President of Russia Vladimir Putin: The Russian-Italian forum originated a decade ago. At the time, it was created as a platform for representatives from a wide range of areas to meet and work together. And this year, the forum was exactly as we had envisioned it. Rome hosted a meeting of political experts and a meeting of media representatives, and now, we have representatives from 150 Russian and Italian companies gathered in this hall.
I am very pleased to note that our Italian friends, in spite of all the problems – of which, of course, there are many – are handling well the difficult situation in the European and global economy. Indeed, I fully agree with Prime Minister Enrico Letta that Italy has been able to maintain its status as one of the European Union’s industrial leaders. We not only see this, but also feel it, know it, and understand it. That is precisely what makes Italy so attractive for Russia in terms of contacts with Europe overall; it makes our Italian partners attractive for us in terms of resolving our own challenges in developing the economy – first and foremost, its modernisation.
We are pleased that Italian funds and our Italian partners are getting involved in a wide range of business areas, including high-tech ones: mechanical engineering, space, aviation, and shipbuilding. All these are very appealing and important sectors for any nation, and for ours in particular.
I would like to thank everyone present in this hall – everyone who stands behind us – for your joint, effective work, and I would like to wish you success and express my hope that all your plans will come to fruition. We in the Russian Government, in Russia’s Presidential Executive Office and, I am certain, in the Italian Government as well, will do everything we can to support you.
I wish you success. Thank you very much.