Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Mr Prime Minister, I am happy to welcome you here in Moscow. I am very pleased to see that our meetings have become a regular occurrence. This is reflected positively in the results achieved through the work of many ministries, agencies and the business community.
Our trade turnover with Hungary has increased more this year than with any of the other Central and Eastern European countries. I think the overall increase is around 35%. We are aware of the issue of the imbalance in our trade that you raised during our last meeting, and we have not forgotten this problem.
Hungarian imports are now growing at a faster rate than are Russia’s exports, but we understand that this is still not enough. We have not forgotten your criticism of the situation and your wish to see the Hungarian goods that were traditionally present here return to the Russian market. We will try to do what we can to make this happen.
Of course, we are very pleased to see that Hungary will soon join the European Union, but at the same time we cannot but feel a certain concern, as this means that EU non-tariff and other restrictions on our goods will soon be introduced in Hungary.
I think that we should make every possible effort to ensure that this positive process of European enlargement and reinforcement does not have a negative impact on our bilateral relations.
I am also pleased to have the chance to exchange views with you on international issues.
We are very happy to see you here, Mr Prime Minister, and I am sure that our meeting will be beneficial for our bilateral relations.