Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues and guests,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to St Petersburg.
We are happy to see all of you, but I would like to give a special greeting to the Prime Minister of Luxembourg [Jean-Claude Juncker]. It was his idea for all of us to gather here in this format. You may remember that I had the honour of attending the EU summit in Stockholm [March 23, 2001]. And at the end of our discussion our Luxemburg colleague surprised us by saying something that was very pleasant for Russia. He said that many people welcomed what was happening in the country, so why not come to St Petersburg for the approaching 300th anniversary of the foundation of Russia’s northern capital and show the flags of Europe? That gave us the idea to hold the summit in such an unusual expanded format.
I must say that our esteemed colleague from Luxembourg not only came up with the splendid idea of gathering in this format, but in fact initiated the reconstruction of this wonderful palace, which I am sure will be the pride not only of Russia but of the whole Europe. This palace was conceived and built by Peter the Great, the founder of St Petersburg. But unfortunately it fell into disrepair during Soviet times. And yet it is an architectural landmark, an outstanding work of Russian and European architecture.
Our experts spent a little over a year repairing it. I think that it is a good result in terms of quality and speed. I hope the venue will be useful both for Russia and Europe for holding events that are relevant to the whole continent. For our part we are open and offer this as a venue for major international and European forums.
Now allow me to move on to our work and once again welcome you to the rebuilt Constantine Palace. We are grateful to the heads of the European Union countries and the Chairman of the European Commission for sharing Russia’s pride in connection with the 300th anniversary of the northern capital. I would like to note the presence here of the leaders of the ten European Union accession countries, the future members of the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between Russia and the EU.
I see special symbolism in the fact that this Russia-EU summit in an unusually expanded format is taking place in St Petersburg. The brilliant history of the city and its life over the three centuries have been inseparably linked with the history of Europe. The city on the Neva River embodies the continuity between the choice Russia made in those distant times in favour of deep and diversified interaction with Europe based on shared values and roots. Our meeting offers an excellent opportunity for enriching the trusting dialogue, taking it to a new level, and deepening the partnership between Russia and the EU for the benefit of a united Europe.
The unique format of this summit makes it necessary for us to rise above the current issues, however important they may be, and take a broader look at our interaction and together outline the shape of our relations and the general course of their development in the longer term. This is particularly important in light of the truly historic processes taking place on the continent, which are dramatically changing the entire European framework.
We see the upcoming enlargement of the European Union as a logical result of the sovereign expression of the will of the peoples of the current and future EU member countries. Russia respects that choice. At the same time prosperity, stability, security and integration cannot and must not be achieved at anyone’s expense.
We are all interested in seeing the European Union expand in a way that does not impede, but rather multiplies the historical links between Russia and European countries, including those that are joining the EU, and with the European Union as a whole. The admission of new EU members creates objective prerequisites for the expansion and qualitative development of Russia’s cooperation with the European Union and its new members. In order to make full use of the opportunities that are opening up, we should together do some constructive work in order to minimise the costs of expansion. We have discussed this at length, and the danger of such costs exists.
Let us exert our best efforts to solve all the problems that arise in the time remaining before May 2004 to prevent a “legal vacuum” in relations between Russia and the expanding European Union. Success in this field will aid the subsequent step of extending our Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) to include the new members of the European Union.
I am sure that many of the heads of state and government of the future EU members will agree with me that their countries have long-standing bonds of cooperation and interaction with Russia. Many of these bonds have to do with the economies of our countries, and the EU procedures that will be applied to the new members must not disrupt the links that had been forged over the decades; all the more so because accession into the European Union does not automatically imply accession to the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation. It will have to be done with regard to the new EU members. We assume that such decisions will be taken after existing problems and issues, including humanitarian ones, have been settled.
The analysis of our interaction vindicates the course chosen by Russia and the EU towards building a strategic partnership, broadening the spectrum of challenges being tackled through common efforts in the interests of all the peoples and nations of Europe.. Proof of this is our joint work on the concept of the common European economic space, the growing energy dialogue between Russia and the EU, and the increased interaction between internal affairs and justice agencies within the framework of the European security and defence policy. These are positive things that we should welcome and build upon.
One has to admit, however, that our success has not been uniform in all the areas of deepening cooperation between Russia and the European Union, some of which directly affect the interests of ordinary citizens in our countries. We should all be worried – we have said it many times and I will say it again today – we are worried that some of these problems have been with us for years. They are not likely to go away and they are becoming worse and worse.
This is not the first time we have raised such issues as the regulation of the trade in nuclear materials, anti-dumping and quota restrictions, mutual access to the markets of some goods and services, unwarranted export subsidies, for example, of farm produce, “the energy stalemate” in the talks on Russia’s accession into the WTO, the “stalled” discussion of the cargo transit to Kaliningrad and a number of other problems. I think we have reached a point when it is hard to move forward leaving behind these outstanding issues, and ignoring the legitimate concerns on which the quality of life of millions of people depends. I suggest that we take stock of all these issues (for example, in the format including the Russian Prime Minister and the top officials of the European Commission) and develop a programme for their early settlement by the time of the next summit.
I have mentioned the problems, but there is much that has been accomplished. We should not forget it, and we do remember it. For example, while I have mentioned the problem of the cargo transit to the Kaliningrad Region, I know that many of those present have done a great deal to solve the problem of the movement of people, above all the problem of passenger transit. I appreciate the cooperation of the many heads of state and government and I am grateful to our Lithuanian partners. That is just one issue, but there are many more.
Obviously, the existence of “log jams” in some areas of our interaction owes much to the shortcomings of the current mechanisms of cooperation between Russia and the EU. These bodies and structures were formed at the dawn of our close interaction and have since failed to keep up with the times. We are gratified to note the similarity of our approaches to this issue, and we are interested in the proposal to hold the sessions of the Russia-EU Cooperation Council several times a year at the level of industrial ministries and regular consultations of experts involving Russia, all the EU countries and the European Commission. That would streamline the mechanism of cooperation, make it more transparent and understandable for each of the parties, would enable the regular Russia-EU enlarged summits to focus on truly key issues of bilateral interaction.
While on this topic I have to raise the issue of strict compliance with the decisions taken at the summit on a political level. I regret to say that there are many instances when the executors of decisions taken at the political level interpret them very loosely. I don’t think pointing fingers would be appropriate, but my point is that the arbitrary actions of officials cause some damage to our interaction and undermine the authority of this forum.
I would like to mention a fundamental problem that directly affects the interests and aspirations of the ordinary citizens of our countries, for whose sake we are conducting this dialogue. I am referring to one of the fundamental human freedoms, the freedom of movement. I am deeply convinced that it is our common goal and our political and moral duty to eliminate all the barriers that today separate millions of Russian citizens and their acquaintances, friends and family in EU countries.
Let me tell you honestly: in the eyes of ordinary Russians, the Schengen zone is perceived plainly as a new “wall”. The situation threatens to become even more complex with the spread of the Schengen zone to the new European Union members. Unfortunately, I must say that my understanding with the President of the European Commission, Mr Romano Prodi, on a special panel of experts and on the eventual elimination of visas for the travel of Russian and EU citizens has not been implemented. This is one example of the issues on which we have yet to come to an agreement.
Needless to say, we do not expect such a system to be introduced tomorrow. We are aware of all the problems and complexities down the road. But the citizens of Greater Europe must know when, how and at what price genuine freedom of movement, one of the most important human rights, will be achieved. I suggest that we instruct our relevant ministries, jointly with the European Commission, to start work on all the issues connected with the transition to a visa-free system and report to the Rome Russia-EU summit [November 6, 2003] on the timeframe and stages of working towards that goal. Many of our colleagues – the German Chancellor and the Italian Prime Minister – had their own proposals on the ways and stages of solving this problem. Our Polish friends had corresponding proposals. All this can be summarised and put before the experts so as to gradually, I repeat, as conditions ripen, move towards solving this task.
And one more important problem that affects all of us, the health and well-being of our families and our societies. I am referring to the threat of drugs, an issue on which we are on the same side. Unfortunately we are witnessing an explosion, a huge increase in the flow of drugs from Afghanistan both to Russia and to Europe via Russia. Suffice it to say, and our esteemed colleague and my friend, the Prime Minister of Britain, knows it, that 90% of “heavy” narcotics come to the British market from Afghanistan. All this passes through Russia and other CIS and Eastern European countries. Vigorous efforts to reverse this negative trend are being exerted by the world community within the framework of the UN, the G8, and together with the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. The joint efforts of Russia and the European Union should fit into that work. I suggest that we instruct our foreign ministries and the heads of other competent agencies to submit a concrete programme for such measures to our next summit. I think we should see how we can combine our efforts in combating this threat in a practical way.
