The President and the Chancellor discussed the status and development prospects of Russia-Austria relations, topical international and regional problems, and Austria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2018.
After the talks the two heads of state witnessed the signing by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and OMV CEO Rainer Seele of a basic agreement on assets sales.
Vladimir Putin and Sebastian Kurz gave a joint news conference.
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Beginning of talks with Federal Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Federal Chancellor, colleagues,
I am delighted to welcome you – this time in Russia, in St Petersburg. The wonderful event, the opening of a joint exhibition by two leading museums in Russia and Austria, gave us a great opportunity to meet once again and to talk not only about art but also about the development of our bilateral ties.
These relations are developing well. Trade is growing. Last year it grew by 40 percent and this year it doubled over the first semester.
The capital investment on both sides is increasing. Russia is actively investing in the Austrian economy. I do not have the exact figures but I think Austria has accumulated over $30 billion in Russian investments.
We are pursuing large projects, but not only in the energy sector but in other spheres as well.
I am glad to have this opportunity to meet with you, Mr Federal Chancellor, and to go over all these subjects, including, of course, international aspects and our relations with the European Union as Austria is now holding the presidency of the EU; to exchange opinions on key matters, most sensitive topics that are drawing our attention in the world.
Federal Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz (retranslated): Mr President,
I have the honour to thank you for this invitation to St Petersburg with all my heart. It is a great joy for me to be here, at the exhibition opening in St Petersburg.
Cultural exchange is not the only important aspect of our relations. We are pleased to see the positive development of our economic cooperation. I am happy with the fact that we are cooperating very well in the energy industry.
Since Austria is currently presiding in the Council of Europe, we also find it important to talk about Russia-EU relations. As you said, today we will speak about some challenging problems such as the situation in Ukraine and Syria. But we hope that in this dialogue we will be able to find an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation as it must be in our interests that the world lives in peace.
I am really delighted to have this opportunity to discuss these and other topics with you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.