25 - 26 May, 2007
Session One: THE NEW EU-RUSSIA RELATIONSHIP: PRINCIPLES, INTERESTS AND PROCESSES
On November 30, 2007, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Russia (PCA) will expire, making increasingly relevant the question of the future basis of the relations. What are the interests and the possibilities of the parties? What principles should the relations be based on in the future? How can the different perspectives on the future of the relations between the EU and Russia be reconciled? There are some important conclusions to be made from the difficulties and positive experiences of the ten years of the current PCA. But is just as important to approach the issue creatively and look for new, inventive approaches.
Session Two: ENERGY ISSUES IN THE EU - RUSSIA RELATIONS: THE LOGIC OF ECONOMY AND THE CONTEXT OF POLITICS
In the recent years, the energy component of the EU-Russia relationship has been in the frontline. On both sides, far-reaching cooperation plans have been put forward. At the same time, concerns over the political aspects of energy interdependence have been voiced. What is the real potential and what are the eventual consequences of the Russian companies entering the European energy markets? What is the real potential and what are the possible consequences of the expansion of Russian energy companies to European markets? Would the ratification by Russia of the Energy Charter Treaty help resolve these issues and create a sustainable basis for the relationship?
Panel discussion: THINKING DECADES AHEAD: IN SEARCH OF A GLOBAL VISION FOR EUROPE
What's Europe in the future: will it be a vaguely defined geographical entity or can it become a value-based community? Should the borders of Europe equal the borders of the EU? Is integration of Russia into, or with the European Union wishful thinking or a realistic prospect? Finally, what difference can Europe make as a global actor?
Special Economic Session: A BALANCED DEVELOPMENT PATH FOR THE LATVIAN ECONOMY: PROBLEMS, RISKS AND PERSPECTIVES
Session Three: RUSSIA-EUROPE TRANSIT: NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR LATVIA
Transit, transport and customs cooperation between the EU-Russia while paying special attention to Latvia's role. How can Latvia make the most of its unique geographical and political position? Of particular interest is the potential role of the Russian and Asian transit and the possibilities for handling Russian export and import goods in the Latvian ports. A special challenge and opportunity is presented by the future energy export from Russia. What can Latvia offer here in terms of routs and service? What infrastructure development is necessary to make use of the possibilities at hand?
Panel discussion: THINKING DECADES AHEAD: IN SEARCH OF A GLOBAL VISION FOR EUROPE. Discussants: Dace Akule, Latvia, Sergei Karaganov, Russia, David Král, Czech Republic, Victor Makarov, Latvia, Dr. Susanne Peters, Switzerland ru/en
Roundtable discussion: EU-RUSSIA: FUTURE MODELS - POSSIBLE AND DESIRABLE ru
As a contribution to a public debate on these issues, on 26 February 2007 the Baltic Forum was organized the international seminar The EU and Russia's Energy Interdependence: A Risk or a Chance for Latvia? The seminar was a chance for Latvian experts, business representatives and government officials together with internationally acclaimed experts to discuss the economic and political aspects of the issue. The working languages of the conference was English, Latvian and Russian. Simultaneous translation was provided during the sessions.
In the last years, the energy issues have dominated the EU-Russia relationship. In theory, the gains to be had from a successful cooperation are obvious. In reality, however, the EU-Russia energy relationship poses several difficult questions of both economic and political nature.
Those questions concern not only the principles upon which the future EU-Russian energy cooperation should be based in the future. It is also important to evaluate the positions and the situation of each party. On the one hand, the perspectives of a common EU strategy in its relations with Russia deserve a critical assessment. On the other hand, there is need for a better understanding of the role energy plays in Russia's foreign and domestic policy as well as the economy. These questions are of special importance for Latvia which, while being a small EU member state, has close energy ties with Russia.