I invite my colleagues to join the discussion on the present and future interaction between Russia and the European Union.
It gives me great pleasure to give the floor to Konstantinos Simitis, President of the European Council and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Greece.
Konstantinos Simitis: It is a very special moment for all of us. Being here on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the city of St Petersburg, it is my honour on behalf of the European Union to express our appreciations for the invitation to the anniversary celebration of this wonderful city. Thank you for your hospitality.
The meeting provides a historic opportunity to discuss the development of strategic partnership between the European Union and Russia. We have strengthened our cooperation over the past years. All this is symbolic: the venue of the event, St Petersburg, which has been regarded as Russia’s “window to Europe” throughout its 300 year history, the signing of an agreement on enlarging the European Union, and the first Russia-EU summit since enlargement. Over the past years strategic partnership has been growing. Meetings between Russian and EU representatives take place at various levels almost every day. It shows that our dialogue is growing more intensive. We must tap the whole potential of our cooperation and do what we have not yet done. This is one of the topics we must discuss here.
For a long time economic cooperation has been the biggest driving force in our partnership. But we are more than economic partners, we are neighbours. Next year the European Union will have 10 more members and we will draw closer together still. And as neighbours we will have many new issues to address and we can commit our whole potential to them.
Permit me to stress one other topic. We must do all we can to make the Kyoto Protocol a real instrument for addressing the problem of global warming. We must seek to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force at an early date. In this connection we welcome the letter from the Russian President to the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of the
Council of the European Union.
We must build up our partnership and bring the peoples of Russia and the European Union closer together. We must make effective use of the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which remains the cornerstone of our cooperation for the years ahead. We hope that the Agreement will be joined by the new members of the European Union from the moment of their accession to the EU.
We are planning to create four new spaces: economic, judicial, education and research space, including cultural aspects. That is a long-term task. All the stages in that process must be implemented.
Obviously, to strengthen cooperation corresponding structures and mechanisms of cooperation are needed that work on a regular and effective basis. The Cooperation Council should be strengthened and reformed to become a coordinating agency in our relations. One cannot expect a body that meets only once a year to be able to perform such a function. It must meet more often in various formats if it is to properly cover all the aspects of our cooperation. It should be renamed “permanent partnership council”. It should become an instrument for the development of our relations, and the strengthening of our political dialogue. The role of the EU Troika in the relations with Russia must be strengthened.
Allow me to pass on to international problems. Let us begin with the key issue of Iraq. We welcome the UN Security Council resolution on post-conflict development of Iraq which was adopted unanimously. It is a good compromise which brings back the process of Iraq settlement into the UN framework. It manifests the spirit of cooperation in the international community.
It is important to ensure the central role of the UN in the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq. The European Union is ready to play an important role in the reconstruction of Iraq. With the adoption of the new resolution we have a good basis for the start of humanitarian work. Since the conflict began the European Union, the EU member countries and the European Commission have allocated more than 730 million euros. An EU humanitarian aid office has been set up.
We look forward to cooperating with Russia in the framework of the “quartet” of Middle East mediators to promote the peace process in the Middle East because it meets the interests of the European Union and Russia. Peace in the Middle East is necessary for regional stability and security. We welcome the acceptance of the “road map” by the Israeli government. “The “road map” will make it possible to conduct peaceful negotiations. This is an opportunity not to be missed. All the partners must diligently use all the elements of the “road map” to bring about a solution to the problem. Russia and the European Union must continue cooperating with the international community and the regional structures to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and help it in restoring the infrastructure, strengthening the civil service, the security service, to address the problems of terrorism, poverty and other problems. We are glad to see positive dynamics in Moldova. It is important to channel the current trends in a positive direction and for Moldova to gradually integrate itself into Europe. We should step up our joint actions.
I now move on to cooperation in the field of crisis management. As you know, the European Union is beginning to bring in new instruments in the Balkans in the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). We launched a new EU police mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We welcome Russia’s participation in it.
We take a positive view of the interaction between Russia and the European Union in the field of crisis management. Many instruments are already in place although some of them need to be finalised in the light of recent experience. To achieve concrete results we must develop practical cooperation, for example, in such areas as the use of heavy Russian transport planes.
Crisis management is an element of the security problem which acquired a new character after the events of September 11. In this context the problem of weapons of mass destruction takes on added significance. We have three main concerns. First, it is necessary to strengthen the multilateral regimes. We must consider the issues of verification. Second, we are worried that terrorist organisations may gain access to weapons of mass destruction. And third, we must reduce threats. The G8 proposes a sound approach to that problem and the European Union is also ready to play its full role.
We attach great significance to cooperating with Russia in that field. We are aware of the difficulties, mainly of the economic character, that Russia faces in implementing the programme of WMD disposal. The EU member states are ready to finance the programmes of disarmament and WMD destruction in Russia.
I must say that the Balkans is a priority for the European Union and we believe the time has come to move on from stabilisation to gradual integration of the Balkan Region. We welcome the interest Russia has shown in broader cooperation with the EU in achieving durable stability in the Balkans.
The problem of Cyprus. We highly value Russia’s interest it has exhibited in this problem and for its efforts to have the problem settled in the UN framework. The Turkish side must revise its position. It is necessary that the UN Secretary General continue his good offices mission. His proposals must be cast in the shape of resolutions.
Allow me to move on to the issue of Chechnya. First of all I would like to express condolences to Vladimir Putin and the families of those who died in the recent terrorist attacks. We hope that these terrorist acts will not undermine the process of reconstruction in that republic. We call on Russia to continue its efforts to find a political solution, we welcome the referendum and the amnesty. These are important steps in the right direction.
I would like to reaffirm that the European Union backs Russia’s efforts at pursuing a comprehensive policy in Chechnya aimed at restoring its economy, protecting human rights and at the social and economic revival of the republic. The EU President also supports the negotiations between the Acting President of the OSCE and Russia. Finally, the EU President welcomes Russia’s continuing efforts to find Mr Erkel. You have spoken about the consequences of the Schengen zone existence and the problem of fighting drug trafficking. Mr Prodi, the President of the European Commission, will respond to these questions and tell you our position.
I would like to thank you for the hospitality accorded us in this wonderful, beautiful city. I expect that the St Petersburg summit will give a new impetus to our excellent relations and strategic partnership between Russia and the European Union.
Vladimir Putin: It gives me great pleasure to call on Romano Prodi, the President of the European Commission.
But before Romano takes the floor I have some information for all the heads of delegations . I would like to ask your opinion. This meeting is being broadcast live to the press centre. The original plan was that the broadcast would stop after Mr Prodi’s speech. Because this meeting has an unusual format I think the hundreds of journalists from all our countries would be interested to know the opinion of every country’s leader. If you do not object I would suggest that the speeches of all the heads of delegations be broadcast live to the press center. No objections? You agree? Fine, so be it.
You have the floor, Romano.
Romano Prodi: It is a great honour and a joy to take part in the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of St Petersburg. In the context of EU enlargement we intend to deepen our strategic partnership with Russia. We consider it to be our short-term, medium-term and long-term strategy. We share the vision of a united Europe without dividing lines, and the relations with Russia are key to our determination, the determination of the European Commission to form a circle of friends on the European continent. We must seek to create a common economic space, cultural space and so on. Russia should take part in the development of all the aspects of the European Union policy with the exception of institutional aspects.
I want to dwell on some basic aspects of cooperation. First, trade and economic cooperation. The EU is discussing with Russia the issue of payments for “Siberian overflights”. I consider the deadline — November, that is the next summit – to be pretty tough, but not unrealistic. We must exert extra efforts to implement the project of the Common European Economic Space. Our goals must be bold. We must act to admit Russia to the WTO. We represent 600 million consumers who are already clamouring for our systems to be brought closer together. Our energy dialogue projects, the programmes on common interests and the security fund are important aspects there. European investments in Russia are massive. Russia must enjoy the benefits of the European common market. It is an important component of your economy. We must mutually protect our investments. Long-term gas contracts with Russia and Russia’s adoption of European environmental standards are also important matters. The European Union expects Russia to join the Energy Charter.
I suggest that today we pass a decision on further work on the Galileo project, which our experts have been discussing. I think much has already been achieved. We could complete the negotiations by the end of 2003, perhaps even by the next summit, but in any case before this year is out.
Secondly, environmental protection. Konstantinos [Simitis] has already mentioned the importance of signing and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Thank you, Mr President, for your letter. The European Union is sure that Russia will ratify the document before the September Conference on Climate Change. For us it is a political priority and we must set an example to the whole world, we must demonstrate that we care about preserving this world for the future generations. Russia of course is a key participant in this process. You know that if we lag behind on our agenda we will undermine our authority. In my opinion, Russia may gain economic and environmental advantages by ratifying the document. This has already been discussed by experts. We should continue an ongoing dialogue on the issue, which should be a characteristic of all our cooperation.
