President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to make a statement on the outcome of the meeting with Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker. I would like to share the results with you.
First of all, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is our long-time and most reliable partner, and today we began our talks by noting that diplomatic relations between our countries were established 75 years ago, although extensive contacts go back even further.
A long time ago Russia was involved in convening the London International Conference on the Luxembourg issue. Over the years our relationship became not only sustainable, but also truly friendly.
Today, these relations are rapidly developing. We conduct regular political dialogue, we meet and communicate. It is equally important that our business partnership is evolving, because relationships always develop well if they have a sound pragmatic foundation.
The total volume of Luxembourg’s accumulated investments in our economy is $36.5 billion by virtue of certain advantages Luxembourg has as a financial centre: that is almost 14 percent of all capital investments. The volume of our investments at the moment is about $1 billion, but we hope that it will grow.
Mr Prime Minister and I exchanged information about how our economies are recovering from the crisis and noted the need to strengthen our ties. The Prime Minister presented me with a special memorandum on various aspects of cooperation between our economies. Of course, we will carefully examine the memorandum and its various cooperation proposals.
There are several fields where we already have very strong ties. This is primarily the metals and mining industry, as well as timber processing, pipe rolling, construction materials and titanium products manufacture. In general, there are good prospects, and what inspires me most is prospects of high technology cooperation.
We will continue our dialogue, and there is still a very important segment of our relations to discuss: humanitarian relations, and the relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union. Of course, we care a great deal about the future of these relations, given that the EU is a very important partner.
I have already told Mr Prime Minister that a key area and perhaps one the most important ones for us is the visa issue. We look forward to Luxembourg's support of our position, although, of course, we are aware of the difficulties that exist in this process.
We will continue to discuss issues of bilateral relations and relations with the EU, including the implementation of such initiatives as Partnership for Modernisation and cooperation on security issues. Incidentally, I would like to thank Mr Prime Minister once again for his prompt response to our initiative on the European Security Treaty.
I would like to add that it is always a pleasure to communicate with our partners from Luxembourg and Mr Juncker, because we have a friendly connection. This meeting is no exception. I would therefore like to reiterate its importance and the prospects that are opening for the development of relations between our countries. In particular, we agreed to intensify financial ties, but perhaps Mr Prime Minister will tell you more about it.
Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker (retranslated): Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I came here to Sochi as a Luxembourger, as a European, but first of all I came as Russia’s friend.
Bilateral relations between the huge Russia and the small Luxembourg have been developing beautifully. They have always been like this, and the day after tomorrow we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between our countries.
A little historical digression: even before that, in the 19th century, Russia represented Luxembourg’s interests in the countries where we did not have embassies, and since at the time we had no embassies anywhere, Russia represented us the world over.
I want to note also Russia’s participation in the liberation of my country in 1945. After this historical tragedy, Russia and the Russian people have a special place in the hearts of Luxembourgers. I want to mention this again today, because we still remember the tragedy faced by our fathers and in which many of them lost their lives.
We talked today about the opportunities that Luxembourg has to contribute to the modernisation of our countries. The idea about the need to modernise your country, which has been so actively promoted in recent years by the Russian President, has attracted my attention.
Undoubtedly, Russia needs modernisation, but so do other European states, including Luxembourg. We have an equally strong need to be able to go into the orbit of the future.
Luxembourg is a major financial centre. We believe in cooperation between Luxembourg’s and Moscow’s financial centres, because Moscow will play a very important role in the future.
Russian businesses regularly and actively use the services of the Luxembourg financial centre for their international transactions and we would like to see our financial capabilities and our financial know-how make it possible for Russian entrepreneurs to go further in creating a strong international presence.
I would also like to note that the Luxembourg financial centre is not a pump that siphons money out of Russia. On the contrary, together with Russian companies it ensures financing of and investment in the Russian economy. Thus, it is mutually beneficial cooperation.
We would like to boost our cooperation in the sphere of ferrous metals. Luxembourg is an old metals power, and our experience and knowledge could serve both countries.
I am aware of the importance President Medvedev attributes to the development of automotive industry. Luxembourg has a number of companies that supply automobile parts, and in this sector we are also open to cooperation.
We are ready to promote cooperation in the field of information security and the development of future technologies. At the same time our economic ties will become more comprehensive. That is why we attach great importance to the drafting of a double taxation agreement between our countries, which will increase investment in both directions.
I am the president of the Eurogroup, that is of 16 euro-zone countries. We discussed many economic and financial problems today, as has already been said. I want to say that I have always been and remain convinced that Russia is a strategic partner for the European Union.
Long-term success of the European Union is possible only on condition of Russia’s long-term success. Our destinies are intertwined. We are responsible for the happiness of those whom we believe that we rule, and therefore, cooperation between Russia and the EU should be as close as possible, including, of course, cooperation on security.
European security architecture is impossible without Russia, which increases our reasons for continuing the dialogue on bilateral cooperation between Russia and Luxembourg, and Russia and the European Union. I think that an early decision on scrapping visas is becoming necessary, since we have dragged it out for too long.