As he took stock of the results of the Russia-EU summit meeting held in the Samara region, Vladimir Putin urged participants to refrain from aggravating tensions in Russia-EU relations, relations which will inevitably develop as a result of the countries’ economic interdependence. Many EU countries receive Russian energy resources. 52 percent of Russian exports go to the EU. The EU is the largest investor in the Russian economy. Russia ranks a solid third among the EU’s trading partners, after only China and the United States. Along with this, Russia holds the first place when measured according to the growth rates of trade cooperation with Europe. The Russian President noted that in 2006 the amount of Russia-EU trade grew by almost a third and that indicators from the first few months of 2007 suggest that this trend will continue.
Russia is ready to discuss problematic issues honestly and openly. Along with this, the President of Russia called on his European colleagues to devote the same amount of attention to events in various parts of the world as they devote to the human rights situation in Russia or the murders of Anna Politkovskaia and Litvinenko. Vladimir Putin mentioned, in particular, the EU’s lack of reaction to the murder of a demonstrator during recent events in Tallinn linked to the relocation of the Soldier Liberator monument. The President declared that, however, unlike Europe, Russia does not use such events to question the viability of developing strategic relations with the EU.
Along with this Vladimir Putin declared that Russia understands the internal difficulties in the EU arising from EU enlargement. The European Union has changed: it now has more members and therefore it has become harder to resolve certain issues within the EU than it was before. Nevertheless, Russia must defend its interests just as professionally as the EU leadership does. Russia expects that both sides will find acceptable compromises during the dialogue. The present summit will support this process, Vladimir Putin declared.