President Vladimir Putin: Mr Minister, dear colleagues,
Allow me to wish you a warm welcome to Moscow. I am very happy to see you here.
Relations between Russia and Germany have been developing very successfully of late, especially in the trade and economic sector. Bilateral trade has increased by more than 40 percent over the last months and German investment in the Russian economy has risen by 19 percent. This is a very good result. The energy sector, increasing security in the energy sector and diversifying transport routes for Russian energy supplies to our main consumers in western Europe continue to be important areas for cooperation between our countries.
Other sectors also offer good opportunities for cooperation. As you know, we have decided to pursue the rapid development of the sectors that will form the foundation for a growing modern economy based on advanced technology. We have decided to create a number of high-technology zones with a very liberal tax regime, and we hope that our German partners will be interested in joining in work in this area.
I know that German companies are showing an interest in sectors such as construction, medicine and several others. We welcome all efforts to develop our relations and our cooperation in these important areas. We also have some very good agreements regarding the development of infrastructure projects, transport and telecommunications.
I very much hope that not only will we continue working together at this pace, but that we will also take new steps forward in developing trade and economic ties between our countries.
We are looking forward to the Federal Chancellor’s visit to Russia in mid-January and are preparing for the intergovernmental consultations in Tomsk in March.
German Economy Minister Michael Glos: Dear Mr President, I would like to thank you sincerely for your warm words of welcome and for receiving me today. I see it as a great honour.
We had very intensive consultations last time we met. On that occasion I was part of the delegation that accompanied Mr Schroeder, who was then running for the office of Federal Chancellor. Now we have a new Federal Chancellor, and she welcomes the fact that I have come here and she asked me to pass on her very best wishes to you. She thinks it useful that my first contact with a foreign official was with my colleague Mr Gref in Hamburg, where we looked at Airbus production together.
Indeed, I can say that Mr Gref and I established very friendly relations right from the start. This illustrates the continuation of our economic relations that are developing well as it is, in particular in the area of energy supplies. I am very pleased to have the opportunity tomorrow of taking part in the ceremony of welding the first joint for the new North European Gas Pipeline that will ensure gas supplies not only for Germany but for all of western Europe.
Mr President, we now have a new coalition in power in our country and this leaves its mark on our new government. At first, of course, it was all quite a surprise for us, but now we have formed a truly solid base for this coalition government. The two leading parties, equal in importance and weight, managed to reach an agreement sooner than anyone expected. There can be no doubt about the fact that Germany is interested in continuing to develop good relations with Russia, in the economy and in other areas.
I used to head the CDU commission that was responsible for security, defence, foreign and European policy. I did not know at that time that I would be named economy minister. At that time, Mr Steinmeier and I had very intensive talks and the least differences between us were over the question of ensuring continued positive development of our relations with Russia.
Mr President, you spoke of the good economic relations between our countries. Your country has built a solid political foundation for continued development and has taken the right economic decisions. We are interested, of course, in further developing our economic relations. Germany needs to do this because we must at all costs address the issue of increasing economic growth in our country. We would like to once again become a leading European economic power and for this we absolutely must achieve additional economic growth. This means that we are interested in good relations with Russia, in particular in the economy, and not only as concerns raw materials supplies, but also in other areas, in the aviation industry, for example. This, of course, is the prerogative of the industrial companies themselves.
We hope that Siemens, a major company and world technological leader, could play a greater role in Russia. We have an interest in seeing Siemens acquire quite a large stake in the Siloviye Mashiny Plant in order to improve our economic relations.
Mr President, I think that we could be of help to you in developing small and medium business, as we already have experience in this area. I would like to say that for my part, I am ready to a make my contribution to developing our economic relations.