Mr Putin noted that Russia and the European Union have been making good progress in their work together on forming the four common spaces in the areas of the economy, justice, external security and science.
Work on the basic package of documents for the four spaces is 80–90-percent complete and the documents are due to be signed during the Russia-EU summit in May.
The formulation of some points and certain issues require the efforts of diplomats and specialists. This particularly concerns the common economic and external security spaces. Readmission and visa restriction issues also still remain to be settled before the summit takes place.
Work is very near completion on the documents regarding the internal security space and an agreement has already been reached on the humanitarian space.
During his talks with Mr Solana, Mr Putin raised the issue of the future of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The President said that Russia is in favour of preserving the OSCE, but that the scope of its activities should be broadened considerably. The OSCE has tended to focus its activities on certain problems in the post-Soviet area over recent years, giving little attention to the rest of Europe, and Russia has spoken out against this position on a number of occasions.
The OSCE’s financing is a matter that requires particular attention. Mr Putin spoke in favour of putting the organisation’s financial situation in order and increasing control over how its funds are spent.
Mr Putin gave a detailed report to Mr Solana on the situation in Chechnya and stressed that the state of affairs there is not a taboo subject for Russia.
Also discussed during the meeting were the situation in the Middle East, Moldova, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and the Iranian nuclear issue.