The meeting took place on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Madam President, dear Tarja,
I am very happy to meet again at our forum in St Petersburg. We just had a discussion, in my opinion a very interesting one, about the economic situation in the EU, in individual countries. In any case, I think we are of the same opinion that in order to achieve good results we must cooperate with and help each other.
Russian-Finnish relations are currently very good and we would like them to remain so in the future. We would like them to develop so that they are replete with new contracts, agreements, cooperation in the cultural and educational spheres, and in general for them to be full-fledged, as relations between neighbours should be.
We plan to work in this vein. I would like to say a special thanks once again for coming to St Petersburg to our forum.
(In Finnish.) Thank you.
President of Finland Tarja Halonen (in Russian): Thank you.
(re-translated.) Regarding Russian-Finnish relations we really can say: ”They are all right.“ But at the same time we must remember that even a good relationship will not last long if we do not cultivate it.
And no matter how good the current presidents are, it is very important to make sure that the next generation of leaders, those who come after us, also find many propitious areas for cooperation. The Economic Forum in St Petersburg represents a great opportunity for networking. I hope that in the future we will create other such forums, other settings for enhanced cooperation.
Official meetings between the European Union and Russia, between Finland and Russia are very important events. But no less important are those such as, for example, the Baltic Sea [Action] Summit, and in general our cooperation in the Baltic Sea.
Cooperation between our countries' border regions is extremely important. And with a view to expanding this cooperation, I can assure you that we are working not only with you, dear Dmitry: last year, Finland issued 960,000 visas to Russian citizens, of which eighty percent were multiple entry visas. This year the number of visas granted by Finland increased by 30 percent compared with the similar period last year: the Finns and Russians are visiting each other very assiduously.
I hope that the promising ideas that were put forward during this Forum will be developed and further worked out.