21 European External Action Service, “EU-Russia Cooperation Programme”: eeas.europa.eu/ delegations/russia/eu_russia/tech_financial_cooperation/index_en.htm [called 2 February 2015] Back The legal basis for EU-Russia relations is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The PCA signed in June 1994 and in force since December 1997 should be valid for ten years. Thus, since 2007, it is automatically renewed until it is replaced by a new agreement.  The PCA provides a political, economic and cultural framework for Relations between Russia and the EU. Above all, it is a question of promoting trade, investment and harmonious economic relations. However, it also mentions “common respect for democratic principles and human rights as defined in particular in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe” and a commitment to international peace and security.   A replacement agreement has been under negotiation since 2008 and a more detailed agreement will be negotiated after this accession and after accession to the WTO. On the eve of the 2013 Vilnius summit between the EU and its eastern neighbours, there was “raw geopolitical competition” that has not existed in Europe since the end of the Cold War, when Russia tried to convince the countries of its “near country” to join its new Eurasian economic union instead of signing association agreements with the EU.  The Russian government led by President Putin managed to convince Armenia (in September) and Ukraine (in November) to end talks with the EU and start negotiations with Russia.
 Nevertheless, the EU summit continued, with Moldova and Georgia committing to conclude agreements with the EU, despite Russia`s opposition.  Widespread protests in Ukraine led then-President Viktor Yanukovych to leave Ukraine in February 2014 in a major Russian city. Russia then began a military intervention in Ukraine. This action was condemned as an invasion of the European Union, which imposed visa bans and asset freezes on some Russian officials.  The Council of the European Union stated that “Russia`s violation of international law and destabilization … To challenge the European security order in its essence.  A February 2014 poll by the Levada Center, Russia`s largest independent opinion organization, found that nearly 80 percent of Russian respondents had a “good” impression of the EU.