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Russia should join EU, Berlusconi says

Posted by smeddum on October 19, 2008

Posted : Wed, 15 Oct 2008 19:58:01 GMT Earthtimes Brussels –

Russia should be allowed to join the European Union in the coming years, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday. “I consider Russia to be a Western nation. So my project is that the Russian Federation should become a member of the EU in the coming years,” Berlusconi told Italian reporters on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.
Berlusconi’s comments on Russia’s EU aspirations were not new, but they nevertheless raised eyebrows in Brussels.
EU-Russian relations have sunk to a low since the August conflict in Georgia, and EU leaders have decided to freeze talks on a new cooperation agreement with Moscow.
Asked whether the time had come for the EU to normalize its relations with Moscow, Berlusconi said: “I would go beyond that.”
Berlusconi has frequently touted his close friendship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and Putin’s two daughters have been spotted in the past spending their summer holidays at Berlusconi’s villa in Sardinia.

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