We have been working in the framework of the IMO – the International Maritime Organization – to enhance the safety of navigation, especially oil transportation. We have speeded up the process of single-body tanker retirement. The time has come to give that process the green light.
The European Union is concerned about the problem of first-generation nuclear reactors. We must now take the necessary concrete steps.
The European Union welcomes the signing by Russia of the Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation (MNEPR) Agreement. That programme will help to speed up nuclear waste disposal in the north-west of Russia. We support that project.
Let us now pass on to the delicate issue of cooperation in the field of justice and internal affairs. The European Union welcomes cooperation in this area, in fighting organised crime and drug trafficking. It is one of the key points on our agenda. We welcome the signing of the agreement between Russia and Europol, which will be useful in combating drug trafficking as well.
We are ready to discuss the terms of introducing a visa-free regime in the long term. We can achieve progress in that field. There is much to be done. We must work towards it together, step by step. It is another of our priorities. We want you to know it. It is our common goal. An important aspect of this problem is cooperation with Russia in the field of justice and internal affairs. It is a comprehensive problem that includes several elements, including border control. We must hold a meeting within the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) at the expert level. It is an issue that we must solve. Citizens – ours and yours – need guarantees.
You have referred to the issue of Kaliningrad. It is a very delicate problem. But we can solve it, too. Considering your needs and our needs, we cannot separate such issues as organised crime, freedom of movement and others. We must break the deadlock in the negotiations on readmission and conclude an agreement to the effect before July.
As for drugs, I am glad that we regard the issue as a priority. We are ready to cooperate closely with you, with the UN and with the international partners. I am stressing that point because I think the situation is much worse than you have portrayed it. The production of narcotics is growing and the volume of drug trafficking is growing. We must pay more attention to Afghanistan. We must eradicate the basis for the production of narcotics.
The European Union is mindful of the special concern in Russia about the consequences of EU enlargement. We are ready to have a special meeting to discuss it. Our Cooperation Council will consider this problem as well as such concrete issues as steel and coal trade.
Russia already benefits from the economic growth and trade growth in the countries that are candidates to join the EU. In Poland the market has been growing at the rate of 60 million euros a year. When the PCA spreads to new EU members Russia will enjoy the most favoured nation status in the European market, which has 600 million consumers. We must introduce these considerations in our real strategy. At the political and economic levels we consider these issues to be mutually complementary. The growth of our trade, your trade with the European Union and of European investments in Russia – all this shows that mutual complementarity must determine our political choice.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr President. You have covered practically all the issues of our interaction. We are aware of the problems, we know what to do about them and how to work on them. You have mentioned some sensitive issues, including the movement of people, and that requires agreements to be signed on some problems, including a treaty on readmission.
But I must say that we have some positive examples in that area with our partners, colleagues and friends in Lithuania. In spite of all the complexities we have signed a border treaty. We have ratified it. We have signed a treaty on readmission and we will send it for ratification shortly. We have grounds to be confident that we will follow this matter through. It is a good example of cooperation with other EU countries and with the EU as a whole. Russia is ready and will move in that direction.
It gives me great pleasure to pass the floor to the President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac.
Jacques Chirac: First, very warm thanks to President Putin, the Prime Minister, the Russian authorities, the people of St Petersburg, the most beautiful city in the world, for the warm reception. It is a reception of extraordinarily high quality. And I think we have all been able to feel the warmth of the reception.
We thank you for the exceptional programme that will make this summit a milestone in European history. It will remain in the hearts of those who had the honour to take part in its work. It is proof of the revival of Russia, which is again taking its place in the front ranks of the great nations of the world.
I would like to welcome the opening of the Polar Academy in St Petersburg yesterday. It is a very prestigious organisation. Russia, in the front ranks of democratic states, is noted for its respect for the indigenous peoples and the dialogue of cultures. It is a very serious signal to all the democratic countries in the world, some of which, unfortunately, have yet to join that work.
At the invitation of President Putin, the Russia-EU Summit is taking place in an exceptional format. This attests to an important stage in the history of the European continent. Our friend, Mr Putin, quite rightly thanked Jean-Claude Juncker for his initiative. This summit must create prerequisites for moving to a new frontier at the time when the EU is admitting new members. It is incumbent upon us to respond to the bold and historic choice of President Putin for the good of Europe, for the good of Euro-Atlantic cooperation.
We would like to ensure a privileged partnership between the EU and Russia. The EU must support Russia. We are united by geography and history. All that should give an impetus to all the areas of integration. This is the substance of the ideas we have put forward on creating a common space between the EU and Russia in the field of economy, justice, internal affairs, scientific research, education and, finally, external security.
In these four areas we are not starting from scratch; diverse cooperation is already underway – the European Union and Russia are becoming key partners. But we must move forward. We must open up the vistas that would mobilise energy to ensure the development of “road maps” to enable us to achieve our goals. These goals are highly symbolic in our common destiny. First, it is internal affairs and justice. France welcomes the ultimate goal of having free movement of Russian citizens in the European Union and European Union citizens in Russia. It is the goal that meets our idea of a continent without dividing lines. It is a bold goal, but it corresponds to the European project and we must develop and strengthen the mechanisms that unite the efforts of Russia and the European Union. Actions are needed on both sides, and that is the meaning of the concept of the common space.
Let us use our imagination which helped us to look for a solution for the problems of the Kaliningrad enclave. Even before the necessary conditions are in place for free movement let us find concrete solutions to concrete problems, let us greatly simplify the issue of visas to encourage economic, cultural exchanges and cooperation. That applies in particular to visas for young people and students.
The second topic I would like to dwell on is security and defense. In the light of new threats Russia and Europe will only gain by having stronger ties in this field. We must increasingly compare our approaches and our experience. It has to do with regional crises: the Balkans, the Middle East, Transcaucasia. We must have a chance to act jointly to support or restore peace. It has to do with the problems of the WMD proliferation threat. We must continue our dialogue to develop a long-term strategy.
In the same spirit, I believe, it is important to reaffirm our commitments to work to preserve the environment. Like the previous speakers I hope that by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol Russia will make the choice connected with our common destiny.
And finally, the fight against drugs. President Putin underlined that issue. It is an important element in our strategy of combating one of the main scourges of the modern world. We are talking both about the producer countries, the transit and consumer countries. We must pool our efforts and harmonise our legislations in order to fight drug addiction effectively. The subject was discussed at the Paris Conference on Drug Routes , which was attended by the Foreign Ministers of a vast number of countries. I must give due to the resolute actions of President Rakhmonov of Tajikistan in fighting drug trafficking.
I think that the working mood that marked the past two days in St Petersburg will truly become a milestone in strengthening cooperation between Russia and the EU. We are laying the foundations of a more peaceful, stable and prosperous world.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr President, for your substantive speech and for your proposals.
I now give the floor to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Schroeder.
Gerhard Schroeder: I would like to thank Mr President for the splendid programme.
First, it has rightly been pointed out that St Petersburg has a special significance for the political and cultural relations between Russia and Europe. There can be no better place than St Petersburg. The fact that it coincides with the 300th birthday of this city is a special sign for our close mutual relations.
I think that symbolises close cooperation between Russia and Europe. We continue the vision that the founder of this city had: he wanted St Petersburg to be a “window” to the West. But you can look at it from another angle: it is a good place to accomplish what we write about in our final document. We all know that as a result of close cooperation between Russia and the EU good economic prospects are opening up for people in our countries. It is only possible through such cooperation. I am referring of course to cooperation in the energy field. But I don’t think that is all. Economic progress in Russia will offer more opportunities for cooperation in the field of investment, capital construction, modern technologies, communications and biotechnology.
President Chirac drew attention to the importance of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. For my part I would like to stress that again. Besides, we have grounds for expanding cultural cooperation between the EU member countries and Russia. I think that the programme yesterday evening was a vivid testimony to how much we have in common in the cultural field.
I think it would be correct to form a perspective for all the areas of cooperation. First, closer interaction within the Cooperation Council. The Permanent Cooperation Council is a major contribution to this. Secondly, we must provide a good perspective for the citizens of Russia and the EU to make it easier for them to establish and develop contacts, to bring our civil societies closer together. At the end of the day, it will help to strengthen confidence between our countries. So I am very glad that there is a future on these issues. Will we be able to do it and how quickly? I think that in future it will be an important area in which we must achieve an early success. It is very necessary.
