President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends,
To begin with let me say a few introductory words of welcome. I would like to express my gratitude for your decision to celebrate the holiday of 9 May with us. The ceremonies in honour of this event once more showed that we share the same attitudes to the assessment and to the lessons of the Second World War. They reminded us of the invaluable experience of joining forces in the face of global danger and of how hard it was to deal with the consequences of such an enormous catastrophe. It is clear that the post-war world, like the post-war realities, required an entire series of difficult decisions. And these were decisions not just about reviving the economy and social life of Europe, but also in such sensitive areas as reconciliation, the re-establishment of normal human ties between peoples and nations, on whose territory the Second World War took place.
The subsequent creation of the European community foundations was also no less difficult. But European countries advanced firmly along this path and ultimately achieved truly impressive results.
I would like to stress that we well understand all the difficulties of this transition. Russia respects the experience of European reunification, and values the efforts and belief in a better future of all the people who upheld and realised the idea of European unification.
From the perspective of past decades, we can even better understand the importance of the reliable partnership that we have now achieved with the European Union, and the constant dialogue that we hold on the most diverse problems. Including issues of general European security.
I am certain that today we can and must do everything in our power to confront new threats effectively, and stop instances of racism, nationalism and xenophobia, and fight terrorism.
The formation process of Great Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall continues, and our efforts here, I think, are also noticeable. We would like Europe to form without dividing lines. I stress once more: we give priority to strategic partnership between the European Union and Russia. And step by step, consistently and together with our partners we solve tasks which modern life and modern realities present us all with.
As you know, we have established specific mechanisms for building four common areas of cooperation: security, the protection of human rights, the trade and economic sphere and humanitarian ties. Essentially, they embrace all the main areas of Russian-EU interaction – from the joint war on terrorism and drug trafficking to providing free contacts between people.
I am certain that the coordination and passing of the “roadmaps” which we expect at the summit will make it possible to make serious progress in building the Greater Europe which I mentioned earlier.
I hope that the outcome of our summit will be the creation of stable conditions for even more dynamic development of relations between Russia and the European Union. The experience of work on the “roadmaps” has once more shown that despite differing points of view on a number of issues, we are able to reach effective, mutually acceptable decisions.
In conclusion I would also like to thank our friend Mr. Juncker and Mr. Barroso. I know that they – we have worked together with them all this time – have taken the most active, efficient participation in preparing our meeting today, and in working on documents. I would like to thank all our colleagues who are sitting here in this hall today and who represent the European Union. I know that this work was not easy for you – at high expert level. But nevertheless, it is moving forward. And I would like to express the hope that we will continue to work together in such a constructive manner.
Thank you very much for your attention.