Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Prime Minister!
I am very glad to have the opportunity to meet with you. You are now visiting our country as Prime Minister.
You accomplished a great many things while you were the head of the European Commission. Dear Mr Prime Minister, I must say that right up until today we are still implementing the ideas and proposals you made at the time.
In recent years a great deal of work has been done to develop Russian-Italian relations. Developing relations with Italy is one of our country’s priorities and this is true independently of how the political situation develops within your country. I do not know of any political force within Russia that would be against developing bilateral ties. On the contrary, everyone actively supports the development of Russian-Italian relations.
Our volume of trade is growing and we are implementing major projects in the various areas in which we cooperate; cooperation in energy, in the manufacturing industry and military technological cooperation are all promising areas that represent a mutual interest for our countries.
As a whole, I am very glad to see you in Moscow. I am confident that your visit will not only confirm the strength of our cooperation but will also help us begin new projects as well as act as a stimulus for the development of our bilateral ties.
Romano Prodi: I am very glad to meet you Mr President!
Now I have a new position. We met often while I was head of the European Commission. We always worked energetically and constructively. Of course my role has changed but our relations, relations between friends and in which there is a profound mutual understanding, have not changed. Most of all we both realize the crucial importance of Russian-Italian relations.
I became engaged in these relations more than 20 years ago – 22 or 23 years ago if I am not mistaken. 23 years ago I stepped into the Kremlin for the first time. At the time I was head of the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), and then head of the Council of Ministers, head of the European Commission and now once again I am Prime Minister of Italy.
Our trade and economic relations are more than simply good, they are magnificent. Today a new phase is beginning and we can not simply talk about trade relations, we must now talk about mutual investments. It is on this very basis that we are constructing ties between our economies.
This morning in the embassy I met with representatives from more than fifty companies who work actively in Russia. They represent the essence of our relations. We must work together to encourage them in their work.