In conclusion I would like to mention one other thing: youth contacts. The meetings of students, scientists and the youth, exchanges are a vast field in which we must work still better.
This summit is very well organised. In cooperation between Russia and Europe we will achieve genuine partnership, partnership cooperation. This summit is making an important contribution to that cause. I am glad to be taking part in it.
Vladimir Putin: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende.
Jan Balkenende: This meeting is a special event because it takes place on the 300th anniversary of this wonderful city. The Netherlands has maintained links with St Petersburg for a long time, we have even contributed to the creation of this city. As you know, Peter the Great founded the city after visiting the Netherlands, where he studied ship-building and many other trades. So I have grounds for saying that Amsterdam has played a role in the creation of St Petersburg. We are glad to attend this meeting of the European Union with our Russian partners not only to pay tribute to the past, but also to think together about the future and the challenges we face, the challenges this continent and the world face.
As European partners we share the joint responsibility for the future. One area of responsibility is the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That threat is growing because these weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists. To neutralise that threat we have to strengthen the existing non-proliferation regime and the system of arms control agreements. We have to act resolutely to address the outstanding problems. Besides, it is necessary to use all the available instruments to remove the hotbeds of danger. We must ensure the transparency of nuclear programmes.
Another area of joint responsibility is our common work in the framework of the OSCE. The Netherlands currently holds the presidency of the OSCE. We welcome close cooperation between Russia and the OSCE. We believe it is necessary to strike the right balance between the three dimensions of the OSCE: the economy and environment, humanitarian issues and security. As President of the OSCE I would like to assure you that the Netherlands is ready to support the solution of the problems that Russia faces.
It is very important to make full use of the opportunity to improve the situation offered by the referendum in Chechnya. The people must be confident that the path chosen by the Russian authorities together with the administration of Chechnya is the correct and only possible way forward.
I would also like to mention the hard fate of Arjan Erkel, a humanitarian worker who was kidnapped in August 2002 and is still kept hostage in spite of all our efforts.
St Petersburg is often called Russia’s “window to Europe”. This jubilee opens “a window to Russia” for us, for your European friends. Let us avail ourselves of this opportunity to reaffirm our obligations and commitment to cooperate in creating a new Europe on the basis of common European values. Let us work as partners to create a Europe that is safe, stable, prosperous and ruled by law.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. Right off, I would like to respond to some of your remarks.
I appreciate your positive assessment of the referendum that took place in Chechnya. We will do everything to implement the values you have spoken about. We will continue to develop the situation in a positive way.
We are working vigorously on a treaty to delimit the powers between the Republic and the Federal Government to grant Chechnya the broadest autonomy in the framework of the Russian Constitution and the Constitution recently approved by the referendum in Chechnya. We have already passed the first reading of the law on amnesty and we will move forward on that issue. I am referring to the process of political settlement, which will continue to gather momentum in parallel with the transfer of the law-and-order functions to the revived Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Justice Ministry in the Chechen Republic.
As for Mr Erkel, who has been kidnapped in Dagestan, unfortunately, like many other countries, we do face manifestations both of organised crime and terrorism. We will continue the efforts to find him.
You have touched upon some other important aspects. Non-proliferation is one of the key problems of our time. We will work together with you and in the OSCE framework to address the problems you have referred to.
And now, Mr Blair, the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Tony Blair: Vladimir, first of all, I would like to congratulate you on the organisation of the summit which is taking place at a very special time. Obviously it is a historic date, a celebration of St Petersburg.
I consider the summit between Russia and the European Union to be an event of exceptional importance, far more significant than the previous summits. In a way, the European Union is changing and attracting new members. At the same time the European Union seeks to establish a new relationship with Russia. We should think whether we have the corresponding mechanisms for the further development of our relations and whether we are doing it quickly enough considering the urgency of the problems. I would like to concentrate on three aspects.
First, the common economic space. We should do everything – as I am sure we will do – to contribute to the process of Russia’s accession to the WTO. That is an exceedingly important process for you and indeed for all of us. We must also seek to promote trade relations between our countries. From the British perspective, we know how important it is, especially as regards the energy sector. We should promote economic integration between the European Union and Russia. We must contribute to that process. We see a great potential there. And since we see it we should seek progress on WTO accession because it spells enormous benefits for both sides.
The second area is the fight against crime. The problems that we face are common to all of us. We cannot solve them without cooperating with Russia. So our cooperation there is very important.
Third, our shared problem of the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan. I think this summit should be seen not only as a historic event, but also as an event that gives an impetus to our cooperation. We should be aware of the critical moment and do everything to promote our cooperation.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. You have touched upon several important questions. The problem of Afghanistan you have just mentioned and the problem of narcotics were discussed by the CIS leaders yesterday morning. We are very concerned about what is happening there. Of course what happened in Afghanistan dramatically changed the situation in the country and made it possible to deal with the problems and threats that have emanated from Afghanistan. But we still have to do a great deal to solve these problems.
I appreciate your other comments as well. We very much count on British support on all these problems and we remember that the British Prime Minister was practically the first European leader to come to Russia in [March] 1999 and effectively give a push to the process of interaction in the new capacity. We have built up a very good relationship. We hope it will continue.
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr Barroso.
Jose Manuel Barroso: Peter the Great decided to build a new capital after he had carefully studied the situation in the West. Modernity must be the hallmark of our relations at the present stage too. . Our relations should be seen as the strategic goal. Both parties should proceed with an eye to achieving concrete results for the people on both sides.
Our cooperation is developing on the basis of common values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The development of these common values is in our interests and meets our common vision of Europe. If we share the same values Russia and Europe can do a lot for the whole world.
There needs to be a positive approach to the tasks of creating a common economic space, developing cooperation on international security, internal affairs, education and science. These are achievable goals.
By enlarging, the European Union is creating new opportunities for cooperation with Russia. We can develop cooperation in various fields: energy, the environment, border protection, and migration.
Safety at sea is one practical issue to which we attach very great significance. Our government considers cooperation to enhance security in the framework of the International Maritime Organisation to be highly positive.
It is necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the EU-Russia Action Plan to fight organised crime and find joint answers to the threat of drug trade.
On international issues, there is also a lot of room for cooperation. The Middle East is a region where the European Union and Russia can help to resolve the conflict jointly with the United States. We must achieve progress in solving the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Africa could be another region for our cooperation. For example, Portugal and Russia have for many years cooperated very effectively in launching the peace process in Angola. The whole of Europe must continue to pay attention to that continent.
In short, Russia and the European Union must pool their efforts in confronting the common threats. The strengthening of our joint mechanisms is an important way to promote partnership. I think the meeting in St Petersburg can be a milestone in further developing the cooperation between the EU and Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. You have emphasised the possibilities of cooperation in international affairs. Our work indeed is making good progress, I would say very good progress, and the prospects are good.
I give the floor to the Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr Ahern.
Bertie Ahern: I would like to thank you for the invitation to this historic celebration of the anniversary of St Petersburg, that symbol of cooperation between Russia and Europe.
We represent the Western and Eastern tips of our continent. In spite of the geographical distance we are promoting trade and investments. As Konstantinos Simitis and Romano Prodi have said, Russia contributes a great deal to the image of Europe, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be exposed to the Russian genius at the wonderful concert yesterday. That is Russia’s contribution to literature, music and science in Europe.
We have a shared history, our recent history. And we are trying to create a new basis for our generation for expanding the European Union in collaboration with the Russian Federation and other neighbours to ensure prosperity for Europe and the world.
Russia is a vast country in terms of its territory, human potential and natural resources. As Mr Simitis and Mr Prodi said today, Russia must fully tap that potential so that this great country could enjoy all the benefits that are offered it.
Ireland, together with its partners, is trying to build on what has already been done and to meet the challenges of the future. We must move forward in the field of trade, investments and other areas of our cooperation. We hope to see the day when Russia joins the WTO.
And, Mr President, great efforts are needed to enhance security in the world. You have referred to it today. The European Union, Russia, the US and China bear a special responsibility of serving humankind and in the framework of strengthening the UN.
I would like to express Ireland’s condolences to the families of the victims of terrorist attacks in Chechnya. We are aware that these actions are totally meaningless and we hope that Chechnya will some day be peaceful and prosperous.
We appreciate your efforts and I would like to thank you for the invitation and for your hospitality. I would like to wish you success in conducting these celebrations.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. You have drawn attention to several substantial points, to the common roots of our civilization, which provide a good basis for cooperation in all areas, including the humanitarian area. But I would like to single out your call for continued negotiations on Russia’s accession to the WTO, hoping that our negotiators will heed the appeal of the Prime Minister and bring the process to a conclusion.
The distinguished Chancellor of the Austrian Republic, Wolfgang Schuessel.
