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    EU MUST COMPENSATE RUSSIA FOR ITS EXPANSION, SAYS RUSSIAN ECONOMIST

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    MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union must compensate Russia for its expansion. Alexander Livschits, a well-known economist, said this at a press conference in RIA Novosti.

    He stressed that the EU expansion was bad for Russia because duties "on traditional Russian exports were higher in the EU than in the countries entering it. This concerns tariffs on gas and chemical and other products, Livschits added.

    In the economist's opinion, "Russia will incur losses, and losses must be compensated for." This could be done in different ways. "Customs quotas would be the ideal version," he said. The EU must give Russia a year for its gradual switchover to new tariffs. Meanwhile, this year Russia should be allowed to export goods to Baltic countries at current tariffs, Livschits declared.

    "We rely on the EU's goodwill, though we have arguments as well," he continued. He explained that Russia would have to sign a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with new EU members. The EU proposes that this should be done simultaneously with ten countries entering the European Union on May 1, 2004.

    "We want to sign this agreement with each separate country, but there is no doubt that some patriots in our parliament will refuse to ratify it. And these countries will not joint the EU without our ratification," Livschits explained.

    " It is a hard measure to resort to. I am not sure that we must do this. However, the European Union must do something for Russia, too, and support its friendship materially," Livschits said in conclusion.

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