Question: What are the most important results of this visit? How can you compare the level of the present Russian-German relations with those two years ago?
Vladimir Putin: I think we can sum up the results now. I can say that everything we planned, all our objectives have been fulfilled.
I would like to repeat something I said at a meeting with businessmen in Dusseldorf yesterday: I would like to thank the Chancellor for the position he adopted a year and a half ago. I think you understand what I’m talking about…the public opinion wasn’t as kind to Russia as it is today. But the Chancellor could keep and clearly denote the positive way of intergovernmental relations.
I have to say that the efforts of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and our British colleague Tony Blair made the West Russia’s reliable ally in the fight against international terrorism.
Besides, we are aware that there is a slight decline in the world economy. We hope that this will not lead to serious consequences. Russia’s economy, nevertheless, is experiencing a rise. We don’t want to exaggerate, but the cooperation with Germany, which is actively developing in this situation, can have a positive effect on both Russian and German economies. Russia’s trading volume is 41.5 billion Deutschmarks. It can go up to 45 billion this year, and this is significant growth.
And I would like to add one more thing. You all know about Gazprom’s plans to expand cooperation with its German partners. This guarantees energy supplies from Russia not only to Germany, but through it to all of Europe.
We have also defined the direction of bilateral cooperation, which is very important, specifically in high-tech spheres. Today, we talked to the Chancellor about space and aircraft engineering cooperation.