Wolfgang Schuessel: I would like to express my condolences in connection with the loss of life in Chechnya.
Of course we have before us a vision that has become reality. Europe is an architecture and now we are putting that dream into reality. In some ways the EU is also a dream that has come true. Now we will have ten new members. We have a dream of having Russia as an important strategic partner, of expanding the circle of friends and creating a common economic space. I think such a summit is an excellent opportunity for reviewing interim results.
I have read your Address to the Federal Assembly, Mr President. It is an honest speech. It does not merely say that Russia has made great strides in the economic field. A growth of 20% and an increase of incomes by one third are highly positive results. But on the other hand, you have been candid speaking about the problems. You have said that not everything that needs to be done has been done. You said that the Russian economy is not yet competitive enough, that it has problems with its bureaucracy and in the field of demography: the ageing of the population and decline in life expectancy.
I think we should speak not only about economic statistics. We should discuss these problems in the framework of our dialogue. I think Europe can do a great deal in managing the system of public health and combating disease. Some of the topics have already been mentioned: alcoholism and drug abuse. On these issues Europe can only be successful if it works in concert. We see that, as Tony Blair has said, poppy fields are again blossoming in Afghanistan. Unless we act together, in a year’s time that crop will deal a blow at young people in Russia and all over Europe. I think it is a serious challenge to all of us. In this connection cooperation between Europol and the Russian police is important.
We are mindful of the fact that the EU gets 75% of its electricity from Russia. We are mindful of the fact that more than 40% of Russian exports go to our countries. I think much can be accomplished in this field. As Mr Prodi said, we must set the timeframe for the creation of the Common Economic Space. The EU exists because it sets precise deadlines.
Another issue is a visa-free regime. Of course it is an important matter for people. I think we all understand that it is important that this freedom be spread to Russian citizens. But we have to be honest. We must say that there are some important conditions to be fulfilled, concrete documents to regulate migration are needed. We must develop a corresponding programme. I think our Finnish friends will be speaking about it.
For us it is important that this summit is not just a festive occasion, as it was yesterday, but a working meeting which should move us forward and identify concrete goals and principles.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Chancellor, thank you for your attention to our internal political events. Such a considerate attitude is helpful in understanding the problems better and formulating possible ways of solving them. I heartily subscribe to your call for setting specific deadlines for the implementation of our plans, including respect for the fundamental human right, that is, freedom of movement.
I give the floor to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr Verhofstadt.
Guy Verhofstadt: First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr President, for the warm reception. I have noticed that you have gone to great lengths and have even ordered good weather. Thank you for this blue sky, we didn’t see it yesterday.
Our meeting enables us above all to review the results of the partnership between the European Union and Russia. I think we can give good marks to the state of that partnership because for some time now we have maintained an intensive political dialogue between the European Union and the Russian Federation. Troika meetings with Russia are taking place every month. We are working jointly to create a common economic space, we are promoting partnership in the energy field and I would say that we have laid the foundations of a new partnership between the European Union and Russia. The meeting enables us to stress the strategic character of the partnership bonds between us.
With your permission, Mr President, I would like to dwell on some areas where cooperation needs to be strengthened.
First, the cooperation mechanism must be strengthened. As you know, the Brussels [Russia-EU] summit in October 2001 established a permanent forum for dialogue, the Cooperation Committee, which meets regularly. We should think about the way forward. We can move forward if we create a Permanent Cooperation Council. I think that new council would help us to step up the political dialogue in the spirit that prevailed in Brussels. The recent events bring home to us the need to deepen this dialogue in the field of security both within the European continent and in the context of the global security architecture with the special role of the United Nations. The UN undoubtedly is called upon to play its role in that architecture.
We have to do everything to upgrade this political dialogue in the near future in order to coordinate our foreign policy actions. Along with the very important political dialogue it is necessary to strengthen our economic ties, specifically the energy dialogue. The time has come not only to voice our mutual interest in moving forward, but to work on specific plans. And we are entitled to expect from the European Commission and the Russian government concrete projects that would translate into practice the political principles that we have so often reaffirmed.
Finally, like others, in particular, Chancellor Schroeder, I would like to draw your attention to the Kyoto Protocol. We welcome Russia’s decision to ratify the Protocol. We hope it will happen soon because I think that the people in our countries expect a concrete decision from us.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. You have touched upon some very important problems and issues on which we are working jointly, but I think I could divulge a little secret. The Prime Minister spoke of the need to improve the mechanism of cooperation. I would like to thank him for proposing this item for our agenda. In fact, when we speak about the Permanent Council we are following up on his idea, and I am very grateful to him for this. For its part Russia will do everything to make this mechanism more effective. We have appointed a new representative to Brussels with a higher status. He will now have the rank of a minister in the Government of the Russian Federation. I would like to introduce him to you, it is Mr Fradkov. I hope that he will forge good relations with the European Commission President Mr Prodi, with the EU ministers and the EC commissioners. The Russian word is “commissars” and it reminds us of the hard times of the October Revolution. Mr Fradkov is a good specialist in the economic field and a good administrator. I hope that we will reinforce his staff with specialists who will work directly with the EC commissioners and act as “liaison officers” between our leading ministries and agencies and the relevant EC commissioners.
I give the floor to the Italian Prime Minister Mr Berlusconi.
Silvio Berlusconi: Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for the excellent work you have done, for the restoration that has been carried out here. You have done a very good job. I am referring not only to this building, but to the whole of St Petersburg. St Peteresburg is a city which we Italians think of as being our home in a certain sense because many of our artists and architects have worked here. There are many things that our cities have in common. We wanted to take part in these events to mark the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg. We wanted not only to attend these cultural events. We wanted to contribute to the restoration of this city. And that underscores the links that we have with St Petersburg and our wish to recognise that this wonderful city is playing the role of a European cultural capital. An Italian said famously that St Petersburg is a “window to Europe”. But I think we can now speak not about a “window” but about “a door” which is opening ever wider. At least these are my expectations and these are my wishes.
As for Europe, our colleagues have already spoken about the path we are moving along, about the difficulties we are confronting, including in the field of cooperation. Much has already been done. But this summit will provide a new impetus. It will be the next step. The Russia-EU summit will be held in November, when Italy takes over the presidency of the European Union [November 6, 2003]. All these steps are in line with the goals formulated in 1994, the creation of a single Europe, a truly united and great “broader Europe”. The great Russia has a role to play in this. Much has already been done. But even more remains to be done.
I am proud to say that the creation of the Russia-NATO Council was an important step. We created that body last May. I think a lot of time will be required for all the European countries to realise and become conscious of the need for a “broader Europe”, which would include your country as a key partner. If we really want to be influential players in international relations, if we want to play a role in the world’s future, ensuring its prosperity and security we must understand that the united Europe that includes Russia with its 150 million citizens, will contribute to our economic growth and will strengthen our military potential. We should also think about the Balkan countries and other candidate countries, for example, Turkey. I think that the European future must also include Israel. This is the path on which we have embarked. I have confidence in this path.
As for my country, I would like to reaffirm our commitment to continue along that path. We want the journey to be as speedy as possible. I would like to wish all the best to your government and your country.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, it is true that Italy and St Petersburg have a special relationship. Italians have done much for the construction of the city. I would like to thank you for your great contribution to the preparation of the 300th jubilee. It is heartening that the Italians have put their hearts in it.
You have touched upon some important issues each requiring a special approach. I share your thoughts on the creation of the Russia-NATO Council and on how we can develop our cooperation further, including in the security sphere.
Unfortunately our Spanish colleague could not attend this meeting because of the crime that has been committed in Spain, a terrorist attack. He has telephoned me and he regrets that he cannot be with us today. But the Foreign Minister will represent him and Spain. You have the floor, Mrs Palacio.
Ana Palacio: Every terrorist attack is aimed at destroying our common values, the values of democracy and freedom. Terrorism does not stop at the border. It is meaningless to try to distinguish between local and international terrorism. Terrorism is a common threat and there is nowhere to hide from it, none of us can afford to remain indifferent.
Spain, which has maintained fruitful diplomatic relations with Russia since the times of Emperor Charles I, must be present at the events to mark the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg. Spain favours closer relations between Russia and the EU. We would like to see a privileged level of relations which does justice to their strategic importance. These relations must develop in many areas. They include the economy and freedom of movement. We need a framework in order to jointly meet the new challenges. These challenges, as Mr Chirac said, call for Transatlantic cooperation with the United States. Together we can be more effective. The world will thus become a safer place.
