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Main | Archive | Issue 7/2008

Europe and Russia: Fresh Start
Column: Embassy Life

On June 3, a reception was given at the residence of the head of Delegation of the European Commission to the Russian Federation, Ambassador Marc Franco, to celebrate Europe Day. That evening, not only ambassadors and senior diplomats of the EU member countries and other states and Russian diplomats, but also public figures and representatives of the art world were guests of Ambassador Franco and Mrs. Rita Janssen. Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, who had arrived in Moscow just hours before the reception, came to the residence on Bolshaya Polyanka Street practically straight from the airport.

Opening the reception, Ambassador Franco noted that it had already become a good tradition to hold exhibitions parallel to the reception on Europe Day. Last year there was a reception-cum-exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery. This time right at the Ambassadors residence there was an exhibition entitled Europe through the Eyes of Russian Photo Artists - Andrey Gordashevich, Lev Melikhov, Vladimir Mishukov, Igor Mukhin, Sergey Yastrzhembsky, Natalya Pavlovskaya, and Timofey Parshikov. This year the cultural relations of the European Union and Russia will develop further, especially since the EU has declared 2008 the Year of Multicultural Dialog. The European Union and Russia are very different, so we will be able to enrich one another, the Ambassador emphasized.

EU-Russia relations are special, strategic, and important, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said. We in Brussels are pleased that now we finally have a mandate to hold talks with Moscow on a new partnership and cooperation agreement. The EU and Russia are starting to take a multi-level approach to the spheres of the economy, security, human rights, science, and culture. That is why our forthcoming talks will cover many areas of cooperation, and the final text of the agreement will reflect the mutual interests and values of the sides.

As always, the reception at the Bolshaya Polyanka residence was marked by a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Yury Tavrovsky.
Photos by Alexander Bibik.

-, 2006