17:11 GMT +322 March 2018
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    MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russia-EU summit has opened in the Kremlin. This is the first Russia-EU summit after the EU's enlargement.

    Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Foreign Minister Brian Cowen (Ireland is holding the rotating presidency in the EU), Chairman of the European Commission Romano Prodi and European Commissioners Pascal Lamy and Chris Patten have arrived in the Russian capital for the summit. On the Russian side, participating in the summit, apart from President Vladimir Putin, are Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref, and Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko.

    According to the scarce press reports (the press conference for reporters is scheduled for tonight) from the summit, the EU deems it necessary to advocate the rights of the Russian-speaking population in the Baltic countries.

    We should uphold the rights of the Russian-speaking minority in the European countries, said Romano Prodi.

    The European Commission attached huge importance to the integration of the Russian-speaking population to the EU, said Mr. Prodi.

    In his words, it is not only the EU's position that matters here, but also the Russian speakers' willingness to blend into the EU.

    Mr. Prodi also said that now the development of the Kaliningrad region meets both Russia's and the EU's interests.

    Russia and the EU complement each other. They are like caviar and vodka. I don't know who is caviar, and who is vodka, but this is a movement (integration) in the right direction, said Mr. Prodi.

    He thanked the Russian president for the joint efforts of the past years.

    He noted that the formation of common European spaces was an instrument of making the Russia-EU cooperation more complete.

    The EU bluntly condemned the terrorist act in Grozny on May 9, which killed [Chechen President] Akhmad Kadyrov.

    There is no room for such violence in democratic society, said Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

    (The terrorist act in Grozny killed another six people, apart from Kadyrov).

    Russia's cooperation with the EU plays a key role in ensuring security in Europe, he said.

    Mr. Ahern particularly emphasized that the Russia-EU partnership should become a force providing stability.

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