Transatlantic cooperation must develop. It faces a huge number of challenges. Three of them have already been mentioned: weapons of mass destruction, the Middle East peace process and terrorism. Allow me to say something about terrorism. I would like to take up the remarks made by Mr Blair. It is necessary to take concrete measures in the fight against terrorism. Permit me to quote the words of Mr Aznar at the session of the UN Security Council: “We need actions. They include the UN drawing up an agreed comprehensive list of terrorist organisations. We must prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists. We must take concerted measures to cut the terrorism financing networks. We must follow the principle of zero tolerance with regard to terrorists and comply with the international code of conduct. We must ensure assistance in the fight against terror in the framework of international problems. We must prevent the use of the UN to support unacceptable actions. We must give a voice to the victims of terrorism. All that would strip the terrorists of any hint of legitimacy.”
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity and take advantage of this summit organised in this unique venue, the Constantine Palace in Strelnya. I would like to urge you to strengthen our political will and improve the instruments we have in the framework of the rule of law in fighting terrorism.
Vladimir Putin: What happened in Spain gives us further proof that terrorism is a real threat. I fully share what the Spanish Foreign Minister has said. I would like to confirm our solidarity with the Spanish people and the Spanish leadership, and express condolences to all the victims of that terrorist attack.
The Chairman of the Government of Sweden, Mr Persson.
Goran Persson: The celebration of the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg is a truly splendid event. It not only demonstrates the grandeur of this city and the historic significance of this region, it underlines the importance, at the present stage, of the links between the Russian Federation and the European Union.
We are gathered here at the Russian “window to Europe” on the eve of the biggest enlargement of the European Union in all its history. That process will open up new opportunities for the Union, for the Baltic region, for St Petersburg and for Russia as a whole. The Baltic Sea is in fact becoming a European Union sea. This will greatly benefit all of us. Russia’s participation as a strong and friendly partner in this process is vital. And I am sure that St Petersburg will take its due place as a centre of dynamic growth on the Baltic shores.
St Petersburg has historical links with many Swedish cities, and we in Sweden support the bold reforms in Russia. Speaking about the Baltic Sea I note with particular pleasure the presence here of our neighbours: Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As members of the European Union they will play an important role in invigorating the cooperation between the EU and Russia, notably in transborder cooperation. I welcome the ratification of the border treaty between Russia and Lithuania by the State Duma. I hope the ratification of the treaties with Estonia and Latvia will not be far behind.
The strengthening of relations between the EU and Russia is a key priority. I believe that genuine partnership between us must be based on the spirit of compromise. Successful cooperation calls for the efforts of both sides at achieving concrete results. In line with that spirit Sweden has proposed to strengthen the Cooperation Council as a Permanent Partnership Council and to use it as a mechanism for resolving concrete issues. I am satisfied with the decision to hold more regular meetings. Our common agenda covers a broad spectrum of issues, as witnessed by the draft joint statement of the summit.
We are discussing various issues directly affecting the Baltic Sea, notably the protection of the marine environment. I think that the retiring of single-body tankers is a particularly important topic for that part of Europe. Mr President, you know what oil tanker disasters mean for the Baltic Sea, whose ecology is particularly vulnerable. I think we are all aware of our responsibility, our common responsibility to take the necessary actions to stop transporting oil in single-body vessels.
Our joint Statement touches upon global problems such as preventing global warming and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. We welcomed the statement by Prime Minister Kasyanov at the Environment Summit and the Russian statement assuming obligations in that field.
We hope that in the near future we will succeed in developing our cooperation in the field of internal affairs, of facilitating travel between Russia and the European Union, including, in the longer perspective, visa-free travel between Russia and the EU. That requires joint efforts. In this way we can overcome political and economic difficulties.
It is necessary to increase cooperation in fighting terrorism and establish closer ties in crisis management, in asserting human rights, the rule of law, in the matters of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
We share the responsibility for developing cooperation with our neighbours — Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova — in order to help them to move forward along the road of democracy and market economy.
And finally, our Joint Statement touches upon some other problems. I particularly welcome the fact that it speaks constructively about the need to solve the problem of Chechnya.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. We have a special relationship with Sweden, which is particularly close and trusting and good-neighbourly. We have great many joint projects. We live in the same region and I understand Mr Prime Minister’s concern about the problems of the environment. We are working on many of these issues and we are cooperating very successfully.
As for the safety of transportation, I agree with you there. I think you will agree with me that the matter should be tackled at the level of experts in the framework of broader agreements and relevant marine conventions. I would like to mention that the port we have built in Primorsk not only meets the highest European standards, but even exceeds them in many ways. The European environmental standards have to improve a little before they match the latest technologies in the port of St Petersburg.
The amount of cargoes transported here in the Finnish Gulf is infinitesimal by comparison with the amount carried in the world by sea, ocean and various straits. Such issues must be addressed in a comprehensive and uniform manner. Wherever these rules are applied they must extend to all the sensitive regions of the world ocean. I think my colleagues will agree with me. Of course we can do it together if we pool our efforts. I absolutely agree with that.
It gives me great pleasure to call on our next speaker, the Prime Minister of Luxemburg, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker.
Jean-Claude Juncker: For my own part I would like to thank you for the invitation and for remembering the proposal I made two or three years ago in Stockholm considering the close ties between Sweden and St Petersburg.
We arrived in this city yesterday evening and we already feel that we will be sorry to leave this city tonight or tomorrow morning: it is a truly magnanimous city replete with the feelings of friendship, attention to its guests, to everyone, a city that shows concern for all and that has always shared its riches with the whole of Europe.
I would like to thank the people of St Petersburg. Of course we have caused them a lot of trouble by our presence.
Today freedom means the freedom to say “yes” to “greater Europe” and on the other hand, to say “no” to the strangulation of countries and regions. We are aware that in our cooperation we are trying to find unity in common intentions that need not be confined only to our own affairs and our own strategic partnership that addresses the issues of security and economic space, but we should be an ambitious community that can talk to the whole world. Russia and Europe must share these ambitions which should include respect of the rule of law, human rights, the activities of the international community and the fight against terrorism. Finally, a multipolar vision of the world. We must act together so that those who follow us face fewer difficulties and look to the future with confidence.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Rasmussen, the Prime Minister of Denmark.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen: First of all, allow me to thank you for the kind invitation to attend the St Petersburg summit. We are grateful for your hospitality and we share your pride in connection with the 300th anniversary of this wonderful city. Thank you for this opportunity to speak about the prospects of cooperation between Russia and the European Union.
Our close cooperation is a fact. Our goal is strong and deep relations in all the areas on the basis of dialogue and cooperation, mutually beneficial cooperation.
I would like to single out two areas of particular interest: Kaliningrad and safe navigation on the Baltic.
Mr President, in November last year [at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels] we adopted a joint statement on transit via Kaliningrad. I would like to congratulate you on the ratification of the border treaty with Lithuania by the Duma. The Kaliningrad Region, which is part of the Russian Federation, will undoubtedly be directly affected by the enlargement of the EU. We have a common interest in the Russian-Baltic region gaining dividends from the dynamic development of the region as a whole.
The Russian Federation and the EU must work out a joint strategy of economic development of the Kaliningrad Region. That strategy can help us to achieve our common goals for the benefit of Kaliningrad and the whole Baltic region.
Another challenge for our region is ensuring clean water and safe navigation. I share the well-grounded concern about the environmental threat posed by marine vessels. We must not allow environmental disasters to happen in the future. It is very important to impose a total ban on the transportation of oil by single-body tankers. It has to be done as quickly as possible.
In this connection I propose to start with the signing of a regional agreement covering the European Union and the Baltic states pending the signing of an agreement in the framework of the International Maritime Organisation.
Vladimir Putin: I give the floor to Mrs Halonen, the President of our closest neighbour, Finland, and its Prime Minister.
Tarja Halonen: I would like to congratulate you on organising this meeting. It was a good idea. I would also like to congratulate you on the preparation of the joint statement of Russia and the EU. I would like to take this opportunity to note that I would be happy to welcome a delegation from St Petersburg in Finland next week. And now I would like to give the floor to my younger colleagues.
Anneli Jaatteenmaki: We are gathered here in St Petersburg to celebrate the anniversary of this historic city. St Petersburg is a unique city. We are proud that it is our close neighbour in the Baltic region. This is a historic event because it is the first meeting between Russia and the enlarged EU. We are meeting as one big united family.
The city of St Petersburg is an appropriate venue and this is an auspicious time for celebrating European unity. The new Europe is a place where cooperation brings results and where common problems can be solved.
