EU-Russia summit to talk energy, WTO on May 21-22


The European Union and Russia will use a May 21-22 summit to discuss energy security following January's EU-Russian tension over suspension of Russian gas supplies, according to the EU Presidency.

Czech envoy to Russia Miroslav Kostelka, whose country holds the rotating presidency, said today Russian accession to the World Trade Organisation would also be high on the agenda.

The Kremlin said President Dmitry Medvedev would meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and a delegation of Commissioners on Friday, Feb. 6 in Moscow .

Barroso will also participate in a joint meeting of the Commission and the Russian government, led by Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin - the third joint meeting between top officials from Brussels and Moscow .

The last EU-Russia summit was held in the French city of Nice last November, before Moscow 's gas supply conflict with Ukraine in January drove a rift between Russia and Europe over energy security.

Ahead of the May Summit, a preliminary meeting will be held at the ministerial level this month, followed by human rights consultations in March and the high-level summit in May, Kostelka said.

Kostelka said among the priorities of the Czech presidency would be discussion of a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Marc Franco, the head of the European Commission in Russia , said trade talks had stalled in recent months on the issue of lumber export tariffs, again blocking Russia 's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Russia has sought to join the trade body for more than a decade and is the world's largest economy to remain outside the WTO mechanisms.

''We have not made any progress to remove this (lumber tariffs) from the agenda,'' Franco told the briefing. ''If Russia is not in the WTO, it will be very hard to have a meaningful discussion with Russia on trade.''