Opening the meeting in the ceremonial hall of Weimar’s town palace, Mr Putin emphasised that Russia’s and Germany’s desire for strategic partnership could be traced in the development of trade and economic ties and inter-regional contacts and was also felt in the growth of cultural exchanges. In the year since the previous meeting, substantial progress had been made in a number of key areas, he noted.
Speaking of new elements in the present consultations, Mr Putin underscored that the task group on strategic matters had been given a new status. Now, he said, it would function on a permanent basis.
Security and stability in Europe and the world were the most important conditions for the dynamic development of relations between Russia and Germany, the President said. He said he was sure these relations were impossible to visualise outside the context of Moscow’s ties with the European Union.