The EU and Russia don't find it easy to live together - but as victims of their geography and history, they know they have little choice.

So the outcome of last week's EU-Russia Summit in Moscow can be seen as a useful further step towards understanding.

The bilateral deal on the terms of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation could give a boost to trade and investment levels between the EU and Russia. And by binding Russia to some clear rules, it could also reduce the underlying uncertainties that have dogged commercial relations with the EU for so long.

Coming just days after the EU's Eastern enlargement, and just weeks before the EU's New Neighbours policy is due to move into a higher gear, this clearing the decks may have created the conditions for developing relations in a genuinely strategic sense.

And the strenuous negotiating efforts over recent weeks and months could pay dividends over and above the deals now secured, if it develops an enduring sense of 'negotiating culture'. As EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy remarked in Moscow: "This sort of negotiation is a long-term investment in people, which at the end of the day is what matters".

But there is...

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