The meeting discussed current issues concerning Russia’s relations with the Council of Europe.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Secretary General, friends, good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to see you.
Since Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, we have adopted into our law 56 Council of Europe legal acts, and we are currently working on another 20.
Russia is one the five biggest contributors to the Council of Europe’s budget. We are fulfilling all of our obligations and will continue to do so.
We know that your proposals aim to make the Council of Europe more active in its work. Proposals have been made to give greater attention to youth exchanges and anti-corruption work, relying and basing ourselves on Europe’s traditional humanitarian values, and we give all of these initiatives our support.
I hope that you had constructive and fruitful talks with our Foreign Ministry.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland: Mr President, it’s a great honour for me to meet with you. It’s a great pleasure to be here in Sochi. I’ve been around yesterday in all the Olympic arenas and I must say, they are very, very impressive and spectacular. I am convinced that it will be great success for Russia and for the Olympic family. I remember when my own country had the Olympics in 1994. It was, of course, an important event for us, in particular when the President of the Olympic Committee said that it was the best Olympics ever. I think this will be said about the Olympics here also.
Vladimir Putin: In 1994, I was in Lillehammer too.
Thorbjorn Jagland: Being a sportsman myself, when I looked at the ski jump – I was a ski jumper when I was young – I wished I was 40 years younger.
Actually, my grandfather was a judge when we had the Olympics in 1952 in Oslo, during the ski jump competition, so I’m coming from a sports family. So I’m very much looking forward to the Sochi Olympics.
I’m very grateful for this opportunity to meet with you and Foreign Minister Lavrov. The Russian Federation is a very important member of the Council of Europe, contributing a lot, not only in terms of funding but also in terms of political input. And we have shared the same goal: greater unity for Europe and to establish one single legal space for the whole of Europe, including the European Union, which we have made some progress on also, to get the EU as a legal subject under the same standards and the same courts as all the other 47 countries. And I do hope, it is my clear opinion, that we also should include Belarus in all the panels as soon as possible.
We have discussed a number of issues earlier today. So all in all, I’m very glad to be here, I’m very satisfied with our contacts and your excellent hospitality.