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Europe

Background: The EU's "Strategic Deal" with Russia

Talks are underway for a new comprehensive partnership deal between Russia and the European Union, as the current agreement is over a decade old. But what does the original document stipulate?

EU and Russian flags

Some EU members have called for a halt to partnership talks with Russia

In 1997 the EU, which at that time had 15 members, signed a 10-year Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia under Boris Yeltsin.

The document still governs EU-Russia relations, as the two sides are currently negotiating a replacement. However, following Russia's acceptance Tuesday of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, some of the EU's current 27 members have called for talks on the new PCA to be frozen.

The EU's negotiating mandate for a new PCA calls on the bloc to push for a solution to the so-called "frozen conflicts" in Georgia and Moldova that respects those countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Plan for arbitration

The original PCA is a contract drawn up between the EU and Russia to govern their relationship in matters such as trade, investment, environmental protection, tourism, and cultural exchanges.

It also covers relations in fields such as the protection of intellectual property, regulation of import tariffs, and economic cooperation, especially in fields "designed to bring about economic and social reforms and restructuring in Russia."

The agreement created a system whereby the EU and Russia hold two summit meetings a year and maintain a permanent Cooperation Council on ministerial level to deal with ongoing issues.

It also sets up a system for dealing with disputes by means of arbitration and clears the way for either side to take "appropriate measures" if it feels the other side has broken the deal.

"In the selection of these measures, priority must be given to those which least disturb the functioning of the agreement," article 107 reads.

The full text of the PCA consists of 112 articles, 10 annexes, two additional protocols, 33 joint declarations, three unilateral declarations and two exchanges of letters -- some 60 pages of text.

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