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    FORMER EU COMMISSIONER: RUSSIA, EUROPE HAVE A LOT OF SHARED OBJECTIVES

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    THE HAGUE, JANUARY 30 (RIA Novosti corr. Andrei Poskakukhin) - Russia and the European Union have a lot of common interests, Carnegie Endowment President Hans van den Broek, a one-time foreign minister of the Netherlands and an EU commissioner, told RIA Novosti on Friday.

    As it expands, the European Union should maintain intensive relations with Russia since many of their objectives coincide, Mr. van den Broek pointed out. According to him, Russia's role in Europe is a highly important one. Its close relations with the EU will matter even more as new nations are taken into the EU.

    To illustrate EU-Russia cooperation in the international arena, the Carnegie Endowment President cited the example of the Mideast Quartet, where the two of them work alongside the US and the UN.

    Mr. Van den Broek stressed the importance of joining efforts to address such shared problems as energy supply, the fight against international terrorism, the prevention of nuclear proliferation, and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

    Russo-European cooperation is also important in the light of Russia's ongoing political and economic reforms, the former EU commissioner pointed out. He wants it stepped up, arguing that the sides have the potential to do so. Speaking of the possibility of Russia joining the EU some time in the future, Mr. Broek said this could not be ruled out.

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