We have agreed the text of the joint statement which expresses our common readiness to act in a number of areas. The fragile environment, the marine environment is today a matter of serious concern in the region from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, from the Northern to the Baltic seas. We are greatly concerned about the significant growth of cargo transportation and oil transportation in the Baltic Region. Oil terminals are not such a big problem. We are concerned about the transportation of oil. Phasing out single-body tankers is the key priority. Transporting oil in the Finnish and Bothnia gulfs is a practical issue that we must tackle together. We are ready to promote cooperation on a bilateral and multilateral basis. We are ready for joint work in this area with the International Maritime Organisation.
Russia’s contribution to marine cooperation is very important. We appreciate Russia’s intention to contribute to the solution of that problem. We welcome the development of cooperation between Russia and the EU in this field. We hope that safety at sea will promote our cooperation and will become its distinctive feature.
Vladimir Putin: Allow me to give the floor to the heads of the delegations of the countries that are joining the European Union. The Prime Minister of the Hungarian Republic Peter Medgyessy.
Peter Medgyessy: I have the impression that all the important things have already been said. I don’t want to trespass on your time. So I will make just three remarks.
First, a new international order is emerging and the relations of cooperation between the European Union and Russia are vital for ensuring a stable and durable international order. Hungary is aware of its responsibility, we will play a stabilising role in our region.
Secondly, Hungary is one of the countries which has achieved considerable success in implementing political and social reforms. We are ready to share our experience with the East European countries, with the Balkan countries so as to promote their democratisation.
And thirdly, I would like to stress the importance of dialogue for better understanding of each other and finding answers to the challenges that will not become less serious in the future. The Europe of 25 calls for a certain contribution. The new spirit of “greater Europe” is a major contribution that will require new approaches and a reappraisal of the situation. There is a glimmer of hope that this table will be still larger next time around.
I would like to congratulate you on the anniversary of St Petersburg. Once again thank you for your kind invitation.
Vladimir Putin: I have a small secret to divulge: the Prime Minister has been kind enough to revive one of the traditions at the Constantine Palace, where we are now, by filling its wine cellar with excellent Hungarian wines. We will have a chance to appreciate the contribution of our Hungarian partners, but not until we are through with our work.
And now I would like to give the floor to Mr Papadopoulos, the President of the Republic of Cyprus.
Tassos Papadopoulos: I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the invitation to this meeting and the opportunity to speak as the President of Cyprus at the Russia-EU summit on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg. I would also like to thank you for the warm hospitality accorded to all of us.
Holding the summit in this magnificent city at this stage is indeed a symbolic event because St Petersburg has always been viewed as Russia’s “window to Europe”. It manifests our commitment to further promoting cooperation. Cyprus traditionally has pursued a policy of promoting good relations with Russia. As a country that is preparing to join the EU and a future EU member we will contribute to the deepening of relations between the Union and Russia.
The enlargement of the European Union will enable us to reaffirm our commitment to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation. For our part as a new member of the Union we look forward to extending the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement to Cyprus. We hope to chart a new course for the development of our cooperation.
Our common goal is to create a democratic space in Europe, a space of stability, internal and external security and prosperity of all our citizens. That goal cannot be achieved without close cooperation between the two main protagonists in Europe, namely the European Union and Russia.
Vladimir Putin: The President of the Latvian Republic, Dr Vike-Freiberga.
Vaira Vike-Freiberga: I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people of St Petersburg and to all Russians on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of this city, which has over the last three centuries played such an important role in the whole Baltic region as a door open to trade and exchanges of people and ideas. I would like to thank President Putin, the municipal authorities and the people of St Petersburg for the exceptional hospitality accorded us here. Latvians share the feelings of Russians in connection with this anniversary. We wish the people of St Petersburg happiness, peace and prosperity.
As a future member of the European Union, Latvia is interested in close partnership between the EU and Russia. It is our sincere hope that the enlargement of the European Union along the Western borders of Russia will upgrade the quality of the relations between the EU and Russia and elevate it to a new height of partnership.
Latvia supports the discussion of the issue on visa-free travel between Russia and the EU. However, Latvia believes that any discussion of a visa-free regime with Russia must only start after the procedure of border crossing for goods and people is significantly improved, after Russia signs and ratifies the agreements on the borders with all its neighbours, including Latvia.
Latvia shares the conviction that broader cooperation in the sphere of justice and internal affairs will meet our common interests. We all have shared values and principles.
I am convinced that by cooperating closely we can build a Europe that will be more stable, secure and prosperous than it has ever been in its history.
Vladimir Putin: It gives me great pleasure to give the floor to the man who has, like myself, lived and studied in St Petersburg for many years, the President of the Lithuanian Republic, Mr Paksas.
Rolandas Paksas: Thank you for inviting me to the city of my youth. Thank you for this wonderful feast. Thank you for the city which has changed so dramatically over the years, the city which can today be ranked among the world’s capitals.
Today marks the start of a new stage in the history of the relations between Russia and the EU. For the first time the EU and Russia are meeting in the Russian Northern Capital at the level of heads of state. This city, referred to as Russia’s “window to Europe,” offers opportunities for further development of cooperation. The future new members of the EU are attending a Russia-EU Summit for the first time. This summit in St Petersburg may give a new impetus to the relations between Russia and the EU.
We pay particular attention to the Kaliningrad Region. We have enjoyed good cooperation with Kaliningrad over the past years. We have also prepared a number of important projects to contribute to the economic development of the Kaliningrad Region. We hope it will help to broaden the dialogue between the EU and Russia. We would welcome the efforts to work out a new modern strategy for the development of the Kaliningrad Region. The solution of the Kaliningrad transit problem shows that joint efforts are needed to achieve our common goals.
Today, as we celebrate the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg, it would be relevant to look at the region as a whole. Russia is closely cooperating with the Baltics in this region. After the three Baltic countries join the EU, the Baltic region will become one of the fastest growing regions in Europe. Indeed, the Baltic Council may provide a model of dialogue between Russia and the EU. The proximity of the EU should benefit Russia, especially its Baltic region. It is very important to involve this region of Russia in broader cooperation with its neighbours. It is also important to establish links between the region and Europe as a whole by establishing new communication routes and routes for the transportation of fuel and energy. Cooperation between Russia and the EU can develop through the development of transportation and energy infrastructure across the Baltic Sea, in the Baltic countries and in the framework of other projects including the Petersburg and Kaliningrad projects. These projects will benefit all the parties concerned. I am convinced that as a member of the EU, Lithuania will take an active part of the dialogue between Russia and the EU.
Vladimir Putin: I give the floor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, Mr Adami.
Edward Fenech Adami: Thank you, Mr President.
This summit is timed for the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg, which everybody loves and which is part of the world heritage. I would like to thank President Putin and the Government of the Russian Federation for the excellent organisation of this summit.
Like the other countries represented here Malta has much that links it to this constructive dialogue which inspires the development of relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union.
The enlargement of the European Union creates new opportunities and challenges both within the European Union and among its neighbours.
This summit is an important step towards strengthening the mechanism of cooperation. Cooperation between the EU and its neighbours is vital in many fields, in all fields. We must build up our cooperation in the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking. These major threats call for joint actions.
At the Helsinki summit several years ago my government insisted that the joint statement mention that drug trafficking threatens the stability of our societies and democratic institutions. We also propose that the leaders jointly strengthen all forms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in combating drug trafficking and other manifestations of international organised crime. The Paris Conference on Drug Routes from Central Asia to Europe held early this month reiterated this vital imperative. Malta is actively involved in this process. The European Union is a major participant in the fight against international organised crime and drug trafficking. Malta supports cooperation between the European Union and Russia in this field.
In September, when President Putin spoke about the fight against drug trafficking he referred to the social dangers of drug trafficking connected with growing crime and neglect of children. We must increase our cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. We must also eliminate the internal causes that contribute to the spread of that scourge of our societies and countries. This is the only way in which we can avert that threat to our societies.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Marek Pol, Poland.
Marek Pol: 300 years ago St Petersburg became the “window” that links Russia with Western Europe. Unfortunately, several times during its history that “window” was shut. It caused damage to the whole of Europe, which spans the continent from the Atlantic to the Urals.
The Russia-EU Summit must make its contribution to creating a network of links between the West and East open for people, capital, services and information. Poland too stands to benefit from it.
The strategy of partnership between the EU and Russia takes on added significance in connection with the EU enlargement. Poland, which has more than 200 kilometers of common border with Russia seeks to increase dialogue and cooperation with Russia, partly in the framework of the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Our cooperation and partnership are based on common values and interests which must take the shape of a common economic space and a European zone of stability and security. We are planning to intensify the Eastern policy of the European Union as the basis for cooperation based on partnership and covering, among other countries, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. I think we will create a framework of cooperation with Russia as a third country in the field of foreign policy and security, for example on global issues. In the framework of the European foreign and security policy we can cooperate in such fields as non-proliferation and disarmament.
