|Author (Person)||Taylor, Simon|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.9, 1.3.01, p3|
RUSSIAN and European Commission officials meet in Moscow next week to discuss measures to minimise the economic impact on the enclave of Kaliningrad when Poland and Lithuania join the European Union.
The talks in the subcommittee on trade and investment on Tuesday and Wednesday (6-7 March) will focus on the movement of goods between Russia and Kaliningrad, which will be completely surrounded by EU territory after enlargement.
The Commission has proposed boosting investment in border crossings to speed up the flow of goods into and out of the Russian enclave, but it is resisting Moscow's calls for a special trade regime for Kaliningrad. It argues that merchandise will not be subject to any customs or transit duties after enlargement because the territory will enjoy preferential trading terms under the Union's Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
The EU executive also points out that it cannot give Kaliningrad special legal or customs status unless it wins more autonomy from Russia.
Moscow is concerned that enlargement will have a major impact on the enclave. Kaliningrad has a population of one million and is estimated to derive more than half of its income from the black economy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to raise his concerns when he meets EU leaders in Stockholm on 23 March, one day after the Russian Parliament holds a debate on Kaliningrad. Commission officials say they hope the discussions will give them a clearer idea of what Moscow expects from the EU.
The Union is also insisting that citizens of Kaliningrad will need visas to travel through EU territory after enlargement. But it is offering to help improve border facilities to speed up transit and assist authorities with 'unforgeable' documents.
Russian and European Commission officials will meet in Moscow in early March to discuss measures to minimise the economic impact on the enclave of Kaliningrad when Poland and Lithuania join the European Union.
|Countries / Regions||Russia|