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    WITH CONCERNS OVER EU EXPANSION REMOVED RUSSIA AND EU WILL BE ABLE TO ADOPT A JOINT ACTION PLAN - FRADKOV

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- With the concerns related to the EU expansion removed, Russia and the European Union will be able to adopt a joint action plan for building the four "spaces" - common economic, internal and external security, science, education and culture "spaces". This was stated by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov at his first press conference.

    "At the St Petersburg summit we agreed to cooperate in building the four common "spaces", he recalled. By reaching a compromise on alleviating concerns connected with the expansion of the EU we will be able to agree on drafting a joint plan of interaction in elaborating the four "spaces".

    Fradkov admitted that Russia's concerns over the EU expansion are "serious indeed". First and foremost it is possible negative consequences for trade and economic relations of our country with the ten new members of the EU.

    This concerns a whole number of sensitive commodities, trade in nuclear materials, visa issues, the Kalinigrad transit issue (the Kaliningrad region is Russia's enclave in the Baltics,) as well as worsening of the situation of Russians in Estonia and Latvia. "Work is under way, we have a schedule for talks, some signs for the better have glimmered," the Premier said.

    He reminded that Moscow will host in May a regular Russia-EU summit, with a meeting at the government level also being planned.

    The premier noted that with the expansion of the European Union the share of the EU in Russia's foreign trade would grow from the current 36% to 53 %.

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