Ahto Lobjakas, RFE/RL
BRUSSELS -- Today's summit between the European Union and Russia is the first of the new decade for Moscow and Brussels.
The gathering, in the southern Russian city of Rostov-na-Donu, also appears to mark a turning point in relations between the two sides.
The tensions that characterized the summits of the mid-2000s -- at a time when the EU was taking in 10 former Soviet-bloc nations -- have dissipated. So has the torpor that set in toward the end of the decade, as the EU bogged down in internal constitutional disputes and Russia, riding a global energy boom, lost interest in upgrading its relations with the bloc.
"The mood music is very different this time around," says Andrew Wilson, a senior analyst with the London-based European Council on Foreign Relations. Wilson says the seeds for change were sown at the last EU summit in Stockholm in November 2009.
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EU-Russia Summit To Steer Forward Course, Without Rocking The Boat