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Cooperation between the European Union and Russia

Cooperation between the European Community and Russia has been established through the implementation of numerous actions and programmes, including TACIS, pan- European networks in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications and on other issues, including education ...

Cooperation between the European Community and Russia has been established through the implementation of numerous actions and programmes, including TACIS, pan- European networks in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications and on other issues, including education and training, the environment, energy, industrial cooperation, research and development. Since its inception in 1991, TACIS has striven to provide know-how to create the means and conditions for accelerating the transition to a democratic market society. It has three main objectives: to support the transition towards the market economy and democracy, to develop partnerships and foster links and networks at all levels, and to integrate recipient countries into the world economy. The priority of TACIS is to contribute to structural reform and modernization in the areas which play a key role in the transition process. For this purpose, TACIS allocates grants to five basic project types: - Policy advice; - Institution-building and restructuring; - Design of legal and regulatory frameworks; - Training; - Pilot projects. TACIS has concentrated primarily on the following sectors: nuclear safety and energy (30%); support for enterprises including privatization, military conversion and the financial sector (17%); and human resources development (training, public administration, social policies and civic society) (16%). In addition, TACIS has committed significant funds in such sectors as transport, telecommunications, agriculture and the environment. TACIS works at every level in society, demonstrating new ideas and alternative ways of organization, providing policy advice, advisory and consultancy teams, training and studies. It helps to develop new regulatory frameworks, reformed institutions and NGOs, and sets up partnerships and networks, twinning, pilot projects and framework programmes. Since 1992 the EU has cooperated actively in the energy field with the Central and East European countries, and the countries of the CIS, including Russia. Cooperation has focused on the promotion of energy technologies and energy saving, through programmes such as THERMIE, and the funding of energy centres, three of which are in Russia. The Energy Charter Treaty, concluded at Lisbon in December 1994, sets the framework for long-term cooperation in the energy sector among the signatories, including the EU and Russia. Subjects covered by the Charter include the transit of energy, transfer of energy-related technology, promotion of investments and removal of trade barriers. In the energy sector, the SYNERGY programme is helping Russia to make more effective policy decisions, for example in the following areas: advice on energy legislation and regulation, with emphasis on the European Energy Charter; support for an ongoing dialogue between the EU and Russia on the social and economic regeneration of coal-mining areas; fostering the development of sustainable institutions to improve energy efficiency. On the environment front, three Environmental Centres for Administration and Technology (ECATs) have been or are being set up in Russia. The aim of these LIFE-financed centres is to provide local government and industry with support in their efforts to find environmentally sound solutions to problems in their areas. The European Union/Russia nuclear safety programme, funded by TACIS, focused on four topics: assistance on six nuclear sites; design safety; support to regulatory authorities for the development of a strong technical and legal basis in fields such as licensing, training and inspections; the waste and fuel cycle, providing advice on management of waste and matters such as the transport of fuel. In the field of industrial cooperation, the EU supports reform in Russia through its activities of in the field of science and technology. Research projects with the participation of Russian researchers have been supported by programmes such as COPERNICUS (joint projects and scientific networks) and PECO (participation in specific programmes of the Framework Programme), and through the International Association for the Promotion of Cooperation with Scientists from NIS (INTAS). In all, more than ECU 50 million was committed during 1993-1994 for cooperation of this type. These activities complement the initiatives undertaken by TACIS-funded action in support of the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), by which the European Union assists the conversion of military researchers to civil applications. Initiatives supported to date have aimed at giving assistance to a wide number of researchers in small-/medium-size projects. In the coming years, priority will be given to research projects having high potential applications both for industry and the public domain, which are likely to create nuclei for a renewed and reinvigorated RTD culture. In the transport field, the Union is very active in promoting the integration of trans-European transport networks between the Union and Russia. For road and rail transport, these cover important corridors such as that between Berlin and Moscow or between Helsinki-St. Petersburg-Moscow-Kiev. In the ports sector, the Union is an active partner to regional bodies in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea looking at ports developments in a regional context. Furthermore, TACIS has identified air transport, and air traffic control in particular, as priority sectors within the transport sector, and has financed many large-scale projects in these fields. There are many other areas of activity where EU experience is assisting Russia to set aside its legacy of the past in order to develop its resources in a sustainable manner. Examples include the information society where the EU is providing advice to the Russian government on draft laws in the information sector, notably on data protection and import/export of informational documents.

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