Mr Putin and Mr Berlusconi discussed cultural partnership in talks that lasted close on three hours.
They then addressed a news conference.
Mr Putin said that simplified visa issuing procedures would promote Russian-Italian youth exchanges.
Mr Berlusconi proposed to establish a joint foundation for youth exchanges—an initiative the Russian President considered very important.
He thanked the Italian Prime Minister for the sincerity expressed in his “extremely relevant” initiative. Even if some people might say it was premature, it would have an impact on Russia’s relations with Europe.
Mr Putin said that visa issues demanded unhurried and careful steps. At present, the simplified procedure should concern only students, scientists, businessmen, officials and, possibly, certain organisations for disabled people.
Journalists’ questions concerned bilateral relations, Russia-EU cultural partnership, the Iraqi situation and some other topics.
Mr Putin said that it was impossible to halt the escalating violence in Iraq without United Nations participation.
He stressed the progress of Russian-Italian military-technical cooperation. The two countries had together designed the Yak-130, a very good aircraft, and Russian warships were presently moored near the Sardinian coast on a scheduled visit. The Russian and Italian navies were planning a joint Mediterranean exercise for 2004 involving ships and submarines, the President said.