Russia-EU sectoral dialogues are the key factors in implementing the task of creating the Russia-EU Common economic space. These dialogues are developed by appropriate Russian federal ministries and agencies together with the relevant European Commission Directorates-General. Main tasks and areas of the dialogues are defined by the corresponding chapters of the Road map on Common Economic Space, approved by the Russia-EU Summit in Moscow in May 2005.
Russia and the EU are currently developing sectoral dialogues in the following 12 areas: energy, transport, regulatory dialogue, industrial policy, information society, space cooperation, agriculture, environment, financial and macroeconomic policies, regional policies, fisheries and public health.
Both sides consider the dialogues to be a useful instrument for further development and diversification of bilateral cooperation between Russia and the EU.
Evidently, every dialogue advances at its own pace, but their common vector is properly assigned, and both sides have acquired a good pace.
Joint working groups and subgroups have been established on specific areas of cooperation. The Dialogues' Coordinators (heads or senior officials from relevant Russian ministries and European Commission DG's) meet to discuss important issues and agree on action plans. Strategic tasks on how to further the dialogues are set by appropriate Permanent Partnership Councils at ministerial and European Commissioners' level.
Decision to launch the Energy dialogue was taken at the Russia-EU summit in Paris on 30 October 2000.
Among the main items of the dialogue today are issues of uninterrupted energy transit from Russia to EU markets (Memorandum on early warning mechanism in the field of energy was signed in November 2009, updated in February 2011 with the purpose to promote efficient interaction in this area). Discussions on development of investment legislation of both sides are under way. The dialogue promotes continued cooperation on a genuinely equal, mutually beneficial and non-discriminatory basis. Results of the work within the dialogue are summarized annually in special reports - the 11th annual Progress Report on the Energy Dialogue was signed in November 2010 which contains an analysis of constructive cooperation within the last decade and tasks for the future.
The "Terms of Reference" covering principles, objectives and structure of Russia-EU dialogue in the field of transport and infrastructure was signed on 3 October 2005. The first Permanent Partnership Council on transport was held on 8 September 2006 in Lappeenranta, Finland.
The dialogue covers the following areas: transport strategy, infrastructure and public-private partnership, road and rail transport, maritime, sea, and inland waterway transport, transport safety and security. 2011 see both sides making efforts to intensify the dialogue and to improve its working structures. Russia and the EU have agreed to hold an aviation summit in October 2011 in St.Petersburg.
A Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics was signed on 21 October 2009 in Naples. It aims at developing and implementing joint projects on transport infrastructure and eliminating administrative barriers in transportation links. The European Commission, several EU Member States, Norway and Russia are parties to the Memorandum.
Regulatory Dialogue on industrial products (standardisation, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures) was established by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy (nowadays Ministry of Industry and Trade) and the Directorate General for enterprise and industry of the European Commission on 7 December 2005 in Brussels.
Its thematic subgroups discuss issues of approximation of positions on harmonization of technical regulations and standards, approaches to mutual recognition of results of conformity assessment by both sides, and exchange information on new regulatory legislation and standards.
The dialogue was launched simultaneously with the regulatory dialogue and is pursued by the same bodies. Both sides exchange information on development of certain industries and enterprises (automobile industry, textile industry, chemical industry, aerospace industry, mining and metal sectors, SMEs and enterprise policy), innovation links, discuss ways to minimize barriers to trade in reprocessing and machine-building industries' products and exchange experience on industrial production crisis relief.
The "Terms of Reference" of the Russia-EU Dialogue on information society was signed between the Russian Ministry for Information Technologies and Communications (nowadays - Ministry of Telecom and Mass communication) and the Directorate General for Information Society of the European Commission in Brussels on 7 December 2005.
The dialogue provides a framework for detailed discussion on progress in creating the information society, latest developments in the area of telecommunication and ICT, the Russian and EU regulatory legislation, projects implemented by both sides in these spheres. Areas for long-term Russia-EU cooperation on these subjects are considered, including participation in joint scientific research, inter alia within public scientific research programmes.
