President Vladimir Putin (addressing Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov): Sergei Viktorovich, when can we expect to see the new European Commission confirmed in office, so that we can continue an effective dialogue with the European Union and go ahead with the meetings we had planned earlier?
Sergei Lavrov: I reported to you that the European Commission’s formation process is taking longer than was planned and they have told us that the commission will not be formed before November 11, the date on which we had initially planned to hold the [Russia-European Union] summit. The commission’s confirmation is now planned for November 18. In this situation, if the summit were to be held on November 11, only the current commissioners, who are due to complete their term in just a few days, would be able to take part. We have agreed to decide on a new date two or three weeks after the new commission is confirmed. This will enable us to hold a proper summit with the participation of those who will be responsible for realising the concept of the four common spaces. This will also give us some more time to step up this work, because it was not such a priority for the European Union over the summer months, being busy as it was with putting together the new European Commission. So, I hope that the new timetable that we will agree upon by the end of this year will enable us to make up for lost time.
Vladimir Putin: It would be good not just to agree on the dates but also to ensure that the work of substance also keeps moving ahead. I do understand, though, that this is not an easy time for our colleagues as new people are arriving and will be getting involved in the work, but nonetheless, the apparatus continues working all the time. So, it would be good if we could go to the summit not just to meet the new commission members, but also to work on at least some matters of substance and continue a dialogue with real content, if we cannot come to some agreements at this point, agreements on paper, documents. The new commission will be only just beginning its work, but we must not let the dialogue lose its substance.
Sergei Lavrov: Consultations are continuing on the four common spaces. They are taking place at expert level while we are waiting for the new commissioners to be confirmed. We have this question under control and we hope that we will have plenty of matters of substance to discuss at the summit.
Vladimir Putin: Good, thank you everyone.