The first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country now holds the EU presidency, took place during a working dinner in one of the restaurants in the Volzhsky Utyos sanatorium along the picturesque banks of the Volga.
Vladimir Putin told the German Chancellor and President of the European Commission about the signing of the Act on Canonical Communion of the churches, and emphasised how important this event is for Russia. In this context, Angela Merkel and Jose Manuel Barroso asked about religious life in the Volga region and Vladimir Putin answered in detail, remarking on the many religions in the region.
The President of Russia also told his guests about the results of his recent visits to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. He described the documents that were signed during this trip as a “good news” for Europe and Germany, since these documents will result in European countries receiving more energy resources.
Vladimir Putin and the European leaders also touched on the issue of the World Trade Organization, including Russia's accession to the WTO. Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia’s desire to complete the process of joining the WTO without further delay. Along with this he noted that Russia is not demanding any privileges; Russia simply does not want to face any discriminatory conditions.
Signing a new partnership and cooperation treaty between Russia and the EU (the existing agreement expires in December 2007) was extensively discussed during the informal meeting. The parties stressed that signing this document is absolutely necessary for future Russia-EU relations. They discussed various ways to resolve the problem of the Polish veto.
They also discussed other issues, including a wide range of historical and international legal ones, and, in particular, Russia and EU leaders exchanged opinions on Kosovo in light of the issue of setting a precedent.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov took part in the discussion as did the Special Presidential Representative for Developing Relations with the European Union Sergei Yastrzhembsky.