Hooray – it’s EU summit time again – this year we’re off to Portugal!
As usual, the summit begins amongst tensions between the two European powerhouses (but, then again, if there were no tensions, there would be no point in holding a summit, I suppose…).
Top of the agenda for the Europeans from the West will be energy security and human rights (not only are rights organisations shouting loudly this week about Russian rights abuses, but Maria Litvinenko has published an article in UK newspaper the Telegraph arguing that EU leaders should refuse to sit down with Putin and that, for good measure, Russia should be kicked out of the G8 as well).
The Europeans from the East, on the other hand, will want to talk about how they can become members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Poland will be a key talking point here – Russia’s relations with Poland are tense and the Kremlin is concerned about the veto that Poland wields within the EU.
Finally, the future status of Kosovo will be on the agenda, but I suspect that both sides will wish it wasn’t.
More later, as we begin to hear what comes out of Portugal. Hopefully there will be at least a modicum of good news – officials on both sides are being described as “cautiously optimistic”.