BRUSSELS, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the European Union have complex relations that are dominated by energy issues, a high-ranking EU official said.
"We certainly have a complex and at times difficult relationship... On the economic front our relationship is dominated by energy," EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Benita Ferrero Waldner said at American Chamber of Commerce's Plenary meeting in Brussels.
"Just under 40% of the EU's gas imports rely on one monopoly alone: Gazprom. But Russia is equally dependent on us: over 60% of Russian oil and gas exports flow to the EU and Russia's pipelines are largely directed towards us," she said.
The commissioner said there are still opportunities for the mutual benefit for both Russia and the EU.
"The Russian oil and gas sector badly needs more investment all the way along the production chain, and international investors are keen to invest," Waldner said.
However, he said Moscow's intention to join the World Trade Organization with Kazakhstan and Belarus at the same time and on equal terms as members of a customs union might cause a delay in Russia's future membership in the WTO.
"WTO membership would facilitate our relations, but the recent decision to seek membership as part of a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus could cause delay," she said.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed in early June to form a customs union and seek joint accession to the WTO. Unified Customs regulations are due to come into effect at the start of 2010.
Russia is the world's only major economy outside the WTO. President Dmitry Medvedev recently blamed Washington for blocking its accession to the global trade body.