Taking part in the meeting with Russian and EU business community leaders were Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, and Javier Solana, secretary general of the EU Council and EU high representative for the common foreign and security policy.
The meeting between Mr Putin, the European Union leadership and the business leaders took place behind closed doors just before the start of the Russia-European Union summit.
The Russia-EU Business Cooperation Council was created in October 2005 and brings together the Russian and EU business leaders most interested in developing economic relations between Russia and the EU.
The Business Cooperation Council acts as a coordinator for practical action to develop new forms and vectors for cooperation between Russian and European businesspeople.
The Council has set the objective of ensuring that the business community plays an active part in work to draft a new basic agreement between Russia and the European Union to replace the current partnership and cooperation agreement that expires in 2007.
The Council is also responsible for coordinating work by industry and business associations to implement the project for creating a common economic space between Russia and the EU and advancing major forward-looking projects that can have a considerable impact on the structure and level of economic relations between Russia and the European Union.
Projects of this kind include cooperation in the energy sector, joint operation of satellite communications and navigation systems and the formation of mechanisms for cooperating in sectors such as aviation, car making, metals production, energy and machine building.
The Business Cooperation Council is a ‘union of equals’ and has no strong link to any one organisation. The principles on which the Council is formed enable it to expand and involve interested parties in its work.
The Council is co-chaired by Anatoly Chubais, chairman of the board of RAO Unified Energy Systems, for Russia, and by Jukka Harmala, head of Finnish company Stora Enso, for Finland.