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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Regarding our contacts with Europe, I want to stress the point that Russia’s interest is in seeing Europe recover as fast as possible.
There are still some unresolved issues, some of them matters we were discussing when you were still President [of the European Commission]. I think that both Russia and the European Union would benefit from liberalising the contacts between our citizens. Then there is also the question of Russian-Italian relations.
We see the far from simple developments taking place in Italy. I will not go into all the details now, but one thing I do want to say is that I see that whether here in Russia, or in Italy, no matter what the domestic political developments, everyone in both countries agree that we should keep developing our bilateral relations, and this is very good to see.
Romano Prodi (translated from Russian): Yes, this is without question. You know that Mr Berlusconi and I don’t get on particularly well, but on the question of Russia we never had any disagreements. You can be absolutely reassured on this point. I don’t see any problems here.
The question that we do face is how to build a system of mutually complementary interests in the new global energy landscape. This is a serious issue for you too, because all of the parameters are changing now.
Of course Russia needs oil prices to stay above $90 a barrel, because we know that if the price falls below $80 an oil exporter faces a loss of sovereignty.