The two leaders closely studied the G8 summit agenda. Mr Berlusconi raised the issue of Russia’s deeper involvement in the processes of European integration. He pointed to the growing role of cooperation between Russia and the European Union in shaping the future image of the continent.
Putin and Berlusconi also discussed current aspects of bilateral Russian-Italian cooperation, especially in the economic field. They expressed satisfaction with the latest trade figures, which have exceeded the pre-crisis level of 1998, rising from $6.3 billion to $9.9 billion. The two leaders also highlighted progress in a number of major strategic projects, notably Blue Stream, which is being implemented by Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s Eni, with long-term Italian investments.
The two leaders agreed that there was an untapped potential for boosting trade and investment. Currently, Italy is the seventh largest foreign investor in Russia.
Messrs Putin and Berlusconi examined possibilities for expanding banking cooperation and implementing joint hi-tech projects, such as one to develop a Yak/AEM-130 jet trainer aircraft.
Mr Putin invited his Italian counterpart to visit Moscow. He welcomed Berlusconi’s idea to come concurrently with a delegation of Italian businesspeople.