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    RUSSIA, EU TO SMOOTH UP CONTACTS AS THEY UNIFY LAWS: RUSSIAN SENATOR

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Maria Balynina) - Russia and the European Union ought to bring their legal standards closer together. That is a must if they are to improve their relations, holds Mikhail Margelov, international affairs committee head at the Federation Council, the Russian parliament's upper house. He said so to the media today.

    He discussed the matter, earlier on the day, with Richard Write, in charge of the European Commission Moscow office, and Justin Harman, Irish Ambassador to Russia-as Ireland currently chairs the European Union.

    Russia and the EU are now to reach the closest possible practical partnership, and implement joint programs of a regional scope. Such are top bilateral priorities, said the Senator.

    EU expansion has a political and economic impact on Russian developments, and that impact will grow on, so the Federation Council is eager to be active as Europe is implementing its united environment concept.

    Today's Russia-EU agenda also included Federation Council contacts with the European Parliament. To upgrade partnership, Russian parliamentarians need permanent observers' status at the latter, pointed out Mr Margelov.

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