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    MOSCOW, January 28, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Sergei Zelentsov/. Irish ambassador to Russian Justin Harman believes that the EU expansion "should not lead to the creation of new barriers in Europe".

    "Ireland as the EU chairman is taking all efforts to prevent creation of any barriers in Europe after the EU expansion on Ma 1, 2004," the ambassador said at a seminar on Russia-EU relations in Moscow on Wednesday.

    He is convinced that the EU expansion will boost the development of relations between Russia and the European Union.

    "From economic viewpoint, the EU expansion will give Russia a possibility to enter a new market with 450 million consumers and will help Russian economy achieve new levels," the ambassador said.

    The EU expansion will be one of top priorities during Ireland's presidency in the European Union in the first half of 2004. According to him, it will mark the end of the post-war delimitation of Europe. However, it is important to preserve the existing links after the accession of new members to the European Union, Justin Harland stressed.

    He expressed hope that the forthcoming Russia-EU summit in May will be an important stage in the development of our relations and will help to achieve progress in the formation of four common spaces in economic, legal, cultural and security spheres.

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