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Joint Statement of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council*

The eighth meeting of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council (PPC) on Freedom, Security and Justice was held in St. Petersburg on 24-25 April 2008.

At the meeting the Russian Federation was represented by the Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Viktor Ivanov, Minister of the Interior Rashid Nurgaliyev and Minister of Justice Vladimir Ustinov.

The European Union was represented by the Ministers chairing the Justice and Home Affairs Council,  Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior, and Lovro Sturm, Slovenian Minister of Justice, Vice President of the European Commission Jacques Barrot, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security,  and State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Alain Marleix, representing the incoming French EU Presidency.

The participants reviewed the implementation of the EU-Russia Road Map of the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice and identified priorities for the future. They welcomed several achievements, which have already been obtained in its implementation and committed themselves to continue achieving practical cooperation in key areas. Parties stressed the importance of respecting the overarching principles for the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice.

The participants welcomed the implementation of the EC-Russia visa facilitation and readmission agreements and reaffirmed their readiness to respect the commitments entered therein in an unconditional and harmonised way. They appreciated the successful start of the visa dialogue to examine the conditions for mutual visa-free travel and, in this context, looked forward to further work by experts within the agreed four thematic blocks, notably on document security including biometrics, illegal migration including readmission, public order and security, as well as external relations.

The participants welcomed the results of the expert meeting on the registration procedures for foreign citizens which had helped clarify a number of issues. The participants reaffirmed their readiness to ensure a balanced and non-discriminatory implementation of the respective rules and regulations in this field and to discuss possible means of mitigating unintended effects on their citizens.

The participants welcomed the progress in developing practical cooperation between the European Agency for the Management of Operational Co-operation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) and the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Their joint cooperation plan for 2007-2010 is expected to serve as a good basis for future initiatives to step up border cooperation.

The participants exchanged information on local border traffic agreements between EU Member States and their neighbours. They also took note of the information presented by both sides on the current situation at the border crossing points between the Russian Federation and the EU Member States and underlined the importance of solving existing outstanding issues concerning the common borders.

The participants looked forward to initiatives based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Narcotics Traffic Control and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) that was signed in October 2007. They welcomed the recent establishment of cooperation between the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Narcotics Traffic Control and the Maritime Analysis and Operational Centre on Narcotics (MAOC-N) and highlighted the potential for cooperation in the Black Sea region. The participants welcomed the ongoing efforts to enhance mutual exchanges of information and technical expertise on the illicit use and trafficking of drugs. The participants expected the next EU Troika - Russia meeting on drugs to summarise the achievements and to suggest other ideas that would help to further expand the scope of cooperation. The results of the recently held technical seminar on precursors were noted in particular as being significant in this respect.

The parties welcomed progress in combating organised crime and in particular cyber-crime. In this context special attention was attached to the ever growing threat of criminal use of information technology, including the spreading of images of abuse and violence against children through the Internet. The participants instructed their appropriate law enforcement agencies to closely cooperate in identifying and tracking down cyber criminals and to make full use of expert meetings to share information and best practices to this effect. The parties considered a common conference as a possibility of gearing up cooperation in this key area.

The parties took note of the work of liaison officers and discussed organised crime threat assessments. They expressed their satisfaction with the developing contacts between the European Police College (CEPOL) and competent Russian authorities.

The parties expressed their support for the contacts between the Russian law enforcement authorities and Europol and for the signing of the operational agreement as soon as all requirements are fulfilled, including implementation of adequate standards of data protection.

The participants expressed their satisfaction with the progress achieved at the last round of consultations on judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. They expressed willingness to achieve concrete results in the near future.

The parties expressed their commitment to intensifying work on the draft cooperation agreement between Russia and Eurojust. The parties will take all possible efforts in order to further improve and increase effectiveness of judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

The EU and Russia agreed to hold the ninth meeting of the EU-Russia PPC on Freedom, Security and Justice in October 2008 in France.


*The official text of the Joint Statement of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council on Freedom, Security and Justice after the meeting in St. Petersburg on 24 and 25 April 2008 is written in English.


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Date: 25.04.2008