Sergei Stanishev: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, members of the delegations, allow me to wish you a warm welcome to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria.
I would like to begin by saying how exceptionally high an evaluation we give this visit today. It is evidence of the atmosphere that has been created, the results we have achieved, and the trust we feel towards each other.
I am certain that your visit will give a new impulse to developing our economic relations, especially as concerns the energy projects that have begun with your visit, and also our spiritual and cultural ties.
Your visit has given a particularly strong and convincing start to the Year of Russia in Bulgaria, and I am sure that both of our governments will do everything possible to make this year rich in events in the cultural and economic life of our country. We will also work hard on preparing the Year of Bulgaria in Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister,
For my part, I would also like to say how well our relations are developing and how happy we are to see this.
Bulgaria is without a doubt one of our privileged partners. Our visit has been successful and has produced results. This is above all, of course, the result of the work carried out by our governments, by the specialists from the Russian Government and by your own colleagues. I would like to thank you, Mr Prime Minister, and all of our Bulgarian friends, for this constructive work together.
I would like to note that we are talking about not just big energy projects of importance to our own countries but of importance for Europe as a whole. We are also talking about infrastructure projects, about establishing a new ferry link, for example. We are talking about high technology, true, also related to the energy sector, nuclear energy in this particular case.
I agree with you that we also need to reflect on how to diversify our ties, and we have the possibilities we need to accomplish this. Big Russian companies such as Gazprom, Lukoil, Atomstroiexport and Siloviye Mashiny are already working in Bulgaria. We are talking about deliveries of all different kinds of equipment. We could also look at projects, and I agree with you that we need to reflect above all on developing investment activity. Russian companies’ investment potential is growing today, and growing very fast.
The amount of Russian companies’ investment in Europe will soon be equal to European investment in Russia. The taxation decisions the Bulgarian Government is implementing are making the Bulgarian economy more and more attractive for foreign capital.
In this respect, we see the intergovernmental commission’s work as very important. The commission is due to hold its next meeting in Moscow and we will be prepared.