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    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE SOME EUROPEAN PROBLEMS WITHOUT JOINING EFFORTS OF RUSSIA AND EUROPE

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    MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - A joint statement of Yevgeny Primakov, president of Russia's Commerce and Industry Chamber and Arkady Volsky, president of Russia's Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs says that a number of European issues can be resolved only through joint efforts.

    "Russia and the European Union are strategic partners. A number of European problems (energy, environment, transportation) can be solved only if we join our efforts," the statement reads.

    At the same time, heads of the leading Russian business associations point out that the European Union during its expansion does not will to take into consideration Russia's trade interests.

    "Russia sent the European Commission a list of its concerns in connection with the EU expansion in 1999 and expressed the hope that all issues will be solved before the EU expansion. Unfortunately, specific consultations started only this year and are accompanied by attempts to automatically extend the Russia-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement to the new members of the European Union, without regard for the trade interests of our country," the document reads.

    Primakov and Volsky believe that the solution of this problem can be found before May 2004 if there is political will to do it. This would help give a fresh impetus to negotiations on Russia's joining the WTO, power dialogue, the establishment of common spaces in science and technology, transportation, security, and would make the ideas of a common European economic space more realistic," the statement reads.

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