President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening.
By tradition, we get together before the New Year. This time we are meeting in such a beautiful setting, I would say, a regal interior. And that is as it should be, because we wanted to create a good and positive atmosphere for you, which could at the same time get you geared towards a positive joint result in our work.
As you know, the overall economic situation is satisfactory. The macroeconomic situation has remained stable, and inflation and unemployment are low. The national currency exchange rate is also stable. In general, all these are very good prerequisites for achieving great results that could be demonstrated on this basis.
We have retained a favourable dynamic in the growth of the GDP, but, of course, we cannot be satisfied with our growth rates. We understand what needs to be done; we are trying to implement our plans to create the necessary conditions for building up our efforts to improve the growth rates, and we are working on the business climate. You know it very well, too. In fact, we are doing this together. We are active in implementing our plans regarding the so-called regulatory guillotine. Hopefully, we will approach the solutions to these issues by the end of the year.
It is always important for us to hear your opinion about how we performed over the past year as government authorities, and what, in your view, is regarded as positive factors in order to increase investments. We need to increase them in the near future to 25 and then to 27 percent. Indeed, it is an absolutely achievable indicator, given that we have over 21 percent at present. Therefore, 25 percent is an absolutely attainable result.
We know that there are unresolved issues as well. I have just spoken with my colleagues from the Government, from the regions and public organisations on these issues. We discussed in detail what has been done in carrying out national projects.
I do realise that this is not a production meeting. We did not arrange our work this way previously. After all, the main goal was to meet with you and wish you a happy New Year and thank you for our joint work. Nevertheless, it is important to hear your comments regarding the results of our joint work in the past year.
So let us proceed as usual: I will give you the floor, you will speak in this magnificent and formal setting and then we will pass to the adjoining room and continue informally, without the media and the cameras… It is always relaxing and gives you the opportunity to speak frankly. It will have to be brief but we will talk about the main results of the outgoing year.
Thank you very much.