferation, climate change, terrorism and drug trafficking are satisfying, said the president.
But “irreconcilable issues” also exist, he said.
He said the EU must continue its efforts to cooperate with Russia and engage it in common projects.
Amid the global economic crisis, it became more obvious that the EU and Russia are interdependent, and the crisis is increasingly pushing for cooperation between the two sides, he said.
Both sides should cooperate in an atmosphere “not of influence, but of trust,” he said.
The fifth meeting of the Europe-Russia Economic Forum, presided over by President Basescu, is organized by Poland’s Institute for Eastern Studies.