While trade between the EU and Russia is currently at an all time high it is no longer possible to paper over the fast developing cracks in their relationship. The bi-annual summit, which takes place between Heads of Government, was dominated by Russia's relations with new Member States. Currently Moscow has imposed a ban on imports of Polish meat, in reply to which Poland states that it will veto any new EU-Russian partnership deal. An argument with Estonia over the removal of a Soviet war memorial has lead to accusations of cyber terrorism on Moscow's part. The detention of Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion turned dissident, at Moscow airport on the way to the summit also added a sour note to proceedings. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president was reported to at times look visibly harassed.

Any possible healing of the rift between Russia and the EU is complicated by eastern Europeans' suspicions of Germany, the current holder of the EU presidency, creating a deal with Russia over their heads. The 10 central European and Balkan states, which gained EU membership in 2004, are all former Soviet satellites, and memories of Soviet rule are still fresh in people's minds.

Although both sides have claimed that they have made progress on non-controversial issues many commentators have seen the summit as a failure which ended with the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso stating that any Russian action against one EU Member State would be interpreted as action against the whole of the EU.