For Poland it is important to prevent a new “house of cards” being created and to see that the border between us is open for us. We have similar mentalities and psychology. It often helps to promote cooperation.
I am sure that the enlargement of Europe will benefit not only Poland and the European Union, but will bring tangible benefits to Russia and its people. That acquires a special significance in the new century.
Vladimir Putin: I give the floor to the President of the Slovak Republic Mr Rudolf Schuster.
Rudolf Schuster: All those gathered here share a well-justified admiration for the history and beauty of St Petersburg, which is marking its 300th anniversary and hosting the European Union-Russia summit. One can hardly think of a better way to celebrate the enlightened idea of the founder of this city, Peter the Great, who chose this place to open Russia’s “window to Europe”.
On behalf of the people of the Slovak Republic and the official delegation present here I would like to join the numerous wishes of lasting prosperity to St Petersburg and Russia.
Contacts with this city are among the pillars of bilateral links between the Slovak Republic and the Russian Federation.
We have always been convinced that long-term stability in Europe is impossible without Russia. So we have deemed the development of dialogue with Russia to be important for the European Union. All the Europeans are interested to see the prosperity of the city of St Petersburg set an example of the development of the broadest cooperation that would bring Russia and Europe still closer. For Europe would not have become truly united without Russia. Therefore we will certainly agree that our brilliant host, a native of St Petersburg, President Putin, is the best guarantor of this ennobling perspective.
The history of Europe and the whole world would not be complete without the 300-year history and glory of St Petersburg. Without its links with Europe and the world St Petersburg wouldn’t have been what it has, by the grace of God, become. Allow me to add one unusual wish. May it always be so.
Vladimir Putin: I give the floor to the Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia Anton Rop.
Anton Rop: We have always considered the Russian Federation to be a key player in world and European history, now and in the future. As a future member of the European Union Slovenia will seek to strengthen stability and security in Europe and beyond Europe, as well as in Russia, which is crucial. The Russian Federation is a strategic partner of the European Union in the political and economic fields. Mutual partnership and the deepening of that partnership are both possible and necessary. This is the aim of today’s meeting.
In the economic field, the main aim of the European Union and Russia is the integration of Russia into the economic system of Europe. We welcome the future accession of Russia to the WTO. That is an important element of our further actions.
In the political field we must jointly seek peace and security in the world and fight any forms of terrorism. There can be no justification to acts of terror. Along with the new opportunities globalisation has also brought such dangerous phenomena as terrorism, proliferation of weapons and organised crime.
Speaking about strategic partnership, there is still room for more active cooperation. The new relations between Russia and the EU in the 21st century call for an improvement of the institutional basis of such cooperation.
We believe that we will be able to promote integration in the future. Slovenia will follow the Russia-EU summits, which have a huge potential. We are ready to commit all our experience and knowledge not only to make strategic partnership a reality, but to develop it further.
Vladimir Putin: I give the floor to the President of the Czech Republic Mr Vaclav Klaus.
Vaclav Klaus: As one of the last speakers I must confess that it is hard for me to say anything special. And I find it hard to strike an optimistic note from where I am sitting as the future member of the EU. To quote the famous Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, I can say that we are sitting in the “second circle”. I hope that in the future meetings we will be sitting in the “first circle”.
Even so, as the representative of one of the countries which signed an EU accession treaty six weeks ago I would like to reassure Russia that the enlargement of the EU does not mean that Europe is shutting itself down to the rest of the world. We are aware that the borders of the EU are shifting eastward closer to Russia. That, understandably, breeds some fears. But I would like to repeat that the process of European integration is not aimed at creating an exclusive club that tries to consolidate its positions against Asia or Russia. I assure you that European integration is aimed at bringing down barriers and expanding links. I am sure the process will continue in this direction.
The enlargement of the EU will in some ways help to unite the whole continent, which is our common home. Europe grew richer in many ways when Peter the Great created this magnificent city. We are proud to be here and we thank you for the invitation.
Vladimir Putin: I give the floor to the President of the Estonian Republic Arnold Ruutel.
Arnold Ruutel: First allow me to join all the kind wishes and congratulations and thank the hosts for the excellent organisation of this summit.
In my speech I would like to dwell on the topic of the environment and its preservation, which is vital for all of us. And more specifically I would like to deal with the issues of safety at sea.
Today the main threat to the sea comes from oil pollution due to accidents involving tankers. The amount of petroleum products carried by sea grows year by year, which in turn inevitably increases the danger due to ship accidents. I would particularly like to stress the danger of the pollution of the Baltic Sea.
Therefore we welcome the fact that the International Maritime Organisation is constantly toughening its requirements to tankers in accordance with the MARPOL Convention. The last time it happened was in April 2001, when a schedule for phasing out single-body tankers was approved. And the final deadline is 2015.
The European Union countries recently proposed to further toughen the requirements to the operation of such tankers and to complete that process by 2010. As President of the Estonian Republic I welcome these initiatives.
Arguments against the initiative based on economic considerations must not be allowed to prevail. We would like this step towards stable development and conservation of the environment to acquire followers and to set a positive example of a shared understanding and actions by the European states.
Vladimir Putin: The ideas and conclusions expressed at this meeting have undoubtedly allowed us to gain a better understanding of the stage of interaction that we are currently at, to note positive achievements of our partnership, and also to examine difficult key moments.
Furthermore, we have heard specific suggestions from many of our colleagues on joint actions in the short-term and long-term perspective. I see the main result of discussion is that all the participants of this summit are in favour of increasing partnership between Russia and the expanding European Union. We have confirmed that we have a common strategic goal – to create a truly united Europe.
Adherence to this goal is clearly seen in the joint declaration passed, which strengthens fundamentally important guidelines for further development of multi-faceted strategic partnership of Russia and the European Union.
I would also like to note our common desire to find a solution which would allow us to turn the upcoming expansion of the European Union into a factor that will bring our nations and peoples closer together, allow us to bring new aspects to the partnership between Russia and the European Union, and take this partnership to a new, higher level, which corresponds to the requirements of the times and the scale of the task that lies before us.
We have agreed to entrust our ministers and experts, energetically and without delay, to clear up unsolved questions that have accumulated, including in the area of trade and the economy. We expect a concrete programme of measures which will be a contribution to the practical realisation of creating a common European space of Russia and the EU.
We are grateful to all our colleagues for their participation in passing the joint document “A single Europe for all Europeans.” I know that reaching agreement on this issue was difficult. Nevertheless, the goal has been expressed, in the following paragraph: “Russia and the EU have agreed to discuss conditions for visa-free travel in the long-term perspective”. While we understand all the difficulties of this issue, which have also been expressed by several candidates for membership in the European Union, we share these concerns and will work together to solve them. With all the difficulties involved, the task is quite clear and comprehensible, and we understand the direction we should be going in and what goal we should be aiming for.
We also agreed on the considerable potential of Russia and the European Union in opposing such challenges as international terrorism, organised crime and the drug threat. Our competent structures must seriously deal with the problem of drug trafficking from Afghanistan in close co-operation with actions taken by other international structures, and organisations from individual countries.
Together, we can make an important contribution to preventing and regulating various regional conflicts. Increasing the effectiveness of our work will undoubtedly be helped by further improvement of mechanisms of cooperation between Russia and the EU, and the decision to establish a Permanent Partnership Council – this a clear sign of the degree of maturity of our cooperation.
In conclusion, allow me once again to express my gratitude for coming to St Petersburg, and for finding the time to visit our beautiful city during the anniversary celebrations, which have become an event for our entire country. And thanks to your presence, it has also become an international event.
I would also like to thank you for your united approval of the idea of the St Petersburg appeal, and, of course, for passing this important document. Thus, every participant of today’s meeting, along with all the heads of state and government who visited St Petersburg for the 300th anniversary of the city, demonstrated our common aspiration to follow the ideas of humanism in the future, and to develop cooperation between our countries.
I want to thank you very much for your participation and joint work.
I give the floor to the President of the EU Council, the Prime Minister of Greece for closing remarks.
Konstantinos Simitis: Mr President, I think you have given a very good review of our discussion, you have summed up the results of our discussion. Our joint statement underlines the answers that we want to find to the problems we are discussing.
I can say in conclusion that we intend to strengthen the strategic partnership between Russia and the EU. I would like to thank you for your decision to hold this summit here in St Petersburg and to express our appreciations for the hospitality. We thank all those who made this summit possible and successful.
Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, thank you very much. Our programme will be as follows: a brief meeting with the press, yours truly, Mr Prodi and the European Union President will go to the press centre. I know that many of those present have their own plans for communicating with the press. Those who have no such plans will be served coffee here. There will be a short break and then we shall follow our further programme.