May 20, 2009

EU-Russian summit to tackle economy first

The Russian-European Union economic summit starting Thursday will concentrate on the global economy, presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said in Moscow.

It is the main issue, Prikhodko, an aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said Wednesday.

Issues such as energy security for Europe and international trouble spots will be discussed in the light of economic cooperation, he said.

Russia's gross domestic product fell 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008 and 23.2 percent compared to the first quarter a year ago, the Federal Statistics Service said. Inflation for consumers in Russia reached 6.6 percent from January until mid-May.

In the European Union, the GDP is predicted to fall 4 percent in 2009.

The European Union delegation to the Khabarovsk summit will be led by Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Russia will be represented by Medvedev and several cabinet members, the news agency reported.