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EU to reform ties with China, Russia, Brazil

By Xinhua

Lisbon : Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has said that during his six-month presidency of the European Union (EU) he will give priority to reform ties with China, Russia and Brazil.

Socrates Sunday said EU ties with China and Russia would be analysed in a meeting with the European Commission in Oporto.

Prior to assuming the EU presidency, Socrates visited Beijing and Moscow to prepare for the EU summits with Russia and China, scheduled in the second half of 2007.

Socrates said the EU-China summit in Beijing "is important for both parties", since there are a series of issues "demanding negotiation", such as the acknowledgement of China as a market economy.

In his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Socrates said "relations between the EU and Russia need mutual confidence" and cannot be contaminated by "irresponsible lessons" in democracy and human rights issues.

According to Portuguese officials, one of the fundamental issues on the EU-Brazil agenda is energy, since Brazil has placed its bets on biofuel production.