Activities 2010 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

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Activities 2010 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

ACTIVITIES 2009

V. JOINT – MEETING RUSSIA – EUROPE: WHAT DOES RUSSIA

EXPECT FROM EUROPE?

Bureaucracy, Destabilising Waves and Visa Hurdles

At the conference in Schloss Leopoldskron from May 26-28 2010, the Russian Academy

of Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts discussed the possibilities

for closer collaboration and improved partnership.

Curiosity was for sure one of the chief motivating factors behind the holding of this conference:

curiosity about what today’s Russia is thinking, is feeling, is planning – in short: how

this gigantic European neighbour in the east actually ticks. So, Felix Unger, President of

the European Academy of Science and Arts, travelled to Moscow and discussed this with

the grandees of the Russian Academy of Science – and from this was born the idea of holding

a double conference dealing in depth with the European-Russian relationship. Part

one at the end of May 2010 in Salzburg: "What does Russia expect from Europe?", with

the continuation the following year in Moscow: "What does Europe expect from Russia?".

The Salzburg conference in Schloss Leopoldskron got underway with a welcome speech

from Provincial Governor, Gabi Burgstaller, the Vice-President of the Russian Academy of

Sciences, Alexander Andreev, the President of the Russian Academy of Arts, Zurab

Tsereteli. The Russian Minister for Culture, Alexander Avdeev has been introduced into the

circle of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. Avdeev was subsequently also the

conference’s keynote speaker and set the tone for the two day intellectual discourse,

which was by no means always harmonious and melodious. "To envision Europe without

Russia, as some Europeans do, this irritates us, it amazes us, it annoys us. Russian civilisation

belongs to the Christian world - the European Union and Russia are both parts of a

greater Europe", declared the Minister.

NO INTEREST IN JOINING THE EU

Indeed Avdeev did not avoid the fact that there are, of course, also differences between

Russians and (western) Europeans. He himself, he recounted, in his days as a young diplomat

was a member of a working group that the then Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrej

Gromyko, had organised in order to elaborate the differences between east and west,

above all those with a basis in history and religion, for example the rivalry between Rome

and Byzantium, the marriage politics of the Czars, the late recognition of private property

and the long adherence to despotic rule in Russia and the complete isolation from Europe

during the decades of Soviet communist rule. That is now in the past. Today, according to

Avdeev, Moscow is seeking a close partnership with Europe with regard to commerce,

legal and security issues and culture. Russia, however, has no interest whatsoever in joining

the European Union. This is because "Russia is not prepared to relinquish to a higher

power its sovereignty and its rights of control over the raw materials within its own borders".

In addition, Avdeev criticised the marked increase in bureaucracy within the EU.

Russia also sees itself confronted with this problem but "with EU bureaucracy, Europe is

definitely not providing us with a good example to follow".

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