The "Terms of Reference" for a Russia-EU dialogue on space cooperation and the joint statement establishing the dialogue were adopted on 10 March 2006 in Brussels by the Russian Space Agency, the European Commission and the European Space Agency.
The dialogue encompasses exchange of information with the purpose to contribute to joint projects on agriculture and forestry, earthquake foreshocks and Arctic regions, interoperability and compatibility between Galileo and GLONASS GNSS, framework for cooperation on satellite communication, development of prospective scenarios for manned missions after the decommissioning of the International Space Station, etc.
The Memorandum of Understanding establishing the dialogue in the area of agriculture and rural development was signed on 11 April 2006 in Moscow by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and by the respective Directorate General of the European Commission.
Russia and the EU discuss approaches to rural development policies, application of innovative technologies, the market situation for some agricultural products, work on gradual approximation of methodologies for collection and analysis of statistical data, and define prospective ways to increase employment and incomes in rural areas.
Cooperation on phytosanitary and veterinary issues, though not formalized as an independent dialogue, advances quite actively and aims at harmonization of the Russian and EU regulatory legislation in the area of safety of agriculture products. Memoranda on specific issues of cooperation between the Russian and EU supervision authorities have been the basis for joint work since 2004. The sides hold regular expert meetings on veterinary and phytosanitary regulation for agricultural products imported by Russia from the EU, reciprocal inspections of meat and milk-processing plants, fruit and vegetables farms in order to explain the Russian import regulation to EU exporters.
The "Terms of Reference" for the dialogue on environment were signed on 10 October 2006 in Helsinki by the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation and the Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission. Subjects within the dialogue include such issues as convergence of environmental legislation, climate change, biodiversity conservation, environmental impact assessment, forest law enforcement and governance, cleaner production and prevention of environmental pollution, water and marine issues.
The Memorandum establishing the dialogue was signed in Brussels on 2 February 2007. The Russian side is represented in the Dialogue by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Central Bank of Russia, the Federal Service on Financial Markets. The Directorates Generals for internal market and services and finance participate in the dialogue on behalf of the European Commission.
Main items of the dialogue focus on implementation and application of international accounting and financial reporting standards in Russia and the EU, state of play and prospects for insurance sectors in Russia and the EU, fight against financial and economic crisis, measures to enhance world financial system and financial systems of Russia and the EU in order to strengthen their reliability, transparency and sustainability, crisis exit and sustainable growth strategies.
The Memorandum of Understanding establishing the dialogue on regional policy between the Russian Ministry of Regional Development and the European Commission was signed on 23 May 2007.
The dialogue's work programme envisages workshops and seminars on multilevel governance, efficiency assessment of local and regional institutions, management of large-scale investment projects, and exchange of experience of implementation of cross-border cooperation initiatives.
Representatives of Russian regions regularly take part in annual European week of regions and cities ("Open days").
Five agreements on co-financing of Russia-EU cross-border cooperation programmes were signed in 2009. Russia and the EU allocate for the programmes 437 million euros for the programmes (the Russian contribution is 103 million euros). The launch of the programmes, upon ratification of the agreements in 2010, facilitates and intensifies regional cross-border cooperation in areas which the regions themselves choose as priorities. It stimulates direct inter-regional contacts and contributes to social and economic development of Russian border regions.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian State Committee on Fisheries and the European Commission establishing principles, objectives and structure of the Dialogue on fisheries was signed on 24 April 2008. Working structures of the dialogue have become operational since 2010. The sides held several meetings on the issue of combating illegal fishery by the means of certification of legal origin of exported products. The relevant EU legislation became effective on 1 January 2010.
The "Terms of Reference" for a Dialogue on health was signed by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation and the Directorate General for public health and consumers protection of the European Commission on 28 May 2009 in Moscow. Priority areas for cooperation within the Dialogue are infectious and non-infectious diseases, food security, exchange of information and knowledge, cooperation in medical statistics and education, implementation of international legislation.
In 2010-2011 the Russian Federation chairs the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-Being, to which several EU Member States and the European Commission are parties.
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